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

Benchmark Results: Crysis

Venerable Crysis—the game we suspect nobody really plays any more, yet everyone looks to for performance evaluation, even today. A single Radeon HD 5870 easily bests Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 285 here, and again in a CrossFire configuration versus two GTX 285s. However, SLI scales better than CrossFire, and two GTX 285s quite nearly catch the pair of Radeon HD 5870s.

Perhaps more interesting is the comparison within ATI’s own product stack. The Radeon HD 5870 beats the Radeon HD 4870 X2 in all three resolutions—suggesting to us that the anti-aliased results are going to be even more dramatic.

If you were a user of ATI’s fastest single-GPU card, the Radeon HD 4890, a single 5870 will give you a substantial performance boost. However, it’s not quite sufficient enough to make Very High detail settings perfectly smooth, even at 1680x1050. For that, you’d certainly need to go CrossFire.

Although S.T.A.L.K.E.R. only supports up to 4x anti-aliasing, we took the opportunity to push our other benchmarks a little harder. Thus, Crysis is now being tested with 8x MSAA.

We were actually hoping for a bigger gain going from 4870 X2 to 5870. But the newest card remains fastest, overall, so it’s all good for ATI here. Again, we see a nice boost from single-GPU 4890 to single-GPU 5870, but the gain isn’t large enough to make 1680x1050 any more fluid than it was without AA. For that, you’ll still want to look to CrossFire, where a pair of 5870s is able to average more than 50 frames per second.

A single GeForce GTX 285 is bested by ATI’s Radeon HD 4890, so it’s hardly a surprise that the 5870 easily takes Nvidia’s fastest single-GPU graphics card. You’re even looking at decent performance at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 with two 5870s in CrossFire.

Notice the missing result for Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 295 at 2560x1600 with 8xAA? That’s due to the card not having ample on-board memory to run that configuration (and the game not knowing any better than to keep it from trying). Grand Theft Auto gets around this by simply making resolutions unavailable if a graphics card doesn’t have a large enough frame buffer. Crysis crashes instead.

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.