The dual-GPU powered ATI Radeon HD 5970 was not the best kept secret, but many gamers have been awaiting its arrival to see how it will shake things up. Designed to support the most demanding PC games at ultra-high resolutions and image quality settings, the ATI Radeon HD 5970 also has unlocked overclocking potential, granting access to every bit of power the card has to offer through ATI Overdrive. Will this be enough to take the title of the world’s fastest video card away from NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 295? Let’s find out!
The ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card is fairly simple and ATI included just one slide about the card’s architecture to get the point across. It takes a pair of Evergreen GPUs that are used on the Radeon HD 5870 graphics card, downclocks them and then pairs them together with a PLX PCI Express bridge to enable full-time CrossFire on a single high performance graphics card. The end result is a single card solution that has 3200 stream processors that are able to deliver almost 5 TFLOPs of Compute power! This makes the new ‘Hemlock’ card the most powerful graphics card in existence.
The default clock rate on the Radeon HD 5970 is 725 MHz on the core clock and 1000 MHz for the GDDR5 memory ICs. As you can see from the chart above, these are the same clock speeds as the Radeon HD 5850, but the Radeon HD 5970 has more stream processors and texture units. Each 40nm GPU has access to a 1GB frame buffer bringing the grand total of memory on the card to 2.0 GB! The power consumption of the HD 5970 is very good though as it is ~42W at idle and then 294W under maximum board power draw.
When it comes to pricing, the ATI Radeon HD 5970 has an MSRP of $599, which is a little more than what most people spend on graphics cards. Let’s take a closer look at the card to see what $599 will buy you these days.