Summary & Conclusions
The mere fact of ATI Eyefinity's
existence should give you a clue to how powerful the AMD ATI Radeon HD 5870 really is; lots of pure pixel pushing power here. The HIS HD 5870 iCooler V Turbo builds on that platform with a healthy core engine overclock, and a decent amount of headroom left, too. The pricing is very reasonable for the product bundle and specifications, with the custom cooler showing exception performance in keeping the card cool and quiet.
The closest competition for the HIS HD 5870 iCooler V Turbo, is the
NVIDIA GTX 480. The GTX 480 is priced the same and features more performance in most circumstances, but with more power consumed, noise and heat emitted. At this level the 'added value' of a product should be considered also, and here both camps have unique selling points.
While AMD have enabled quad-buffer support for Stereoscopic 3D, they are working with partners to deliver the glasses and driver needed to actually use it. This is in sharp contrast to
NVIDIA's Stereo3D launched in January of 2009. However, it's not a a free value-add; you have to buy the 3D glasses, and have a 3D-capable display (120Hz input). These associated costs push Stereo3D out of the mainstream into the Ultra Enthusiast segment - but at least it's present. We're also still waiting for a Blu-ray player that supports AMD hardware, as currently only
NVIDIA 3D Vision can playback 3D Blu-ray's. Support for the GTX 400 series 3D Vision was promised at launch, but has yet to materialize.
AMD also have multi-display technology in the form of ATI Eyefinity. This is standard on nearly the entire HD 5000 range, and allows for a much more immersive gaming experience. Additional costs are in the displays and adapters needed - if you don't have one DisplayPort capable panel, you'll need a verified active adapter to use with it. The GTX 400 series cards are due to offer multi-display, but to get three panels you'll need two cards - and the cooling and power supply that SLI GTX 400 series cards require. Originally promised as a launch feature, again this is waiting on a driver update; the same one for 3D Vision.
HIS HD 5870 iCooler V Turbo 1GB (256bit) GDDR5 PCIe (DirectX 11/ Eyefinity) (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Game Coupon Inside)
The NVIDIA cards also support CUDA, and PhysX. PhysX is currently used to add eye-candy and immersion in games as developers are hesitant to design games to rely on PhysX for the main experience and risk lost sales to AMD graphics consumers.
NVIDIA also offer a new quality mode, '32xAA', that features 8xMSAA and 24xCSAA (Coverage Sample Anti-Aliasing). Custom Filtering options on the AMD hardware include up to 24xMSAA mode (available with Adaptive Anti-Aliasing, too) via the Edge Detect option. A new addition to the HD 5000 series is Rotated Grid Super Sample Anti-Aliasing, to give the best possible AA coverage in supported titles (currently DirectX 9). AMD's only answer to PhysX has been the announcement of the Open Physics Initiative, using Bullet's OpenCL library with Pixelux's DMM enhancement. The major advantage of the O.P.I. is it uses an open standard already supported by both AMD and NVIDIA. The disadvantage is nobody uses it yet.
One unmatched feature of the HIS ATI Radeon HD 5870, and in fact the entire HD 5000 series, is support for Protected Audio Path to enable True Blu-ray Audio. The onboard Realtek HD Audio offers 7.1 HD audio and multi-channel LPCM
pass-through, including support for Dolby TrueHD Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio content. This audio option is available over HDMI and DisplayPort connections.
Rage3D awards the HIS HD 5870 iCooler V Turbo
4 stars! An healthy GPU overclock and outstanding cooling solution lift this HD 5870 to stand out from the pack, but not at the price HIS is asking. A fresher title than Modern Warfare 2 would be nice, especially one that was on the
ATI Eyefinity Validated
software list. Overclock junkies have cooling capacity to spare, and quiet PC gamers can enjoy dominating their games with style. The rear facing PCIe power connectors may be problematic for smaller case designs, but help for narrower styles, too. If you're considering ATI Eyefinity, also check out the 2GB VRAM cards, but be aware of the increased power and display requirements.
We'd like to thank AMD for providing the test hardware for
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