AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card
AMD releases its fastest graphics card yet
- Fantastic performance, mini DisplayPort output, can support multiple monitors easily
- Power hungry, can get loud and hot under duress, won’t fit in small cases
AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card delivers high-end performance for a high-end price. If you’re looking to flaunt the latest PC component or just want to future-proof your new PC, this is the way to do it.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card combines two Cypress GPUs in one large — and powerful — package. Though hot and power-hungry, the graphics card can easily surpass the competition in most circumstances, making it a must-have for any hardcore gamer.
AMD’s previous Cypress GPU graphics card, the ATI Radeon HD 5870, definitely impressed us. However, looking at what two of these processors are capable of instils us with a sense of awe. The ATI Radeon HD 5970 uses 4.3 billion 40nm transistors and for a total processing power of 4.64 teraflops. The two cores run at a standard clock speed of 725MHz each, and are accompanied by 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1000MHz — 4 gigabits per second of bandwidth.
All of this means the graphics card isn't frugal when it comes to power consumption. While it consumes a reasonable 42 Watts when idle, the ATI Radeon HD 5970 reaches a whopping 294W at maximum power; that’s 114W more than the single-GPU ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card. The card is compatible with CrossFire multi-card configurations, though you’ll need a minimum 1000W power supply to even consider running more than one card in the same PC.
The AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970 measures 317mm from end to end, making it a stretch for most ATX cases; it wouldn’t even fit into an Antec Skeleton enclosure. Like the ATI Radeon HD 5870, this graphics card has an all-encasing shroud with just one fan to cool both GPUs. It manages to keep things cool at 47 degrees provided the processors are idle. Put the card under pressure, though, and temperatures shoot to 77 degrees, even in open-air setups.
The video card is compatible with DirectX 11, which is slowly gaining traction with the release of games like DiRT 2. The ATI Radeon HD 5970 is also compatible with AMD’s ATI Eyefinity technology, which scales performance across multiple monitors. Technically, the technology can support up to six monitors per GPU, or 12 displays for the ATI Radeon HD 5970. However, most initial versions of the graphics card will have two DVI ports and a mini DisplayPort, so it will only output to three monitors simultaneously without extra adapters.
You’ll be able to use the card’s grunt for more than just games, thanks to AMD’s ATI Stream technology. Like NVIDIA’s CUDA architecture, ATI Stream offloads processing power from the PC’s CPU to the graphics card, which can potentially speed things up. The technology is still quite young, but can be handy in applications that utilise OpenCL or DirectCompute, as well specifically optimised software like Cyberlink’s PowerDirector 8.
|Model||Chipset||Memory||3DMark 06||3DMark Vantage||Crysis (fps)
||Far Cry 2 (fps)
||Lost Planet (fps)
||Call of Juarez (fps)
||Half Life 2:
Episode Two (fps)
|AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970||ATI Radeon HD 5970||2GB||9968||P13988||41.37||92.70||83||96.8||138.71|
|AMD ATI Radeon HD 5870||ATI Radeon HD 5870||1GB||N/A||P12000||34.5||57.1||N/A||72.3||130.5|
|Manli GTX295||NVIDIA GTX295||1GB||9688||P16245||38.9||74.25||N/A||74.3||129.87|
|ASUS ENGTX285||NVIDIA GTX285||1GB||9708||P13532||35.3||60.17||50.1||52.4||131.32|
|Manli Radeon HD 4890||ATI Radeon HD 4890||1GB||9896||P9379||34.72||49.38||46||57.4||140.11|
|ASUS EAH4870X2||ATI Radeon HD 4870X2||2GB||10360||P10486||32.64||N/A||27.8||66.8||137.27|
Though the AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card can’t claim the ultimate performance crown in Futuremark’s synthetic benchmarks, it’s undeniably faster when it comes to real-world gaming. Not only is Crysis playable at high resolutions (for once), but other DirectX 10 games like Far Cry 2, Lost Planet and Call of Juarez are miles ahead of the competition.
Given that these results were delivered at stock speeds, the graphics card’s potential when overclocked is certainly astounding. AMD even encourages aftermarket overclocking by bundling the ATI Overvolt utility, which allows you to directly change GPU and memory voltages without limits. For the inexperienced, the driver’s ATI Overdrive utility has an auto-tune option to overclock your graphics card with fewer risks. In either case, however, AMD’s warranty won’t replace your card if it accidentally catches on fire.
AMD alleges that the ATI Radeon HD 5970 is the “fastest graphics card in the world” and we’re inclined to agree. If spending $850-$1000 on a single PC component seems reasonable, the ATI Radeon HD 5970 is definitely the highest performing choice.
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)WA
- FTApplication Support Analyst/DeveloperNSW
- TP.Net DeveloperSA
- CCFullstack .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTJava Developer/IntegratorACT
- TPSenior Analyst Programmer - ContractQLD
- TPPerformance Test Analyst - Perth BasedQLD
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXWA
- CCNetwork EngineerNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional ConsultantQLD
- TPSenior Java Developer / DevOps - ContractQLD
- CCTest ManagerWA
- TPTechnical WriterVIC
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Developer with Strong SQL DevNSW
- TPOrganisational Change ManagerQLD
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerQLD
- TPProject Technical LeadQLD
- TPTechnical WriterQLD
- FTFull Stack Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- CCSenior System AdministratorVIC
- TPMicrosoft Dynamics DeveloperNSW
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- CCSystems Engineer (Infra)NSW
- FTBranch Practice Manager - SecurityQLD
- TPService Desk Analyst - Level 1VIC