ATI Radeon HD 5970 2GB: The World's Fastest Graphics Card

5900-Series: Eyefinity/CrossFire Tech Preview

In our original Radeon HD 5870 coverage, I was surprised to learn that ATI’s beta driver didn’t yet support Eyefinity in CrossFire. If ever there was a reason to buy a pair of powerful single-GPU boards that’d otherwise be CPU-bound in most single-monitor setups, it’d be taking advantage of this awesome new triple-output display technology. Two months later, Eyefinity and CrossFire are still not yet compatible on 5800- and 5700-series cards.

But ATI says it is working on a public driver that’ll enable Eyefinity resolutions with CrossFire’d boards.

More important, the company has a technology preview of its two flagship technologies working together on the Radeon HD 5970. It’s a very limited release that includes 21 titles, only works on the 5970, and is limited to landscape display configurations. But it’s Eyefinity. And CrossFire. Finally.

So, I bought a mini-DisplayPort cable needed to use the board's trio of display outputs, set the 5970 up with our three Dell U2410s, and started in on testing...

Game Benchmarks, Single Radeon HD 5870 @ 5760x1200 (No AA / No AF), in FPS

Single Radeon HD 5870
Radeon HD 5970
Far Cry 2
Left 4 Dead
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
World in Conflict
Not Compatible
Resident Evil 5
Not Compatible
Not Compatible
Grand Theft Auto IV
Not Compatible

Four of the 21 titles on ATI's list are in regular rotation here, and in those four games, performance in Eyefinity mode increases notably. All of the titles, save S.T.A.L.K.E.R., now play smoothly, and getting better frame rates out of Clear Sky is a matter of dialing down the details from Extreme to something more conservative. This is truly the combination I was so excited about when Cypress launched. As the chart suggests, there's still a lot of work to be done, though.

While this isn't the comprehensive support we were hoping for back when the Radeon HD 5870 debuted and we ran a pair of the cards in CrossFire, it's a solid step--and absolutely imperative for a card like the Radeon HD 5970 that's supposed to enable transparent multi-GPU rendering capabilities. Hopefully, now that ATI is selling a dual-Cypress card with Eyefinity "half-working," the software engineers (who've done wonders to improve the company's reputation for well-built drivers) will prioritize getting such an integral feature fully-implemented.

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    Top Comments
  • cyberkuberiah
    today's a great day for graphics , as the bar's been raised again !
  • commodore64
    Wooww...4.3 billion transistors, low idle power, it's pricey but this baby has lots of potential :)

    I think ATI driven NVIDIA into a corner this time, i love the competition :)
  • Anonymous
    In your face Gt240 =P
  • Other Comments
  • cyberkuberiah
    today's a great day for graphics , as the bar's been raised again !
  • IzzyCraft
    bawhaha i was waiting for this
    5970 picture of it in size comparison is priceless to me it's freaking huge card.

    But really how are they going to get 2 chips for 5970 when they can't even get 1 for 5870 :)
  • notty22
    Wonder if this would get the same framerates as a 5870 in a AMD 965 system ?
  • Anonymous
    In your face Gt240 =P
  • Anonymous
    I'm getting more concerned with Nvidia these days. They keep playing with these low-end cards and haven't made anything all that great in almost a year. Hopefully Fermi doesn't turn into Itanic II.
  • amdgamer666
    Sweet, another amazing card to drool at, too bad I can't afford it. Thanks for including CF'ed 5870's, that's what I wanted to compare it to the most. The release seems to coincide with the driver update. Everybody make sure to update your drivers to 9.11 :)
    Also, because 9.11 is out, you can also try out Adobe's Flash 10.1 prelease to try out GPU-accelerated flash
    Exciting times
  • commodore64
    Wooww...4.3 billion transistors, low idle power, it's pricey but this baby has lots of potential :)

    I think ATI driven NVIDIA into a corner this time, i love the competition :)
  • christop
    Sweet but can't see spending 600 on a card...
  • 7amood
    commodore64i love the competition

    There is no competition yet >_< prices are way up there!!!
  • Honis
    Good article!

    I'll wait for a price drop since there are 0 DX 11 games out currently. Hope this forces further drops in the 4870s.
  • shubham1401
    GT 240 has found a competitor in HD5890!
  • keefasuz
    1,600-shader Cypress found in its Radeon HD 5870.
    2) Drop clock rates a bit in order to keep power and thermals under control.
    3) ???
    4) Profit

    Oh my goodness, Chris, you apparently saw the Southpark episode with the underpants gnomes! Very funny for those of us who got the joke.
  • liquidsnake718
    Thus.... the shattered dreams of Nvidia and its GT210, 220, 240... haha.
    What a time to release such low end dead end variants... the last life of the 200series chips can now be engulfed by the HD5970... THis card looks like it would smash through the GTX295 easily and is DX11 plus plus blah blah Nvidia is sweating it out as they have lost a lump of market share as they did not ride the Christmas wave... Ive said it again and again don't you guys think Nvidia should discount their cards heavily already?!?

    I hope fermi can even compare to this dual gpu... Deep down I now doubt Nvidias GTX380 or whatever can even compare to this dual GPU, they would have to compare it now with a dual GTX300 series in my opinion at the rate that ATi has vastly improved from their previous 4850-90s, to the x2's...
  • duckmanx88
    wow look at the difference in crysis and far cry 2. the 5890 just bitch slapped the gtx 295.
  • FoShizzleDizzle
    I'm sort of at a loss for words so I will pull on a quote from The Cable Guy: this would make George Lucas cream in his pants.
  • skora
    Oh no, now I have PCB envy :(
  • megamanx00
    OMFG!! It's so F**ING HUGE!!

    I think I would want one, if I could afford a new PSU and huge case to go with it :D.
  • jj463rd
    I just completed a new build however I was short funds and had to get a $50 graphics card just to see it work.I'm glad though that I selected a 850 watt power supply.
    The Radeon 5970 sounds like the perfect card for me in January 2010.I'm getting it.
    alswome card but pricey but i guess the specs make up for it. id go for the 5850 myself if i could. maybe they'll have a giveaway for this bad boy
  • javidchaos
    I think i gotta sell my kidney and liver for one of these !!!