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Sapphire Radeon HD5870 Vapor-X

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Posted November 3, 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 tower 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.

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 5700 and 5800 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). 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 5870 has an astounding 2.15 billion transistors on a small die 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 for the 5870, two very important criteria, other than framerates, when deciding what card to purchase for your system.

The Sapphire 5870 Vapor-X operates at higher core and memory clock speeds of 870 MHz and 1250 MHz, respectively, up from the stock of 850 / 1200, and delivering an astounding 160 GB/sec of memory bandwidth. The 5870 is currently viewed as the "flagship" high-end DX11 card by AMD, with the 5850, 5770, and 5850 each sitting lower on the performance totem pole. The 5870 has no equal in Nvidia’s single-GPU arsenal, and the closest competition would actually be the GTX 295, a dual-GPU card.

Below is a GPU-Z image of the Sapphire Radeon 5870 Vapor-X:

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