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.
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.
£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.