The first retail-ready Radeon HD 5970 card to hit the HotHardware labs came by way of HIS. Although availability of Radeon HD 5800 series GPUs has been scarce for a few weeks, we're told this card (and 5970s from many other AMD board partners) will be available immediately. And inventory on other 5800 series cards should be ramping back up soon too.
The HIS Radeon HD 5970 is essentially identical to the reference card pictured on the previous page, save for a large decal affixed to the front side of the card's fan shroud. The fan is the same, as is the output configuration, backplate, 2GB of GDDR5, power requirements, frequencies, etc.
HIS does, however, differentiate their Radeon HD 5970 with a unique accessory bundle. In addition to the card itself, included with the HIS Radeon HD 5970 is a multi-language quick installation guide, am HIS case badge, a driver CD, a CrossFire bridge connector, dual-Molex to 6-pin and 8-pin power adapters, DVI to VGA and HDMI dongles, a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter, a coupon for the upcoming DX11-racing sim Dirt 2, and a cool multi-purpose tool with screwdrivers and a level.
The most interesting part of the HID Radeon HD 5970's bundle, however, was the included iClear card. According to HIS, the iClear card can "reduce the noise distortion generated from the high end graphics card or TV tuner cards". What the means to end users is anything but clear, however. We tested the HIS Radeon HD 5970 with and without the iClear card installed and didn't see any visual quality differences, and didn't experience any changes in stability or overclockability.
We should also note that this is the card we used throughout the performance testing laid out for you on the pages ahead.