Review: It's DirectX 11 time
Today, we give you Sapphire HD 5870 graphics card which apart from good performance, has something else to bring to the table - DirectX 11. This card's ticker is called Cypress, and it belongs to AMD's Evergreen family of products. With this card, AMD has opened the doors to DirectX 11, Windows 7 and games which will be played with this lethal combination (which are currently seriously scarce).
The new graphics card runs at 850MHz core and 1200MHz for the memory (4800MHz GDDR5 effectively). The Cypress GPU features a complex architecture with 2.15 billion transistors, whereas the HD 4890 has 959 million. Thanks to the 40nm process, the die on the new card measures 338mm, which isn't much larger than the 282mm old one. The shaders got a boost from 800 (HD4890) to 1600 (HD 5870) thanks to a significant number of added transistors.
The HD 5870 features 32 ROP units, double the amount found on the HD 4870. Texture units have been doubled as well and the HD 5870 features 80, and the computing power jumped from 1.2 TFLOPs to 2.72 TFLOPs as well.
So, Cypress is a high-end DirectX 11 single-GPU graphics card, but as we've come to expect from graphics companies, dual-GPU versions of the HD 5870 codenamed Hemlock or HD 5870 X2 will follow. Although Radeon HD 5850 launched as well, more samples of this slightly slower DX11 card will be available in about one week.All the following DX11 card are in Evergreen family of products, and the codenames are as follows: Cedar, Redwood, Juniper, Cypress and Hemlock (ordered from the bottom to the top).
ATI’s HD 5870 1GB version comes with GDDR5 memory, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort, and is priced at around $399 or €320 (VAT incl.) in EU. The 2GB version of Cypress and Eyefinity version will end up pricier, but they’re definitely good deals compared to Nvidia’s GT200 or Radeon 48x0 cards.
Juniper cards are expected in this quarter and should be priced below $199 whereas Cedar and Redwood, which should be out by the end of 2009, should bring DX11 support to the sub-$100 segment. The only problem for AMD is the fact that there are no DirectX 11 games on the market currently, which would’ve boosted Evergreen sales significantly. Of course, you’ll find many musle-hungry DX9, DX10 and DX10.1 titles that can put Cypress to good use, but investing a reasonable amount of cash for a bright DX11 future isn’t a bad deal at all.
AMD didn’t only focus its efforts towards doubling the performance, but paid attention to power consumption as well, so the new card doesn’t consume much more than its predecessor despite the performance increase and and doubled components. The HD 5870’s maximum consumption is 188W, whereas the HD 4870 consumed up to 160W. AMD finally addressed the idle consumption, and the company claims that HD 5870 requires only 27W.
Those who have been following this card know that it comes with Eyefinity technology, which allows for more than two monitors on one card. The HD 5870 features two dual-link DVI outs, one HDMI and one Display port. So technically, you can use a large 7680x3200 resolution split across monitors. The HD 5870 Eyefinity edition will have six DisplayPort outs but the real treat is a mere thought of quad Crossfire and support for up to 24 monitors.