ATI Radeon HD 5870: DirectX 11, Eyefinity, And Serious Speed

Benchmark Results: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky

Right off the bat, it’s clear that the Radeon HD 5870 is a fast card. It hangs close to the Radeon HD 4870 X2. However, a GeForce GTX 295 killer it is not—at least not in this first measure of real-world performance. Bear in mind, though, that this is a single GPU going up against ATI’s former dual-processor flagship, along with Nvidia’s dual-GPU champion.

When you shift the comparison to the GeForce GTX 285, ATI stomps the single-GPU board at all three resolutions. With the GeForce GTX 285 currently selling for as little as $340 online, though, ATI does make you pay a premium for the card's additional performance and functionality.

Clearly, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is off-limits at 2560x1600 for most of these single-card configurations (though the two 5870s and GTX 285s handle that setting with Extreme details set). Nevertheless, gamers with 24” monitors should have little trouble cranking up to 1920x1200 with the image quality settings turned all the way up in this demanding title.

The rest of the field sets the stage for the arrival of ATI’s Radeon HD 5850, which wasn’t ready for testing at launch, but should follow shortly. Expected to still out-perform the GTX 285 at an incredible $259 price point, that card might end up defining the performance sweet spot.

When we turn on 4xAA, ATI’s efforts to improve anti-aliased performance shine through. Whereas the Radeon HD 5870 trailed the 4870 X2 previously, it’s now the faster offering (albeit only slightly).

But if you’re talking single-card configurations, none of these boards will really do the trick with such an intense combination of settings. Even at 1680x1050 the Radeon HD 5870 can only muster 36 frames.

Where you will witness utter dominance is with a pair of 5870s, which slingshot past the Radeon HD 4870 X2 and GeForce GTX 295 (as expected, given the price difference), emerging as the only solution capable of these settings at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200. Even the two GeForce GTX 285s in SLI are handily trounced.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • hispeed120
    I'm. So. Excited.
  • Can't wait
  • crosko42
    So it looks like 1 is enough for me.. Dont plan on getting a 30 inch monitor any time soon.
  • jezza333
    Looks like the NDA lifted at 11:00PM, as there's a load of reviews now just out. Once again it shows that AMD can produce a seriously killer card...

    Crysis 2 on an x2 of this is exactly what I'm waiting for.
  • woostar88
    This is incredible at the price point.
    Err... I thought I was going to see more for the price. Regardless, I think ATI missed the mark here. I am interested in playing games on my HDTV since me and my monitor don't care about these higher resolutions. Fail cakes... Nivida is undoubtedly going to rape ATI in performance with the 300 series. This is good news for mainstream prices however.... you can ptobably upgrade to a current DX10 board soon for a very good price, and then buy a 5850 for $100 in a year from now. Result? Don't but a 5000 series card yet until the price comes down? Heh, I bet the cards will be $100 less in December if the 300 series launches.

    This is not to say I am an Nvidia fan, just undoubtedly you would do well for yourself to hold off for a bit if you want to buy a 5000 series... as the price will come down for a good price/performance ratio soon enough.
  • tipmen
    wait, wait, before I look can it play cry... HOLY SHIT?!
  • viper666
    why didn't they thest it against a GTX 295 rather than 280??? its far superior...
  • cangelini
    viper666why didn't they thest it against a GTX 295 rather than 280??? its far superior...
    Ran it against a GTX 295 and a 285 and 285s in SLI :)
  • Annisman
    I refuse to buy until the 2GB versions come out, not to mention newegg letting you buy more than 1 at a time, paper launch ftl.