Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: Summarizing the ATI Radeon HD 5970's performance couldn't be any easier. The Radeon HD 5970 is simply the fastest, most powerful single graphics card available today. The Radeon HD 5970 offered better performance than every other graphics card we tested, regardless of the game or application. In comparison to other multi-GPU solutions, the Radeon HD 5970 falls in-line right about where you'd expect it to, considering its specifications. It's about on par with, or slightly ahead of, a pair of Radeon HD 5850 cards in CrossFire, but behind a Radeon HD 5870 CrossFire configuration.
AMD deserves a heck of a lot of credit. Not only has the company launched no less than five DirectX 11-class graphics cards over the last two months, but they have set the performance bar at each of their respective price points. The new ATI Radeon HD 5970 is without question the single most powerful graphics cards we have tested to date.
Not only is the Radeon HD 5970 the undisputed performance leader, but it is also one of the most feature laden graphics cards currently on the market. With its dual Radeon HD 5800 series GPUs, the Radeon HD 5970 fully supports DX11 and ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology, and also sports the latest UVD engine, and has some of the best in-game image quality of any graphics card. On top of that, the card is highly overclockable, and despite being powered by a pair of the fastest GPUs out there, its power consumption characteristics aren't all that off the chart. Strictly speaking in terms of features and performance, the ATI Radeon HD 5970 currently has no rivals. Until you start pairing up multiple single-GPU powered cards, that is.
AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970
About the only downside to the Radeon HD 5970 is cost. The first wave of Radeon HD 5970 cards due to hit etailers today carry a hefty $599 MSRP. In light of its performance and current prices for competing products, $599 is certainly justifiable for the Radeon HD 5970, but we'll miss the days of sub-$400 flagship graphics cards--thank you Radeon HD 5870.
Heading into the all important holiday season, it seems AMD's graphics division is in an excellent position. NVIDIA has yet to show its hand with regard to next-gen 3D gaming-oriented GPUs. Currently, AMD's products at every price point from $150 on up to $600 are best-of-class contenders. Here's hoping AMD can make enough of them to satisfy demand and fully fuel development of their next-generation of products.