The following photo shows Sapphire HD 5870 card with large dual slot cooling.
Sapphire uses reference cooling and the only difference between this and reference cards is Sapphire's sticker. The card is 28cm which almost screams high end, as it's about 1cm longer than the HD 4870X2 card.
The cooler covers the front of the card, and the back of the card is hidden by the metal plate holding the cooling. The card looks really nice, and the red camp's efforts are obvious.
We really liked the combination of black matte plastic and no rough edges. As you can see, the openings reserved for ventilation look really nice, as well as the ATI-engraved top which will be visible even when the card is in place.
The following picture shows the power connectors - the card requires two 6-pin cables to run.
On the rear of the card you’ll find a metal plate for which we can’t say with certainty whether it helps in cooling the card, but it shields the PCB from potential damage and sure looks good. The following picture shows the graphics core. The Crossfire connectors kept their standard position and we already mentioned that 4 Cypress Eyefinity cards will allow for an impressive number of 24 monitors.
You won’t find memory modules underneath the plate as all 8 modules are placed on the GPU side of the PCB. The cooling is firmly fixed in its place with screws going through the PCB and into the metal plate.
The cooler stretches the entire length of the PCB and it's mostly made of copper. As you can see from the thermal paste prints, it leans on the memory and many other power components.
The combination of the heavy copper base, heatpipe technology and a large dissipation surface area on the aluminum fins helps the cooler to keep the card at about 80°C during operations. In extreme FurMark scenarios the card can hit up to 86°C, but while gaming it never exceeds 80°C.
Note however that we used the large CoolerMaster ATCS 840 case with a great airflow, but smaller and more cramped cases might result in higher temperatures. Idle temperatures were around 39°C. The fan does a good job and while it's not too loud, we'd still have liked if it could be quieter. Note that idle operation results in pretty low noise levels.
The I/O panel features two dual-link DVI outs as well as one HDMI and one DisplayPort out. This card will run up to three monitors at a time.
AMD did a good job on the power management circuitry and used two Voltera VT1165 MF Voltage controllers which can be controlled from software. The card draws power from two 6-pin power connectors.
The card uses new Samsung’s K4G10325FE-HC04 rated at 1250MHz (5000MHz GDDR5 effectively).
AMD's new Cypress GPU has 2154 million transistors and is made in 40nm.
If you decide on purchasing Sapphire's HD 5870, you'll get not one but two games - Battlestations Pacific and the coupon for Dirt 2 - which should shows some of the tricks DX11 will bring.