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...

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Game Benchmarks, Single Radeon HD 5870 @ 5760x1200 (No AA / No AF), in FPS
Row 0 - Cell 0 Single Radeon HD 5870Radeon HD 5970
Far Cry 254.1282.44
Left 4 Dead81.04105.12
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky28.837.05
World in ConflictCrashNot Compatible
Resident Evil 5Not CompatibleNot Compatible
Grand Theft Auto IV29.61Not 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.

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.
  • 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 ?
  • In your face Gt240 =P
  • 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 competitionThere 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.