ATI Radeon HD 5970 Dual-GPU Powerhouse Review

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Test Setup and 3DMark 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 5970
Radeon HD 5850
Radeon HD 5870
Radeon HD 4870 X2
GeForce GTX 285
GeForce GTX 295

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 v191.00

Benchmarks Used:

3DMark Vantage v1.0.1
FarCry 2
H.A.W.X.
Crysis*
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.




Looking at the Radeon HD 5970's performance in 3DMark Vantage, two things become apparent. First, the card offers phenomenal performance that dwarves any of the single-GPU powered cards. Second, the Radeon HD 5970's performance falls right in-line with expectations. Considering the card has the same number of stream processors as a Radeon HD 5870 CrossFire configuration, but the same clocks as a Radeon HD 5850, we'd expect performance to fall somewhere between the two configurations. And that's exactly what happens. The Radeon HD 5970 finishes ahead of the Radeon HD 5850 CrossFire setup, but behind the higher-clocked 5870s.


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