AMD's ATI Radeon HD 5670 Review

AMD brings DX11 down to the sub-$100 level today with the launch of the ATI Radeon HD 5670. This new video card marks DX11’s entrance into the low-end realm, but does it have the performance needed to use the special DX11 features like Tessellation in games? We run this video card through its paces and use DiRT 2 to find this out. We also compare to the GeForce GT 240 and Radeon HD 5750.

Introduction

Another month and another AMD video card launch. You just can’t stop these guys, AMD certainly has had a plan in place with the new Radeon HD 5000 series, and it shows. AMD has been keeping a tight schedule of video card launches ever since their next generation GPU was launched in September of 2009. Since then, there have been no less than five video cards released ranging from $109 to $599. Today, AMD almost completes their entire lineup for this generation by introducing their $99 DX11 video card. After this launch only the ultra low-end video cards, at the bottom of the performance totem pole, remain to be launched next month. Today’s launch of the ATI Radeon HD 5670 makes AMD the first to offer sub $100 DX11 features in a video card.

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This slide should be old hat by now, we’ve seen ever video card on here released so far except for Redwood and Cedar. Redwood is the codename for the new Radeon HD 5670 GPU being released today at the $100 mark, or specifically $99 just so they can claim it is under $100. Next month we will see Cedar released, but those ultra low-end GPUs are probably not of much interest to many of our readers looking at gaming performance.

ATI Radeon HD 5670 Specifications

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The new ATI Radeon HD 5670 in a nutshell supports everything all the other video cards above it do, and even supports an additional Eyefinity feature. This additional feature is native support in the ASIC for 4-display ATI Radeon Eyefinity support. That is correct; this video card supports in hardware a Quad-Display Eyefinity configuration. However, this feature is not supported at launch, with 3-Displays being the max configuration for now until a driver update. Also, you will need add-in-board partners to support appropriate display outputs to allow Quad-Display Eyefinity. In order to utilize four displays you must use a combination of DisplayPort, DVI and VGA connections. Yes, you can in fact do Eyefinity with a VGA connection. These output configurations will be up to the manufacturer, so you will want to keep an eye out for these models. Though these configurations are supported, obviously performance will be affected with this lesser performing video card. AMD labs is using 3x1600x900, which is a 20" display, for their Eyefinity testing in house with this video card, so that gives you an idea of the target Eyefinity configuration.

The Radeon HD 5670 fully supports all DX11 features and every feature of the Radeon HD 5700 and HD 5800 series. Think of this video card as simply a cut down version of the Radeon HD 5700 series. You will find 400 Stream Processors on board clocked at 775MHz. There will be 512MB and 1GB versions available on a 128-bit memory bus using GDDR5 at 4GHz. The 512MB model will sell for $99 and the 1GB model will be slightly higher.

As you would expect with this series, power utilization is low, with idle power at 14W. It should also be noted that in Eyefinity idle power utilization will be higher, a dual-display configuration will consume 26W at idle, this will be the same for three or four displays as well. This is because the memory must run at stock speeds and cannot be downclocked in a multi-display configuration. Full load power is a low 61W.

The target video card for comparison to the competition will be the GeForce GT 240 512MB model.

The ATI Radeon HD 5670

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The ATI Radeon HD 5670 is fairly small, measuring in at 6.5 inches it is half an inch shorter than the Radeon HD 5750. Notice that no auxiliary power connector is required either, it completely operates off of the PCI-Express bus’s power. The heatsink is light, and does exhaust air into the case. Though our sample card does not have the connectors, CrossFire is fully supported. In fact, you may not need them at all as this card can operate without CrossFire connectors, across the PCIe bus.