ASUS Radeon EAH5870 Voltage Tweak Edition
There aren’t many things to distinguish the various ATI Radeon 5870 cards on the market, as the majority of manufacturers have reference designs, a bundle game of DiRT 2 included, and equal prices across the board. This leaves most of them vying for your money through brand loyalty or warranty differences. However, the ASUS EAH5870 Voltage Tweak Edition graphics card is one in the market that truly accomplishes something unique for consumers. Clearly, the Radeon 5870 is already a monster in terms of performance, but ASUS has decided to go that extra mile by offering enthusiasts the opportunity to crank it up even higher. In fact, they encourage it through voltage tweaking in their Smart Doctor software, available exclusively to this ASUS card.
In terms of performance, the ASUS EAH5870 posts results exactly the same as the reference ATI card, only slightly behind the non-reference Sapphire Vapor-X card due to its very modest factory-overclock. However, the ASUS card jumps ahead on the performance charts when the voltages are tweaked by considerably bumping up the core and memory speeds. Quite simply, the ASUS EAH5870 Voltage Tweak is the fastest single-GPU card on the market, offering eye-watering performance that cannot be touched by other manufacturers’ 5870 cards. Further, the ASUS EAH5870 embarasses the previous generation ATI cards, offering a massive performance increase with a 40nm die that draws less power as a result. The smaller die does indeed also translate into lower temperatures, though really only at idle, since the load temperatures are nothing to write home about on the reference cooler.
In terms of competition from the Nvidia side of things, the EAH5870’s closest competitor is the GTX 285, a card that is also blazingly fast and brings CUDA-enabled acceleration to the table. Whether or not this matters to you is entirely a matter of personal preference, but if you’re a Folding disciple then the choice is not difficult and you’re in the Nvidia camp. ASUS is one of the very few companies that manufactures both Nvidia and ATI graphics cards, and we’ll soon be examining the ASUS GTX 285 Matrix against today’s showstopper, the EAH5870, to see what gaming value the Matrix brings to the table. So check back soon for that analysis; we have no doubt the results will be interesting when we put two ASUS titans into the ring.
With the Radeon 5870’s currently in short supply and prices fluctuating, finding the ASUS EAH5870 in stock is difficult. Newegg had it listed for $380 USD but is currently not available and no price is shown. We looked elsewhere but, again, finding it was next to impossible. We did manage to find it listed in Canada for about $440 CAN though. Top performance comes with a premium price, but given what you can achieve here without having to resort to volt mods or voiding your warranty, the choice here of the ASUS EAH5870 over any reference card is a no-brainer. Toss in a free game that’s likely worth about $50 and that seals the deal. The only blot on an otherwise spotless canvas here is the stock cooler will struggle to keep temperatures and noise levels under control if you choose to overclock the card to the hilt.
The ASUS Radeon EAH5870 Voltage Tweak Edition is a very impressive graphics card, posting the best single-GPU results we’ve ever seen and bringing some outstanding features to the mix. Not everyone will feel the need to overclock a card like this, but for those that do, the ASUS EAH5870 card gives you the tools to do just that. If you’re someone who believes Performance is King, then this card reigns as royalty and is one of the very best you’ll find on the market.
ASUS Radeon EAH5870 Voltage Tweak
Our thanks go to ASUS for providing the EAH5870 for this review.