|ATI Radeon HD 5970 Hemlock Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 18 November 2009|
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ATI Radeon HD 5970 Hemlock Review
ATI now dominates the graphics industry with their DirectX 11 Radeon HD 5000-series video cards, which allows them to enjoy current-generation gaming on Windows 7 and Vista. The ATI Radeon HD 5870 has already beat the worn and weathered GeForce GTX 285, just as the Radeon HD 5850 and HD5770 do at their respective price points. By combining two Cypress XT GPUs together on one PCB, the ATI Radeon HD 5970 video card will now compete against the very best NVIDIA can offer: the GeForce GTX 295. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the 'unlocked' Hemlock GPU against the top graphics products available and demonstrates just how much ground AMD has gained in a few short months.
After years of leading the industry, NVIDIA has finally succumbed defeat to ATI. The back and forth battle between chip makers has seen Radeon top GeForce, and then GeForce top Radeon. This time, though, it has a lasting affect. When ATI launched the Radeon HD 5000 series in September (2009) they released a level of graphics product that NVIDIA was unprepared for. On the same day that ATI claimed the top end, NVIDIA responded by redefining the bottom end, and launch the GeForce 200 (a discrete video card with graphics power so low it competes with integrated graphics). Even two months later as the top-end Radeon HD 5970 launches, NVIDIA fires back with another low end alternative: the GeForce GT 240. From the reports, it won't be until February 2010 before NVIDIA launches their 40nm Fermi architecture. Even then, DirectX 11 support is unconfirmed.
Long before the 'Hemlock' is tested on its first benchmark, gamers really want to know if the ATI Radeon HD 5970 is simply a convenient package for two Radeon HD 5850's in CrossFire. The specifications might make it appear that way, but AMD has designed the HD5970 to overclock up-to and beyond the HD5870 specifications. So for those willing to push the Hemlock GPU further, the HD5970 could perform better than two HD5870's in CrossFire. Power efficient improvements are meant to reduce electrical draw, intended to make the HD5970 a more energy-efficient solution.
AMD has launched the Radeon 5000-series as their first assault on the multi-monitor ATI Eyefinity Technology feature, using native HDMI 1.3 output paired with DisplayPort connectivity. The new Cypress GPU features the latest ATI Stream Technology, which is designed to utilize DirectCompute 5.0 and OpenCL code. These new features improve all graphical aspects of the end-user experience, such as faster multimedia transcode times and better GPGPU compute performance. AMD has already introduced a DirectCompute partnership with CyberLink, and the recent Open Physics Initiative with Pixelux promises to offer physics middleware built around OpenCL and Bullet Physics. This looks like ATI's recipe for success, since NVIDIA does not have a GPU to compete against the Radeon 5800 series or support DirectX 11. It doesn't help matters any that NVIDIA GPUs do not support OpenCL and DirectCompute 11 environments, leaving them out in the cold for the coming winter months.
From these developments ATI has distanced themselves ahead of NVIDIA by placing gamers first in their consideration, and have positioned the ATI 5000-series to introduce enthusiasts to a new world of DirectX 11 video games on the Microsoft Windows 7/Vista Operating Systems. While most hardware enthusiasts are familiar with the back-and-forth competition between these two leading GPU chip makers, it might come as a surprise that NVIDIA actually remarked that DirectX 11 video games won't fuel video card sales, and have instead decided to revolutionize the military with CUDA technology. Perhaps we're seeing the evolution of two companies: NVIDIA transitions to the industrial sector and departs the enthusiast gaming space, while ATI successfully answers retail consumer demand.
ATI is the graphics brand from AMD, and designs top-to-bottom discrete graphics processors that deliver outstanding 3D gaming performance; an immersive multimedia experience; and break-through energy efficiency. Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) is an innovative technology company dedicated to collaborating with customers and technology partners to ignite the next generation of computing and graphics solutions at work, home and play. For more information, visit http://www.amd.com/.