Continuing with their "Sweet spot" strategy, ATI has launched their mainstream graphics card codenamed Redwood, which comes right on schedule. Today we have with us in the labs the HD5670, which is the fastest of the mainstream cards in the 5600 series. The numbering system of this new card makes one think that it's a replacement for the current hot favourite, the HD4670. However, the folks at ATI have told us that it's actually released to fill the gap between the HD4670 and the HD4770. Therefore, we are looking at possible performance levels of the 9800GT or HD4830.
Another first for ATI and the industry is the incorporation of GDDR5 memory in the HD5670, which is supposed to be a mainstream card. Finally, since this has to appeal to power conscious users who will likely not bother to upgrade their PSU, the TDP is well under 75Watts thereby eliminating the need for an extra 6-pin power connector. Next, let's have a quick look at the specifications below.
From the specifications, it becomes clearer why ATI have positioned this card above the HD4670. Apart from the faster GDDR5 memory, which gives you almost twice the bandwidth, it also has 80 more shader cores which should by itself help boost the performance. The clock speeds are also bumped up slightly and of course this being a 5xxx series card, we have 40nm fabrication for lower temperatures and DX11 support.
We did not receive any bundle since this was a review sample, but by now you know what to expect.
Design and Build
Putting it against the HD4670, it's almost of the same size with a very similar cooler. This is a single slot card that will easily fit into almost any cabinet an average user may have at home.
The reference card came with one DVI port, HDMI and DisplayPort. The actual retail card may carry the same connections or may choose to change them depending on the manufacturer.
The heatsink is just a small block of copper with a fan to cool the core and memory chips.
Note: Due to the change in Testbench and operating system , we had to re-run all the game benchmarks for all the cards. For the HD5670, the cards easily available to us were the HD4670 and the 9600GT, which is what we've compared this with. In the future reviews, we will be updating all the currently available cards with these new benchmarks.
CPU: Intel Corei7 940 (Bloomfield) @ 2.93 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Enabled
Motherboard: ECS X58B-A2
RAM: 3 x 1GB DDR3 1600 MHz Kingston HyperX
HDD: Hitachi 500GB SATA II (7200 rpm)
PSU: CoolerMaster 1000W
Monitor: Viewsonic G90fB monitor (19-inch, Max Res. 1920 x 1440)
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate
VGA Driver: Catalyst 8.9 RC3 (Beta drivers for Redwood)
We used the FarCry 2 benchmark tool 1.0.0. We used the following settings;
- Ranch Medium
- Render Quality - Very High
- Performance - High
For this benchmark we used the Avalanche stage to record our benchmark. We used the following settings;
- Gamer Preset
- DX 10
World In Conflict
The High Conflict graphics quality preset was chosen and the AA and AF settings were changed in the Advanced Graphics section. 4x AA and 16x AF were selected after benchmarking with no AA and no AF. Filtering and AA were set as Application Controlled in the drivers.
This is the latest aerial combat game from Tom Clancy called H.A.X.W. All the settings were set to their maximum with DX10.1 enabled for ATI cards. Anti-Aliasing was kept at 4x, since 8x was too much for any card with 512MB of RAM. However, for graphics cards with 1GB and more memory, we have used 8x AA.
DIRT 2, which is the first game to support DX11, is the perfect candidate for the new generation cards. For this test we turned all settings to High and took three readings. One without AA, one with 4x AA and the third with 4xAA and Post Processing set to High, which is only available on DX11 cards. We ran this game on three popular resolutions and this is what we got.
- All High Settings
- Post Processing - Medium
Resident Evil 5
All settings were set to High and we ran the Fixed Benchmark.
The result is sort of a mixed bag here, which is quite confusing actually when ATI claims the HD5670 is lot more powerful than the older HD4670, but in reality it's not that big a lead. World is Conflict is probably one game where the HD5670 races past the HD4670 at a lower resolution, but apart from that it's just 10-15% faster. The 9600GT on the other hand gives it quite a tough competition, something which we didn't expect. Let's see how well it does on the power and overclocking front. I will say this though, if you plan on gaming at 1280x1024, then it's better than both the HD4670 and the 9600GT, especially in games like FarCry 2 where it was almost twice as fast as with the AA cranked up.
Overclocking and Power Consumption
ATI's Overdrive utility is your best bet if you want to try your hand at overclocking. We were able to get a stable core speed of 840MHz and around 1050MHz (4200MHz effective) for the memory. While this gave us a small bump in the Synthetic scores, when it comes to real world gaming, the increase of a few FPS is not going to make any difference. So you really needn't bother with it as you'll only be increasing the heat and putting undue stress on the card.
Compared to the HD4670, the HD5670 consumes 4% less power, thanks to the smaller fabrication.
The operating temperatures are in check as well with the card idling around 49C and it shoots up all the way to 70C while running the FurMark stability test. This is a bit high actually since we were using an open Testbench and the office temperature was around 25C.
Since this is a mainstream card, for it to be successful the ideal price would be a little under 5K given its performance. In India the HD5670 will sell for roughly 6K, which is the price you would get after converting the US dollar price along with taxes. But after this we also have the dealers who will want a sizeable cut, but the amount will entirely depend on the brand and the distributor.
In a month or so when the prices settle, if the HD5670 is available for 5K or less then it would be a better choice compared to the HD4670 and the 9600GT.
ATI is about to complete their entire range of Cypress card, and come February, we'll see the tail enders also launching their cards to cater to the HTPC and entry-level gamer segment.
The HD5670 has many things going for it that make it a very attractive buy over the 9800GT. For instance, it's the first mainstream card to adopt GDDR5 memory, doesn't require an extra power connector, is built on the 40nm fabrication and supports DX11. Even though it won't beat the 9800GT, it's not that far behind. When you consider the games that use DX10.1 and DX11, this is where the HD5670 has the upper hand, as it helps boost the frame rate while giving you a better overall picture quality.
But in terms of pure performance, the card is not that impressive as we hoped it would be after comparing it to the older and cheaper alternatives. Hopefully, once the price drops and it settles for a little under 5K then it will be a good buy.
Test unit sourced from AMD