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Régis Jehl Published on May 26, 2011
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  • Chip Hemlock
  • GPU frequency 725 MHz
  • Memory quantity 2 GB
  • Memory type GDDR5
  • Memory frequency 1000 MHz
  • Cooler Double-decker
The Radeon HD 5970 is the top-of-the range graphics card in AMD's HD 5000 series. With two built-in graphics chips, it's a power-packed card for hardcore users, as well as a high-end flagship model for the brand. However, this type of card often has a high power consumption and can be very noisy.

Size, Noise and Heat

What a piece of kit! This is no doubt what a lot of gamers are saying when they first get their hands on this model. At 31 cm and weighing 1.2 Kg, AMD really has gone to town with the HD 5970. The cooling system is of course a double-decker heatsink.

The fan is already quite loud when the card is idle. It's not too annoying at 40.6 dB(A), but it's not exactly quiet either. In 3D mode, it quickly gets out of hand, rising to an intolerable 60.1 dB(A). If you're gaming around others, they'll soon get sick of you.

As far as temperature goes, we didn't note a significant rise in heat output compared with the previous generation. We're talking 47°C in idle (surfing the web, for example) and 107°C when gaming.

Power Consumption

AMD claims that power consumption of its Radeon HD 5000s is well contained when the card is idle. We got readings of 122 watts in 2D, which is a lot better than the Radeon HD 4870 X2 (146 watts). In intense 3D gaming this shoots up to 497 W! That's a 50 watt improvement on the old model. Power is supplied by one 8-pin and one 6-pin PCI-E connector.

Gaming Performance

One of the advantages of twin-GPU processors is high performances that can be sustained over long periods of time. Even the recent GeForce GTX 580 can't match this Radeon HD 5970, which is only out-done by the very latest twin-GPU cards like the GeForce GTX 590 and Radeon HD 6990.

Average performance.
Click on the image to see all our readings
and compare this model with other graphics cards.

With performances like this, you can play all the latest games without having to worry about turning down the resolution, graphics detail or switching to 2D!

Graphics Cards: Performance Index Tables
The card at a glance
For our test, we used an HIS Radeon HD 5970. It has the same spec at the ATI reference card, with the same clock speeds and heatsink: the only difference is the HIS sticker. Connectivity is also standard with the two DVI outs and a mini DisplayPort.

The card comes with a fairly ample bundle. There's a voucher for Colin McRae DiRT 2 and a small toolkit (Gamer's Tool Kit) with a screwdriver and a small dust brush. Different adaptors are also included: mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort, DVI to HDMI, DVI to VGA and Molex to PCI-E (x2). Finally there's also a CD and a set-up guide.


  • Very good performance
  • Low power consumption when idle
  • DirectX 11 compatibility


  • Bulky
  • Noisy


This is a monster graphics card that still offers high-power performance after a few years on the market. You will, however, have to put up with a certain amount of noise, not to mention a huge power consumption.
4 AMD Radeon HD 5970 2 GB DigitalVersus 2011-05-26 00:00:00
Compare: AMD Radeon HD 5970 2 GB to its competitors
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