Immediately upon its introduction, the ATI Radeon HD 5870 took the title for the fastest, single-GPU on the market. There was simply no other single-GPU that could touch it, not only in terms of performance, but in regard to features as well. And at the time, virtually all of AMD's strategic board partners were at the ready with products based on the Radeon HD 5870 reference design.
Unfortunately, due to some yield issues at TSMC, the foundry that manufactures the actual chips at the heart of the card, supplies of Radeon HD 5870 (and Radeon HD 5850) cards quickly dried up. AMD had the fastest, most feature-rich single GPU on the market, and it was incredibly difficult to buy one for a while there.
The supply issues have since cleared up, however, and Radeon HD 5870 cards are easily attainable once again. With that in mind, we're taking a look at Asus' take on AMD's flagship single-GPU, the EAH5870. Like essentially all of the other Radeon HD 5870 cards currently available, Asus' offering is based on AMD's reference design. But Asus does have a couple of tricks up its sleeve that help differentiate the EAH5870 from the also-rans. Read on and take a look for yourself...
Asus did a nice job with the EAH5870's accessory bundle. In addition to the card, we also found a basic, printed user's manual, a driver and utility CD, a single DVI-to-VGA adapter, a dual-Molex to PCI Express 6-pin power adapter, a CrossFire bridge connector, and a second CD with more detailed user's manuals in digital form available in many different languages. Along with the aforementioned items, Asus also includes a coupon for one of the first DirectX 11 games, Dirt 2, and a copy of their SmartDoctor tweaking utility.
The inclusion of SmartDoctor will appeal to the modders out there, because in addition to giving users the ability to alter the EAH5870's GPU and memory frequencies, it also allows for GPU voltage modifications, which enhance the card's overclockability.