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REVIEW / AMD Radeon HD 5870 1 GB

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Régis Jehl Published on May 25, 2011
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  • Chip Cypress XT
  • GPU frequency 850 MHz
  • Memory quantity 1 GB
  • Memory type GDDR5
  • Memory frequency 1200 MHz
  • Cooler Double-decker
The Radeon HD 5870 was the first DirectX 11 graphics card on the market. It claims very high-level 3D performance, better control over power consumption and lower temperatures. Does it deliver?

Size, Noise and Heat

The Radeon HD 5870 is a large card. It measures no less than 28 cm, so you'll have to make sure your computer casing is big enough to house it. Its double-decker cooler is also fairly heavy, bringing the weight up to 960 g, that's 200 g heavier than the previous generation of cards.

Noise levels have improved, though you couldn't exactly call the cooler quiet. At 39.7 dB(A) in 2D, it's audible, though fairly muffled and not too annoying. In 3D, however, the fan ramps up and levels reach a high 56.7 dB(A). Forewarned is forearmed: it may be a nuisance for the people around you.

The overheating problem has been greatly improved since the 4000 series. The chip remains lukewarm at idle (35°C) and heats up to 88°C under full load.

Power Consumption

This model has really done wonders in this department. With an 93-watt power draw at idle, it's 50 watts more efficient than the previous generation and 10 watts more efficient than the GeForce GTX 285, which is already a very economical card. And the performance holds up, with only a 327-watt draw during 3D activity. That's quite an accomplishment considering the card's high framerates during gameplay. Note that this graphics card uses two 6-pin PCI-E connectors.

Gaming Performance

Although it's getting quite old now, the Radeon HD 5870 can still hold its own compared with new generations of graphics card. In terms of performance, it's comparable to the NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti or the Radeon HD 6950.

Tt hd 5870
Performance average.
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and compare this model with other graphics cards.

This card's performance levels are good enough for breezing through 2011 games without too much trouble, even on a high-definition monitor.

Graphics Cards: Performance Index Tables

The card at a glance
For our tests, we used a stock card supplied by AMD. The cooler is the standard double-decker model and rear connectivity comprises two DVI outs, a DisplayPort connector and an HDMI out.

We like the fact that the HDMI out can bitstream DTS-HD MA and Dolby Digital True HD audio. Note that it's possible to extend the display onto two, three or four monitors and increase the overall resolution (the Eyefinity function).

In a race game, with three screens, you have the windscreen view on the centre screen and the driver's and passenger's windows on the other two displays. In a shooter game, your viewing angles are extended - you can really see what's happening around the sides of your character. Note that to use Eyefinity, at least one of your monitors needs to have a DisplayPort connector.


  • Good 3D gaming performance, even at high resolution
  • Low power consumption
  • Low noise and heat at idle
  • DirectX 11 compatibility


  • Bulky


This is a graphics card with top-flight performance. We especially like its low power consumption at idle. This card will please hardcore gamers who are also looking for an energy-efficient option.
3 AMD Radeon HD 5870 1 GB DigitalVersus 2011-05-25 00:00:00
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