|ATI Radeon HD5670 HDMI Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Thursday, 14 January 2010|
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Closer Look: Radeon HD5670
The HD5670 breaks with the general design of the previous HD5xxx cards. For one thing, the reference design is a single slot unit, which is a first for the Radeon HD5xxx series, and for DirectX 11. The card is only 170 mm long, which means it will fit into any case without an issue. It's quite small, and a simple, straightforward design, externally. The thing that makes it interesting, and worth testing is that pint-sized 40nm GPU hidden below decks. Keep in mind during this review, that there will be some variation in offerings by ATI's partners. Dual-slot coolers, 1GB v. 512MB, different I/O connections, are all open to interpretation by the supplier.
The red blower wheel on the reference cooler is quite different on this card, more of an inclined paddle wheel than the squirrel cage blower on the beefier 5xxx cards. It pushes air through a rather small, finned heatsink block that sits on top of the GPU, and out into the case. I don't see any evidence of heatpipe style construction, and it's probably not necessary, given the low power involved. With an idle power consumption of 14W, heat buildup in the case is not likely to be an issue. Those heatsink-style posts over the DRAM modules are there for show, really; as is the "Hot" sticker on the side...
The connections on the rear of the card are arranged quite differently on this single slot offering, as well. From left to right: one DisplayPort, one HDMI and one DVI connector - one for everyone.
There will be some flexibility in the I/O port arrangement for ATI partners, so pay attention to the product specs when you buy, as it can be hard to tell the HDMI and DisplayPort connections apart with a casual glance. Some units will also be shipped with a VGA connector displacing the DisplayPort, like this.
The back of the Radeon HD5770 is filled with little surface-mount-technology components, which is normal for a card in this market segment. The main feature to be seen here are the metal cross-brace for the GPU heatsink screws, which are spring loaded, and connect to threaded standoffs under the blower assembly on the front side of the card. Also, note the absence of back side DRAM for the 512MB version of the card.
For most high-end video cards, the cooling system is an integral part of the performance envelope for the card. Make it run cooler, and you can make it run faster was always the byword for achieving gaming-class performance from the latest and greatest GPU. The HD5670 is a mainstream video card with a very small GPU die, so even though it will be pushed to maximum performance levels by most potential customers, there just aren't enough transistors there to produce a lot of heat. To top it off, they're from the same process technology that is used on the larger 5xxx series cards, which have proven to be exceedingly efficient, with very little waste heat generation. What little heat there is will all come out here, at the back end of the cooler housing.
That's all there really is to see on the outside, so let's peel back the covers and have a good look around on the inside.