2GB vs. 1GB and Conclusion
Other than their video output configurations, the only major difference between the original Radeon HD 5870 and the new Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition is the size of their respective frame buffers. The original Radeon HD 5870 is outfitted with 1GB of GDDR5 memory, the Eyefinity 6 Edition has 2GB.
We know many of you will be wondering how that additional frame buffer memory may affect performance, so we ran some quick comparisons with a handful of games and benchmarks. The results are below.
Please note, all of the games were run at a resolution of 2560x1600 with 4X anti-aliasing, with the exception of Crysis where no anti-aliasing was used. 3DMark Vantage and the Unigine Heaven benchmark were run at 1920x1200, using their Extreme options.
As you can see, the additional 1GB of frame buffer memory had a minimal impact on performance, at least at these resolutions. The Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition put up slightly higher scores in every test but Unigine Heaven, but the deltas were relatively small. At higher resolutions, however, like those possible when using Eyefinity, the additional frame buffer memory will most likely help performance. If you're thinking of getting this card to use with one monitor, because it has more memory than the standard Radeon HD 5870, save your money.
Our experience with the Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition was very good, to say the least. There are still some kinks to work out in the Eyefinity drivers and software, and not every game is going to work right out of the box, but in general we can't help by be impressed by the technology. Its impact in most games really alters the experience for the better, and makes for more immersive gaming.
The Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition has an MSRP of $479 and should be available immediately at e-tail (the Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition, has an MSRP of $499). For an additional $80-$100 over the standard Radeon HD 5870, the Eyefinity 6 Edition offers double the frame buffer memory and a number of adapters to accommodate various monitor configurations. 500 bucks (give or take) is a lot of money to spend on a graphics card, but considering the capabilities of this card, the adapters board partners will be including, and the additional frame buffer memory, the price premium over the standard 5870 can easily be justified.
The market for ultra high-end graphics cards is relatively small. And for specialized cards like the Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition the market is even smaller. If, however, the idea of multi-monitor gaming is appealing to you and you've got the means to score one of these cards and the requisite monitors, you won't be disappointed.