AMD ATI Radeon HD 5870: Unquestionably Number One

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The Radeon HD 5800 series is also outfitted with an enhanced version of the ATI UVD 2 video engine. Although the vast majority of the features of the UVD 2 engine remain unchanged from the Radeon HD 4800 series, AMD's latest flagship does have some new capabilities...

  

  

The slides above detail the new features available with the Radeon HD 5800 series' updated UV2 engine. The Radeon HD 5800 series offers 2.0 hardware accelerates decoding of dual 1080p HD video streams, independent video gamma controls, Blue-Stretch processing for effectively brighter whites in video, and dynamic video range support. The Radeon HD 5800 series also has some new capabilities related to its HDMI output. Cards now support Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio playback, with full support for AC-3 and DTS surround sound output with up to 8 channels of 192kHz / 24-bit audio.


The Radeon HD 5800 series has also been treated to new texture filtering algorithms that removes the angle dependence of previous generations and features a new LOD management scheme that is supposed to offer higher quality. In addition, the Radeon HD 5800 series also offers new Super Sampling AA modes.

Although time did not permit us to do an in-depth analysis of the Radeon HD 5800 series image quality, we have been using a Radeon HD 5870 for a couple of weeks and can safely say in-game image quality is excellent.


Radeon HD 5870


Radeon HD 4890


GeForce GTX 295

To demonstrate, we captured a few images with a Radeon HD 5870, a Radeon HD 4890, and a GeForce GTX 295. The images above were captured in Left 4 Dead's Blood Harvest map, at precisely the same perspective. The full resolution scenes are available above, with minimal JPG compression.


Radeon HD 5870
4X AA, 200% Zoom


Radeon HD 4890
4X AA, 200% Zoom


GeForce GTX 295
4X AA, 200% Zoom

We also zoomed into a couple of areas to highlight anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering quality. Here are what the trees in the upper-right corner of the scene look like when magnified 200%. With 4x multi-sampling anti-aliasing enabled on all three cards, output is very similar. We of the opinion that the Radeon HD 5870 produces a somewhat softer image, that lacks some of the sharpness of the 4890 or GTX 295. Whether or not that is better is up to interpretation.


Radeon HD 5870
16X Aniso, 200% Zoom


Radeon HD 4890
16X Aniso, 200% Zoom


GeForce GTX 295
16X Aniso, 200% Zoom

Here we have some magnified images of the ground at approximately the center of the screen. Inspecting the zoomed images reveals almost no differences in the image quality between the three cards, save for some harder edges on the shrub in the Radeon HD 4890 shot.

There are a multitude of other anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering settings and combination that could be compared and contrasted between the different cards featured here, but ultimately some of the differences are so subtle they can hardly be seen without enlarged, stills of a scene. From what we've seen so far, the Radeon HD 5870 offers excellent image quality, but the previous generation from AMD and NVIDIA do a good job too.

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Now this is what I'm talking about. That Spanish review on Tom's Hardware was a little difficult to understand, lol.

One of the things that struck right off the bat was the idle power usage, much lower than any of the other cards tested. The 5870 delivers the best bang per watt and is the best performing single GPU solution on the market. And the price point of $379 is brilliant move by ATI (some sub-$300 should be had this holiday season).

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If I can get one of these mommas for under $300, I'll do it, even though I don't have a system to put it in.

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Are you sure this is a GPU? I don't see any pictures of Batman characters on it.

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That thing is a hoss of a card. And not bad on the numbers even slightly behind the gtx 295 and that is a dual gpu card set.

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One unexpected thing that really stuck me as impressive was the power consumption.  Right around 4890 or 285 level... nice.

Of course the performance is the main thing.  Freaking incredible for single GPU and it spanks the crap out of the GTX 285 despite only costing around $30-$55 more.  And why pay $80+ more for the GTX 295 when it's barely faster (or in many cases not faster)?  ATi is back on top and without price gouging like some other companies have been known to do ($650 video card in June 2008, anyone?).

With the system requirements of most PC games only very gradually improving, one of these would be all someone needs for quite a bit - though people demanding Crysis perfection will want to pick up 2.

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The GTX was in many cases faster than the ATI 5870. But at the same time it had much higher power requirments and costs more. Remember, we'll be seeing 5870 X2's soon as well. Nate's review over at legit reviews shows the 5870's potention in crossfire config. It looked pretty damned impressive.

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The GTX 296 doesn't support DX11 either.

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I think that the ATI Radeon HD 5870 Is a better deal than the tested Nvidia Card, especially when you take into consideration the amount of performance for the price.

NVIDIA will probably lower prices to counter this situation, but then ATI will follow suit.

I know that every time that I've bought a graphics card within the past two years, ATI offered the best bang for the buck at that time.

I appreciate that,...Big Smile

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The reviewers at AnanTech were disappointed that the 5870 didn't outperform the GTX 295. And even moreso that doubling the hardware power from the 4870 didn't translate into the double the performance.

ATI made such a large leap from the 3870 to the 4870, and I think we didn't witness the same with the 5870. However, it's still the best single GPU card on the market, and barring two GTX 295x in SLI (though there are problems associated with quad GPU configs and the enormous power requirements), two 5870's in Crossfire will give gamers the most stable, powerful video gaming power available.

A 5870 x2 poses problems for ATI, especially in terms of power. Right now we're seeing a lot of great news on the 5870, but Nvidia can really beat ATI into the ground with something that's revolutionary rather than evolutionary.

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That's a very good looking card, however regardless of the performance, I'm still loyal 100% to nvidia.  I always have driver issues with ati.  Driver issues outweigh the performance in my opinion.

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