iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail







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Card design

Note that it's a reference card, that is it's manufactured by AMD (ATI). Thus there is no package and bundle. All bells and whistles as well as nice stickers are added by partners and retailers. Perhaps, some will even customize the cooling system (this card will only benefit from it).

Cypress can boast of 1600 ALUs inside its GPU that work like ants in an ant hill. And they all work for a computer user, who installed this graphics card.

  • GPU: RADEON HD 5870 (Cypress)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 850/850 MHz (nominal -- 850/850 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1200 (4800) MHz (nominal -- 1200 (4800) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 1600
  • Texture processors: 80 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 32
  • Dimensions: 285x100x33mm
  • PCB color: black
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), 1xDisplay Port, 1xHDMI
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: not installed
  • Multi-GPU operation: CrossFire (Hardware)


The graphics card has 1024MB of GDDR5 Samsung SDRAM in eight chips on the front side of the PCB. These memory chips are designed for the maximum frequency of 1250 (5000) MHz.

Comparison with the reference design, front view
ATI RADEON HD 5870 1024MB Reference ATI RADEON HD 4890

Comparison with the reference design, back view
ATI RADEON HD5870 1024MB Reference ATI RADEON HD 4890

As we can see, this product has common traits with the previous only in general, because the memory bus remains the same 256-bit one with the same number of memory chips (8). However, output units have been modified significantly (because the card can work with three receivers simultaneously, and it's also equipped with four connectors (HDMI and Display Port are mutually excluding here). Besides, the power supply unit differs much from the previous one because of peculiarities of the new core and its power supply.

By the way, the die has grown much comparing to the RV790, even though it's based on the 40nm process technology instead of 55nm. Many units have become almost twice as large as their counterparts in the RV790.

The PCB has grown from 260mm to 270mm. It would have been ok, but the cooling system, which covers the tail of the PCB, makes it longer by 15mm. So you should take into account that even if you PC enclosure could accommodate a GeForce GTX 2xx, 4870 X2 (270mm), the new card may fail to fit. Also note the housing width, which does not change along the entire card. So a motherboard must have no ports or high capacitors within 30mm behind the PCI-E x16 slot (that is not just right behind the PCI-E slot, but also the next slot behind it must not have any high components).

Graphics cards of this family are equipped with a built-in audio codec. So nothing else is required to transmit audio streams to HDMI (directly or via a DVI-to-HDMI adapter).

The card has two 6-pin power connectors.

Analog monitors with d-Sub (VGA) interface can be connected by means of DVI-to-d-Sub adapters. Besides, the card has a HDMI connector. There's a very important feature as well: the new card can work with 3 monitors.

  • 240 Hz maximum refresh rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit @ 85Hz Max - analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max - digital interface (Dual-Link DVI)

As for HDTV, a review is available here.

The card requires additional power supply, so it is bundled with a molex to 6-pin adapter, even though all modern PSUs are equipped with these cables. Despite two power connectors, it's sufficient to plug only one of them to a PSU.

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