Up until this point, ATI's Radeon HD 5000-series GPUs have really raised the bar on what we expected from the next generation of video cards. The Radeon HD 5870 offers roughly the same performance seen on the previous flagship dual-GPU Radeon HD 4870 X2. The Radeon HD 5770 serves up about the same performance as the aging (but still powerful) Radeon HD 4870. The Radeon HD 5750 delivers similar performance as the mainstream-friendly Radeon HD 4850.
Given such a promising lead-up, it's hard not to have high expectations for ATI's emerging Radeon HD 5670. Dare we hope that it give us performance on par with the Radeon HD 4770, a card that tantalized us with 40nm under $100, and then broke the hearts of amped-up gamers after suffering poor availability?
With a suggested retail price of $99, the Radeon HD 5670 being evaluated today needs to be powerful if it's going to offer value in the most competitive price segment known to the world of discrete GPUs. After all, ATI's Radeon HD 5670 will be doing battle against the less-expensive GeForce 9600 GT, the somewhat more modern GeForce GT 240, and Nvidia's aging GeForce 9800 GT. Not only that, but the card will also have to stave off old favorites, like the existing Radeon HD 4770, GeForce GTS 250, and Radeon HD 4850 models, all of which can be found as low as $110 online (sometimes less, if you're lucky).
Clearly, the Radeon HD 5670 has more worthy opponents than its high-end 5800- and 5700-series predecessors had to fight off when they launched. Of course, this story is about more than just raw benchmark results. AMD is also coming to the table with DirectX 11 support and a handful of value-adds, like Eyefinity multi-display output connectivity.
Saddled with the successes of the Radeon HD 5800- and 5700-series cards, our sample Radeon HD 5670 has some big shoes to fill. Let's take a peek under the hood to see what sort of hardware with which we're working.