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Review: Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 TOXIC 4GB: explosive single-card performance

by Parm Mann on 22 April 2010, 14:00 4.0

Tags: Radeon HD 5970 TOXIC 4GB, Sapphire

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NVIDIA's Fermi has entered the fray with the launch of the GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470, but whilst there's no denying their respective credentials, the out-and-out single-card performance champion remains AMD's ATI Radeon HD 5970.

AMD's claim to the throne, first introduced over six months ago, features an arguably inelegant arrangement of two Radeon HD 5800-series GPUs on a single PCB and continues to cling to the performance crown. Cast your memory back to November, however, and you'll recall that the card wasn't quite the monstrosity it could have been.

Perhaps in an effort to retain a respectable operating temperature, AMD's reference Radeon HD 5970 opted not to feature two full-on Radeon HD 5870 "Cypress XT" cores - and instead made do with the stream processors, texture units and ROPs of the HD 5870, combined with the slightly conservative frequencies of the HD 5850.

The end result had the desired effect - dethroning NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 295 as the single fastest graphics card in the world - but the hardened enthusiast may have wanted more.

If that sounds like you - you're in luck, as AMD exclusive partner Sapphire Technology has conjured up the Radeon HD 5970 TOXIC 4GB.

Expected to fetch a jaw-dropping $1,000 when it launches next month, it has the credentials to become the fastest graphics card known to man. Is this the Radeon HD 5970 that should have been? Read on to find out.