The new AMD Radeon HD 5870 will definitely be remembered for being the first DirectX 11 card as well as the fastest single-GPU card, and we must admit it performs excellent. As a matter of fact, occasional beating the dual-GPU Radeon HD 4870 X2 card is enough proof of what this card is capable of, and the improvement from the previous generation is obvious. Compared to the previous generation, AMD doubled the count of pretty much everything - shaders are now up to 1600, the ROP and texture units as well and the computing power is now well over 2 TFLOPs. And let's not forget the fact that if you're looking for an uncompromisingly fast DX11 card - this is currently the only choice you have.
Thankfully, AMD addressed the consumption issues with the previous generation, and the card consumes slightly over 20W in idle now. The maximum consumption of 188W isn't half bad either for a card of this calibre, but note that it's a still bit higher than on the previous generation.
XFX HD 5870 card comes with large dual slot cooling and you should know that it's 28cm long. The reference cooler comes with XFX's sticker on it, but the cooler itself does a good job without making excessive noise. With the card you'll recieve a coupon for Dirt 2, which should as we hear introduce some DX11 "tricks".
As you have seen, it's clearly faster than the Geforce GTX 285, and while some tests see it beat the dual-GPU ATI 4870 X2 card, the HD 5870's performance level is still below the HD 4870 X2's or GTX 295's. So, this card has what it takes to outrun the competition, as well as DirectX 11 up its sleeve - quite important for those who want an upgrade that will last a while.
When it comes to pricing, early birds will naturally have to pay some extra bucks and you can find it listed in etail stores at an average of €330 or $380. Some might decide to wait a few months for the price drops but if you don't mind the extra couple of bucks, we'd seriously advise you to grab one as soon as it's available, as the free Dirt 2 game makes it even more appealing.
The price is a tad steep for our taste ,but the upcoming Radeon 5850 is set to fix that. On the other hand, despite the fact that ATI is the first to come out with a DirectX 11 card, know that Nvidia isn't asleep either.
If you're looking for an upgrade, a future-proof one, then this DirectX 11 and currently the fastest single-GPU card on the market is the right choice. If you can't stand the wait, go for it and you definitely won't regret it.