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AMD's Radeon HD 5000-Series: Measuring Power Efficiency

Test System

Test System Configuration
CPUAMD Athlon II X2 250 (3 GHz, 2 MB cache)AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (3.2 GHz, 8 MB Total Cache)
MotherboardAMD 790GX: Biostar TA790GX A3+
RAMTeam Elite TED32048333HC9D  (8 GB) at DDR3-1066 CAS 9-9-9-24
Graphics CardATI Radeon HD 3300 (AMD 790GX), 500 MHz GPUATI Radeon 2900 XT (AMD R600), 742 MHz GPU, 825 MHz MemoryGigabyte Radeon HD 5670 1 GB – GV-R567OC-1G (Redwood), 785 MHz GPU, 1000 MHz MemoryGigabyte Radeon HD 5770 1 GB – GV-R577UD-1GD (Juniper), 850 MHz GPU, 1200 MHz MemorySapphire Radeon HD 5870 1 GB – Vapor-X HD5870 1G OC Version (Cypress), 875 MHz GPU, 1250 MHz MemorySapphire Radeon HD 5870 2 GB – Toxic-HD5870 2G (Cypress), 925 MHz GPU, 1225 MHz Memory
Hard DriveWestern Digital Green Power 1 TB WD10EACS, 16 MB cache, SATA 3.0Gb/s
SoundOnboard Sound, Realtek ALC880
NetworkingOnboard Gigabit Ethernet, Realtek RTC8111C, 1 Gb/s
Power SupplyPC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 watt ATX12v v.2.2, EPS 12V CrossFire Edition
CPU CoolerThermalright Ultra Extreme 120, Noctua NF-P12 120 mm fan
Fans2 x Noctua NF-P12 120 mm fan (not including CPU fan)
Software
Operating SystemWindows Vista Home Edition 32 bit SP1
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 10.6
Benchmark Configuration
GamingCrysis: Version 1.2.1, Demo: CPU Benchmark – Island, DirectX9, Quality Preset: High
Video EncodingCyberlink PowerDirector 8: Version 8.00.3022, Video Trailer “Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time” 2:20, 1080p. Profile: AVCHD 1920x1080. Video Bitrate: 15.5 Mbps.
Video PlaybackCyberlink PowerDVD 9: Version 9.0.1530.0, Video Trailer “Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time” 2:20, 1080p. Hardware Acceleration: Enabled.
ProductivityAdobe Photoshop CS4: Version 11.0, GPU Acceleration: Enabled
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
Cinebench R11Version 11, OpenGL Test.
  • tony singh
    Very innovative article tom keep it up!! Similar article consisting of various cpus would be really useful.
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    gtx 480 and 460 for reference?
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    ^ nvidia would loose at this battle. period.
    Reply
  • spidey81
    I know the FPS/watt wouldn't be as good, but what if the 5670 was crossfired. Would it still be a better alternative, efficiency wise, than say a 5850?
    Reply
  • nforce4max
    Remember the R600 (2900xt) has a 80nm core while the 5870 has a 45nm core. Shrink the R600 and you will get the 3870 (55nm) that barely uses hardly any.
    Reply
  • rhino13
    And now just for fun we should compare to Fermi.

    Oh, wait, this just in:
    There is a Fermi comparison chart that was avalible but you needed to have two screens to display the bar graph for Fermi's power consumption and temperature. So the decission was made to provide readers with the single screen only version.
    Reply
  • aevm
    I loved this part:

    A mere 20 watts separate the Radeon HD 3300, HD 5670, HD 5770, and HD 5870 1 GB. So, in certain cases, the Radeon HD 5870 1 GB can still save enough power to close in on its more mainstream derivatives. Again, this is the case because the cards use a fixed-function video engine to assist in decoding acceleration, which is the same from one board to the next. Thus, even a high-end card behaves like a lower-end product in such a workload. This is very important, as you will see later on.

    My next PC will be used mostly for movie DVDs and Diablo 3. Apparently if I get a 5870 1GB I get the best of both worlds - speed in Diablo and low power consumption when playing movies.

    How about nVidia cards, would I get the same behavior with a GTX 480 for example?
    Reply
  • Onus
    For those not needing the absolute maximum eye candy at high resolutions in their games, the HD5670 looks like a very nice choice for a do-it-all card that won't break the budget.
    Next questions: First, where does the HD5750 fall in this? Second, if you do the same kinds of manual tweaking for power saving that you did in your Cool-n-Quiet analysis, how will that change the results? And finally, if you run a F@H client, what does that do to "idle" scores, when the GPU is actually quite busy processing a work unit?
    Reply
  • eodeo
    Very interesting article indeed.

    I'd love to see nvidia cards and beefier CPUs used as well. Normal non green hdds too. Just how big of a difference in speed/power do they make?

    Thank you for sharing.
    Reply
  • arnawa_widagda
    Hi guys,

    Thanks for reading the article.

    Next questions: First, where does the HD5750 fall in this? Second, if you do the same kinds of manual tweaking for power saving that you did in your Cool-n-Quiet analysis, how will that change the results? And finally, if you run a F@H client, what does that do to "idle" scores, when the GPU is actually quite busy processing a work unit?

    Have no 5750 sample yet, but they should relatively be close to 5770. For this article, we simply chose the best bin for each series (Redwood, Juniper and Cypress).

    The second question, what will happen when you tweak the chip? Glad you ask!! I can't say much yet, but you'll be surprised what the 5870 1 GB can do.

    As for NVIDIA cards, I'm hoping to have the chance to test GF100 and derivatives very soon.

    Take care.

    Reply