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Sapphire Radeon HD 5670 1GB Ultimate GPU review

by Tarinder Sandhu on 2 August 2010, 06:00 4.0

Tags: Sapphire RADEON HD 5670 , Sapphire

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Sapphire gives the HD 5670 the silent treatment

Can you hear the birds singing in the garden? Well, either you don't have a garden or the noise emitted by the PC drowns out one of nature's wonders.

A PC can only be truly quiet if it has the bare minimum of moving parts inside. Such is the power-draw of the latest components, often pulling well over 100W each for the CPU and GPU, that employing zero-noise cooling requires some rather nifty engineering.

ATI's largest add-in board partner Sapphire has considerable heritage in turning mid-range GPUs into fan-less graphics cards. The latest in a long line to receive the silent treatment - no, it wasn't a naughty card - is the Sapphire Radeon HD 5670 Ultimate.

Sapphire runs with a two-part heatsink that's connected via two 7mm heatpipes. A further 'pipe runs exclusively through the main heatsink. One could surmise that the clocks have been turned down to keep temperatures in check. Rather, the Ultimate ships with full-fat HD 5670 frequencies of 775MHz core and 4,000MHz memory. Lovely.

Radeon HD 5670 can pull up to 60W when rendering pixels, representing pretty much the limit for zero-fan heatsinks. Construction is solid because the two parts of the heatsink are joined at the top, but the mass of cooling means the smaller heatsink sticks out from the card.

Although not explicitly mentioned by Sapphire in any documentation, we would recommend decent airflow through the chassis, enabling the heatsinks to be cooled.

Low power requirements mean that the card doesn't require additional power; the PCIe x16's juice is enough to keep the Radeon HD 5670 beavering away.

The card's outputs include dual-link DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort, intimating that the Ultimate is compatible with a three-screen Eyefinity setup, assuming one of the monitors is powered through the DisplayPort connector.

Making the most of what the Radeon HD 5670 has to offer, the Ultimate is outfitted with a 1,024MB framebuffer.

Sapphire increases display flexibility by including a DVI-to-VGA and HDMI-to-DVI adapters. Currently costing £99.99 and presenting a £15 premium over same-clocked fan-powered models, is it worth it? Let's find out.