Radeon HD 5970 - ATI's killer graphics card

Thought that ATI's Radeon HD 5870 is a killer graphics card? Well you ain't seen nothing yet - until you've seen the Radeon HD 5970.

Thought that ATI's Radeon HD 5870 is a killer graphics card? Well you ain't seen nothing yet - until you've seen the Radeon HD 5970.

So, what's the big deal about the Radeon HD 5970? Well, it's basically a Radeon HD 5870 part but with two "Cypress" GPUs on a single printed circuit board (PCB). You can think of the HD 5970 as the X2 version of the HD 5870 in much the same way that we saw X2 versions of the HD 3870 and HD 4870.

The spec of the HD 5970 is very impressive indeed:

The HD 5970 forms part of ATI's "sweet spot" strategy:

What makes the HD 5970 so special - the dual DirectX 11 teraFLOPs engines on a single PCB:

Few interesting tidbits of info on the following slide.

  • Core clock on the HD 5970 is slightly less than that of the HD 5870 (725MHz vs 850MHz)
  • This keeps the max power usage below 300W so as not to need a PSU of it's own
  • Notice the max resolution - Eyefinity baby!

Radeon HD 5970 ... topless! To overclock this card you're going to need a serious PSU as the card itself could be consuming 350W - 400W alone!

Notice how the vapor chamber heatsink is designed to support 400W ...

Do you need a card that's this powerful? Well, the truth is that most people don't. First, you need a heck of a PC to get the benefit from a card like this ... high-end CPU, lots of RAM, fast hard drives ... no point adding a card like this to a low-end PC. Also, you need big screens running at high resolutions to make it worthwhile. The great thing about adding this to a high-end PC is that it future-proofs your system for a good while, especially given the DirectX 11 support. 

Biggest downsides are the power consumption and the price - expect this to retail for $599.