ATI Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition Gaming

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Back in September of last year, just prior to the official arrival of the Radeon HD 5800 series, we first wrote about AMD's ATI Eyefinity technology and hinted at the fact that cards with six display outputs were coming. Since then, we had seen AMD's 6-output Radeon in action at a number of events, but hadn't been given the opportunity to evaluate one in the lab on our own test hardware, nor had we been informed of an official planned release date.

It turns out, Microsoft had implement an artificial limit of four monitors in Windows 7 with the final release of the OS, and AMD had to find a way to workaround that limit with their drivers. Although, we sure the supply issues AMD had to contend with played some sort of role in the delay as well.

Regardless, the ATI Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition is here now, and we've got one in house for testing. We paired the card up with six, 22" Dell LCD Panels in a 3x2 configuration, with a max resolution of 5760x2160 and ran a number of popular games. Performance data and our experience with the Eyefinity 6 Edition is available on the pages ahead. For now, check out the specs and hardware and then move on to bask in the insanity...


Sapphire's 2GB Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition

Note:  If you're the type that likes to cut to the chase, check out our demo videos starting here.  Otherwise here's a quick fix for you before our deep-dive look at a number of titles, in the page ahead...


More in-game action on the pages ahead...

ATI Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition
Specifications and Features


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The Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition sports a GPU clock of 850MHz with a memory clock speed of 1.2 GHz (4.8Gbps effective)--that equates to roughly 153.6GB/sec of peak memory bandwidth. According to AMD, maximum board power is 228 Watts, up slightly from the original Radeon HD 5870 due to the additional RAM and outputs on the card, but idle power is only 34 Watts.

In terms of its speeds and feeds, the Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition is essentially idential to the original Radeon HD 5870. Where the two cards differ is with regard to their frame buffers and output configuration. The Eyefinity 6 Edition card is outfitted with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, up from 1GB on the original. The additional memory helps performance at the ultra-high resolutions supported by Eyefinity. The Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition also features a different output configuration, obviously. The Eyefinity 6 edition has--you guessed it--six mini-DisplayPort outputs.


    

   
Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition

AMD's board partners are at the ready with Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition cards. Sapphire's Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition card, seen here, adheres to AMD's reference design, save for some decals on the front. And like the original Radeon HD 5870, the Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition card is 10.5" long and features a black fan shroud with red accents, that encases the entire PCB. The card's cooler has a barrel-type fan that draws air into the shroud, where it is forced through the heatsink and partially exhausted from the system through vents in the card's mounting plate. Two more small vents at the back of the card also direct some air to be vented within the system. At the top corner of the card, PCI Express 6 and 8-pin supplemental power connectors are present.

As we've mentioned, outputs on the card consist of six mini-DisplayPort outputs, all arranged in single row. Opposite the video outputs is a large vent in the case bracket, where air is exhausted from the system.

Included with the Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition are the obligatory user's manual and driver CD, along with a case badge, a CrossFire bridge connector, and a couple of PCI Express power adapters. In additional to the aforementioned items, however, Sapphire also includes 5 various video adapters, two mini-DisplayPort to full-sized DisplayPort adapters, two mini-DisplayPort to DVI adapters, and a single mini-DisplayPort to HDMI output.
 

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Great review Marco, first off I am impressed by the sheer power of the 5870 eyefinity edition I mean six 30" monitors running in tandem wow!!!! I can see how a first person shooter game could be a problem from time to time as the screen laps over the bezel as you are lining up for a shot. But with a game like Dirt 2 where there is no cross hair to line up a shot just driving on an open map with your peripheral vision comes into play as other drivers are attempting to pass would be very helpful also it adds to the immersive experience. Again just the  raw performance of 1 card not crossfire or SLI running 6 monitors is amazing and really shows that the hard wok AMD put into the 5 series architecture. Impressive indeed!!!! Yes

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This is just an awesome card with great features. When screens with no bezels come out it would be awesome!The comparison there at the end was nice. The 1GB beat the 2GB at one thing with the same setup at least xD

LOL at Marcos driving :) wrong way there Wink lol

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I recently had the chance to try out a 3-display Eyefinity setup, and was actually quite surprised at how well it worked.  I do think I'd be distracted by the bezels in 6-panel Eyefinity mode though, but I guess I'd need to actually experience it before dismissing it completely.

I do love the fact you guys tossed Crysis in here though - I'm sure somebody would have asked the question if you didn't.  :)

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Glad you included the 1GB vs 2GB on the last page. But besides resolution, would the differences between the two widen if you increased the AA? Or would they perform the same at all AA levels?

 

For games, I'm not exactly sure what they are planning to fix the issue in fps games. I think the answer isn't just moving the crosshair above or below the bezel. This would take away from some of the realism of a game, but for a 6 monitor setup (3 columns, 2 rows), the bottom 3 could be a regular 3 monitor setup, with the top screens doing something else. Like either have all 3 do a map or 1 screen shows a map while the other 2 show other stuff. I think a map would be nice because it would be easier to issue objective points and stuff. Like in an fps game that has a commander. That commander could tell which squads to attack what and how to approach the objective. Almost like an RTS game. The map could be real-time too like the mini-map in an RTS. So you know if a squad was under fire or not.

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You could also have a monitor for stats and such (ping, # of kills, player/team ranking, etc.)

That probably would work fairly well.

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Dang!.....Y'all Must have really loved this card :)
This is why ATI Rocks!
One thing I don't understand, is all this reverse thinking when it comes to displays like this. These types of displays are what they tried in the 90's. trying to accomplish a big screen by putting a bunch of little ones together. having the edges of the screens cross hatching each other is not only distracting it is borderline Boobnoxious :P
To me it is like having a Opteron and trying to run it through an old Macintosh Green display. Thanks to this review, you can really apply your imagination into this card!  Lets think about current technology. 6x30" displays? Ok, what you get is 180 inches of display with a bunch of black bars running through it. Where is the fun in that?
With current Projector technologies, you can have a 300" display right of the bat, and it will cost you less than all the displays and mounting hardware required for this setup.
This review is just awesome, when it comes to showing the raw power of this card!  I watched every video at least twice:) It just kept buggin me that the bars were there. After a while I kept saying to myself "get out of the way"!  If I'm exploding an Aliens head, I don't want it to look like it is behind an I-Beam:P
This was a great review, and once again shows my affinity for ATI. Now they just need to come down in price a bit or at least include six of the Mini-display adaptors of your choice, instead of the hodgepodge they include now. Like six Mini-HDMI's or Mini-DVI's? If they left it to the consumer then they might really cut down on the wast of the unused materials.
With this review, now we know that a card like this can handle six projectors at the same time, at resolutions far greater than is really necessary. If you had six Optoma HD20's running, just imagine...1800inches or 150 FEET! of pure entertainment at 1080p resolution and no black bars when you look around! Bezel issue resolved :) If you had vaulted ceilings, you can literally turn your home into a flight/driving simulator and one amazing Home Theatre! Can you imagine this setup with FSX! Or six Optoma HD66's, then you would have 150 feet of 3D HD all over your walls! The ultimate setup for when the BR Avatar 3D comes out. Can you say Nerdgasum :o
My only other question would be, How does this benchtest to the V8750 as far as WS performance? If any? Or possibly be crossfired with it?

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Once thing I have found about Multi-Monitor setups:  An even number of monitors is ALWAYS a problem.  You always end up with a Bezel edge in the center of your view.  So you need odd number setups.  The number of monitor rows follows the same rule.  So either 1 row of monitors, or 3 rows stacked vertically.   Frankly, 3 monitors in one row is usually best, although I suppose you could do 5 monitors in one row.  Otherwise you REALLY need to bump all the way up to 9 to avoid the "Center Bezel" issue.

I'd actually be interested to know if it can handle non-standard monitor rotation angles.  IE:  Can I take 3 or 5 widescreen panels, rotate them all 90 degrees to the right or left, and THEN use them?  I hope so, as this eliminates the need to use a stacked row setup.  you can get very close to the same display area with less monitors.  If you use larger monitors you can end up with the exact same display area, and less bezel interference.

So..  Can I do THAT with this card?

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@Bishounen - Yes, you can configure odd-numbered screens, in either portrait or landscape mode.

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Marco C:

@Bishounen - Yes, you can configure odd-numbered screens, in either portrait or landscape mode.

NICE!

(I don't suppose you have a video of that setup too?  I'd love to see that in action!)

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I've actually been really tempted of late to buy a third monitor and a 5870.  After reading this though, I wonder if I can swing three more monitors and one of these 6 editions.

Hummmm... five 1,920x1,080 monitors setup as 5x1 portrait... 5,400x1,920.  I would lose 360 pix on width and 240 on height, but not have bezels on my cross hairs.

BTW, did you guys run it with that option that you set your bezel width and it cuts that part of the image out?  Actually, nevermind.  That would make the cross hairs completely disappear on your layout.

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