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ATI Radeon HD 5670: DX11 For Under $100
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Date: Jan 14, 2010
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introduction and Related Info

AMD continues their barrage of DirectX-11 class GPU releases with the affordably priced ATI Radeon HD 5670. If you remember all the way back to September of last year, AMD had committed--or at the very least planned--to release multiple new GPUs, at various price points up and down the spectrum. First came the Radeon HD 5800 series, quickly followed by the 5700 series, and then came the ultra-powerful Radeon HD 5970, all in the span of about two months. Here are we are now, a little less than two months removed from the Radeon HD 5970 launch, and AMD is ready with yet another new card, this time targeted at the sub-$100 price segment.

As its name suggests, the ATI Radeon HD 5670 shares a number of features with its higher-end counterparts in the Radeon HD 5000 series, like Eyefinity and full DX11 support. Come along for the ride as we show you the new Radeon HD 5670, discuss its specifications, and ultimately take it for a spin through a number of benchmarks...


The ATI Radeon HD 5670 1GB. 512MB versions will also be available.

ATI Radeon HD 5670
Specifications and Features


 

AMD's "Sweet Spot" GPU Strategy

AMD's release schedule of DirectX 11 capable GPUs is outlined on the slide above--we'll be showing you "Redwood" here today with some quick glimpses of "Cedar" as well. Of course, a lot of groundwork had to be laid over the preceding months and even years before the company could produce this line-up of products. Although the GPU at the heart of the Radeon HD 5670 is based on the same architecture as the other members of the DX-11 class Radeon HD 5000 series, the chip does leverage technologies already implemented in previously released GPU generations, so it's not all new.  As such, we'd recommend perusing some recent HotHardware articles to brush up on a few of the technologies and features employed by the new Radeon HD 5970...

The articles listed above cover many of the features available with the Radeon HD 5670, like CrossFire, the UVD 2 video engine, Catalyst Control Center, PowerPlay, GDDR5 memory, and more. There are, however, a lot of brand new things that were introduced with the Radeon 5800 series that we that we detailed in our Radeon HD 5870 coverage, so that article at the very least is a must-read companion to this piece which covers many of the features inherent to the new 5670.

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ATI Radeon HD 5670

If you  have already read our coverage of the Radeon HD 5800 series launch, then the above block diagram should look somewhat familiar to you. As we've already mentioned, the new Radeon HD 5670 series GPU offers virtually all of the same features of 5800 series. The differences between the two are that the 5670 series is equipped with fewer SIMD engines, and hence fewer stream processors, fewer texture units, and ROPs and it has a narrower memory memory interface too.

To be more specific, the Radeon HD 5700 series GPU offers 5 SIMD engines, with 400 total Stream Processing Units, 20 Texture Units, and 8 ROPs with a 128-bit GDDR5 memory interface. The actual GPU is manufactured using TSMC's 40nm process and is comprised of approximately 627 million transistors.



 

 
ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB Edition

The Radeon HD 5670 we'll be featuring in this article is the 512MB versions, pictured above. It is a single-slot card that features a relatively small heatsink / fan combo that cools the GPU and RAM mounted on the front. Typical idle board power is only 14w with peak power of around 61w, so there is no need for supplemental power connectors here--the 75w offered by a PCIe slot will do. The reference specifications call for a 775MHz GPU clock, with 1000MHz memory, for an effective data rate of 4Gbps. At those clocks, the Radeon HD 5670 offers a peak texture fillrate of 15.5GTexel/s, 6.2GPixels/s, with 64GB/s of memory bandwidth and up to 620 GLOPS of compute performance.

The outputs on the Radeon HD 5670 consist of a dual-link DVI output, an HDMI output (with audio) and a DisplayPort output. Any combination of these ports can be used simultaneously, and of course the card fully supports the ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology, with up to three displays.

The backside of the Radeon HD 5670 is exposed, but other than the myriad of surface mounted components there isn't much to see. The GPU heatsink retention bracket is visible right about in the center the PCB, nut where the card's CrossFire edge connectors are supposed to be there are none. AMD tells us the 1GB version will feature CF connectors, but the 512MB reference design does not. It is up to board partners, however, whether or not to outfit their cards with CF connectors. Please note, that CrossFire is still supported with two of the cards pictured here; transactions will be sent over the PCIe interface, instead of the CrossFire bridge.

    
Coming Soon - The Radeon HD 5500 and 5400 Series

The Radeon HD 5670 is designed to be affordable, but lower priced offerings are in the works as well.  The Radeon HD 5500 and 5400 series cards will be debuting soon as well, to complete AMD's top-to-bottom line-up of DirectX 11 class cards. Full specifications, features, and pricing aren't available just yet, but expect the half-height 5500 and 5400 series cards to fall into the $49 - $80 price segments when they arrive.

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Test Setup and Vantage

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: We tested the graphics cards in this article on an Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 motherboard powered by a Core i7 965 quad-core processor and 6GB of OCZ DDR3 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the system BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" or "high performance" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the installation was complete we fully updated the OS and installed the latest hotfixes, along with the necessary drivers and applications.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Core i7 965 (3.2GHz)

Gigabyte EX58-UD5
(X58 Express)

Radeon HD 5670
Radeon HD 5770
Radeon HD 5750
GeForce GT 240
GeForce GTX 260 Core 216

6GB OCZ DDR3-1333
Western Digital Raptor 150GB
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
ATI Catalyst v9.10b
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers v195.50

Benchmarks Used:

3DMark Vantage v1.0.1
H.A.W.X.
Left 4 Dead*
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars v1.5*

* - Custom benchmark

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
Synthetic DirectX Gaming


3DMark Vantage

The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark Vantage, is specifically bound to Windows Vista-based systems because it uses some advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 10, which y isn't available on previous versions of Windows.  3DMark Vantage isn't simply a port of 3DMark06 to DirectX 10 though.  With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, in addition to support for the latest PC hardware.  We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark Vantage's Extreme preset option, which uses a resolution of 1920x1200 with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering.

 



The new Radeon HD 5670 and recently released GeForce GT 240 perform at virtually the same level according to 3DMark Vantage. Only a few points separate the two similarly priced cards in the overall and GPU scores and they trade victories (against each other, not the more expensive cards) in the individual GPU tests.

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Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
OpenGL Gaming Performance


Enemy Territory:
Quake Wars

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is Based on a radically enhanced version of id's Doom 3 engine and viewed by many as Battlefield 2 meets the Strogg, and then some.  In fact, we'd venture to say that id took EA's team-based warfare genre up a notch or two.  ET: Quake Wars also marks the introduction of John Carmack's "Megatexture" technology that employs large environment and terrain textures that cover vast areas of maps without the need to repeat and tile many smaller textures.  The beauty of megatexture technology is that each unit only takes up a maximum of 8MB of frame buffer memory.  Add to that HDR-like bloom lighting and leading edge shadowing effects and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars looks great, plays well and works high end graphics cards vigorously.  The game was tested with all of its in-game options set to their maximum values with soft particles enabled in addition to 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering.

 


The Radeon HD 5670 and GeForce GT 240 also performed similarly in our custom ET:QW benchmark, although AMD's new card pulls ahead once the resolution is increased. The Radeon HD 5670's lead over the GT 240 ranges from about 8% to over 29%.

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Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead
DirectX Gaming Performance


Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is a co-operative, survival horror, first-person shooter that was developed by Turtle Rock Studios, which was purchased by Valve part-way into development. Like Half Life 2, the game uses the Source engine, however, the visual in L4D are far superior to anything seen in the Half Life universe to date. The game pits four Survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic against hordes of aggressive zombies. We tested the game at resolutions of 1,920 x 1,200 and 2,560 x 1,600 with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering enabled and all in game graphical options set to their maximum values.

 


As was the case in ET:QW on the previous page, the Radeon HD 5670 is able to pull ahead of the GeForce GT 240 at all resolutions in our custom L4D benchmark. The deltas separating the two cards are smaller in this test, but the Radeon HD 5670 nonetheless outpaces the GT 240 here.

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Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
DirectX Gaming Performance


Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. is an aerial warfare video game that takes place during the time of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.  Players have the opportunity to take the throttle of over 50 famous aircrafts in both solo and 4-player co-op missions, and take them over real world locations and cities in photo-realistic environments created with the best commercial satellite data provided by GeoEye.  We used the built-in performance test at two resolutions with all quality settings set to their highest values, using the DX10 code path for the GeForce cards, and DX10.1 path for the Radeons.

 


The Radeon HD 5670 and GeForce GT 240 were very evenly matched in the H.A.W.X. benchmark at resolutions of 1680x1050 and 1920x1200, with only a single frame per second separating the two cards. With the resolution cranked way up to 2560x1600 though--admittedly a resolution not likely to be used very often with a card of the 5670's caliber--the Radeon pulls ahead by over 58%.

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Power Consumption

Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover a few final data points--namely power consumption and noise. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you all an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet

 

 

After seeing the Radeon HD 5670's specifications and reported 14w (idle, desktop) and 61w (load) power consumption characteristics, we expected it to be a relatively low-power solution. According to our tests, the Radeon HD 5670 is tied for the lowest idle power consumption with the GT 240, but with the lowest load power consumption.

With power consumption this low, it should come as no surprise that the Radeon HD 5670 does not generate very much heat and hence, its cooler remains nice and quiet during use.

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The Radeon HD 5670 put up some respectable performance numbers considering the card's affordable price point. Overall, the Radeon HD 5670 performed slightly better than NVIDIA's recently released, similarly priced, GeForce GT 240. The 5670 is best suited to more mainstream resolutions of 1680x1050 (or below), but it was able to pull off playable framerates in a couple of games while running at 1920x1200--and that's with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled and high-quality in-game settings. Cranks the IQ settings down a notch and the Radeon HD 5670 would obviously perform even better.

 

With each new generation of mainstream graphics cards, products like the affordably priced ATI Radeon HD 5670 get more and more attractive. The Radeon HD 5670 may not be the absolute fastest card available at its expected $100 price point because it has to compete with the likes of the previous-generation Radeon HD 4850 or GeForce 9800 GT, but it surely is the most feature rich and power friendly. There is currently no other graphics card at the $100 price point that offers the wealth of features and solid performance that the Radeon HD 5670 does. DirectX 11 support, Eyefinity, UVD2, low-power--it's all in there.


AMD ATI Radeon HD 5670

The Radeon HD 5670 will be available for purchase immediately at on-line retailers, in 512MB and 1GB flavors. If you're in the market for an affordable graphics card as an upgrade from an integrated solution or last-gen mainstream card, the Radeon HD 5670 is worth a serious look. AMD has just lowered the DirectX 11 cost of entry to below 100 bucks, and has done so with a product that doesn't skimp on features and offers very respectable performance for the money. That makes the Radeon HD 5670 a solid value in our book.

 

     
  • DirectX 11 Support
  • Eyefinity Support
  • Decent Performance
  • Low-Power
  • Much More Performance Available For Slightly More Money



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