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Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 OC

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Posted November 18, 2009 by Jake in Video Cards

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by Jake
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Radeon 5800 Architecture

When AMD made the move from titanic clashes with Nvidia for framerate supremacy and instead towards better value for consumers’ money, it was a bold but ultimately smart move. It turns out that the market does not support the foolish pursuit of minimal gains for high costs, ones that users will not support from their hard-earned cash. AMD conceded the uber framerates at the top end, instead focusing on top performance for lower prices, and it paid off handsomely with their 4800 series cards at the time.

Continuing that trend, AMD has released their 5800 series cards on 40nm processing, bringing evolutionary development and progress to the masses. But what is most interesting, however, is that AMD has achieved the rare trifecta: top performance, latest technological features, and value for the price. That, my friends, is a very compelling situation for consumers, regardless of how you slice it, no matter if you’re an Nvidia or ATI disciple. We’re bang-for-the-buck fanboys, and getting top performance for bottom dollar makes us drool.

In terms of technological advancements, the 5000 series cards bring DirectX 11 support to the table, along with a substantial increase in raw horsepower across the board. This is, in part, accomplished by GDDR5 memory continued from the previous generation, as well as shaders now coupled in pairs of shader compartments, so to speak, with 800 shaders each (1600 resulting). However, since we have two chips on one board by means of a Gen2 PLX bridge, we end up with 3200 Stream Processors delivering almost 5 TFLOPs of computing power. The diagram below illustrates (admittedly difficult to see the detail) the RV870 Cypress chip essentially doubling the power of the previous RV770 generation chip,

As you can see from the spec chart below, the 5970 has an astounding 4.3 billion transistors on a two small dies, each covering an area of only 334mm², larger than the previous generation but nowhere near the mammoth proportions of Nvidia chips. Lower power consumption and lower heat output is the result, two very important criteria, other than framerates, when deciding what card to purchase for your system.

The Sapphire Radeon 5970 OC operates at a core of 735 MHz and memory of 1010 MHz (down from the 850/1200 of the 5870), delivering some astounding memory bandwidth. The 5970 OC is now considered to be the "flagship" high-end DX11 card by AMD, with the 5870, 5850, 5770, and 5750 each sitting respectively lower on the performance totem pole, with each of these cards are single-GPU products. The 5970 OC’s closest competitor in Nvidia’s arsenal is the GTX 295, also a dual-GPU card, though it is not a next-gen DX11 card, nor 40nm chip either. Nvidia’s Fermi cards aren’t expect for some time yet, with no official launch schedule yet confirmed, leaving AMD uncontested as the performance leader for the foreseeable future.

Below is a GPU-Z image of the Sapphire Radeon 5970 OC:

Let’s take a look at some of the features that come with the Sapphire 5970 OC.

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