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We have hands-on time with Sapphire's AMD Radeon HD 5970 4GB

by Tarinder Sandhu on 2 March 2010, 18:26

Tags: Sapphire

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We bet that the folks at AMD thought long and hard as to how they could scupper NVIDIA plans for its forthcoming GeForce GTX 480 GPU. Nothing like upstaging your competitor's best efforts, eh!

Probably conceding that Fermi will be faster than the Radeon HD 5870 and may give the twin-GPU Radeon HD 5970 a run for its money, AMD will be trying to trump NVIDIA's launch by releasing the Radeon HD 5970 4GB model.

Fermi vs. HD 5970 4GB

The difference is more than just in an increase in the frame-buffer from 2GB to 4GB, though. The current model, etailing for some £550, is composed of two GPUs that are a cross between Radeon HD 5850 and HD 5870 on one board. Under-load power-draw is just shy of 300W, and AMD straps on a mighty cooler to keep the GPUs running at under 90C.

The 4GB model is what we believe that HD 5970 should have been, that is, two Radeon HD 5870s on one PCB. That means a matching 3,200 SPs but an increase in almost every other performance parameter. The obvious downside of such an approach - and probably the reason that AMD didn't run with it first time around - has to do with heat and cooling. Keeping two Cypress GPUs clocking in at 850MHz core and 4,800MHz memory is no easy task.

Non-reference card

But Sapphire is doing just that with its non-reference Radeon HD 5970 4GB. We managed to grab a few pictures before it was packed away.



Sapphire is teaming up with Arctic Cooling for a gargantuan heatsink to cool a card that can, we're told, pull 350W with ease.



The three-fan monster uses a combination of thick heatpipes and card-wide aluminium fins for efficient heat dispersal. Sapphire reckons that the end result is a 'quiet' solution - some feat for one of the most power-hungry gaming cards ever made.







You'd better have a stout PSU, of course. The card uses dual eight-pin power connectors. Sapphire informed us that it will ship out at AMD-recommended frequencies of 850MHz/4,800MHz, internal testing has showed that it will scale comfortably higher. Knowing this, a 400W power-draw isn't out of the question.




It's going to be fast, no doubt, but the etail price is a rather eye-watering $1,000 - yes, a thousand US dollars.

£800 for a graphics card? You could buy a car for that much!

A sample is heading down to our labs as you read this, so stay tuned for the full HEXUS review.

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HEXUS Forums :: 13 Comments

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Crikey Guvnor! One heck of a monster card that looks like.
Unsurprisingly, it's insanely expensive.

Don't think it's value for money myself, £550 for a 5970 2GB and £800 5970 4GB is a massive gap - £250 could be spent on a fair few other things as a priority. There might be a market from Eyefinity users who reckon they're filling the framebuffer, but I doubt it's a large one.

And if we're spending £800 on graphics, why not a 5970 2GB + 5850 Trifire... my money's on that outperforming a 5970 4GB :p
snootyjim
Unsurprisingly, it's insanely expensive.

Don't think it's value for money myself, £550 for a 5970 2GB and £800 5970 4GB is a massive gap - £250 could be spent on a fair few other things as a priority. There might be a market from Eyefinity users who reckon they're filling the framebuffer, but I doubt it's a large one.

And if we're spending £800 on graphics, why not a 5970 2GB + 5850 Trifire... my money's on that outperforming a 5970 4GB :p


SLI two GTX 470's anyone ? :drool: And you would get PhysX as well!
If its £800, you might as well ignore it and just decide between 1 or 2 standard 5970s. One saves you a lot of cash for a marginal speed penalty, two costs you a bit more (if you can afford 800 on a gfx card, you can stretch to 1100 :P ) and will give substantially better performance.
Only 2 dvis and a display port? Would have thought this would have been perfect for 6 display port connections.