|ATI Radeon HD5570 DX11 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Thursday, 11 February 2010|
Page 16 of 16
ATI Radeon HD5570 Conclusion
Looking at the performance of the ATI Radeon HD5570, you have to give up the idea that this is going to be a star gaming rig. In modern FPS games, it was just below 30 fps for all of the games we routinely test with, at the visual quality levels that we use for entry-level cards. Of course, as I showed in a couple of examples, it's possible to reduce the resolution or the quality levels down to where you can achieve stutter-free performance. Given that possibility, this card is actually practical as a multi-purpose solution for movies, videos, browsing, and light gaming on the big screen in the living room. The strength of the HD5570 lies in the fact that it can do all this while fitting into a low profile HTPC case and running quite cool. It's not silent, and the HD5450 pulls much less power, but aside from a music server application, I think most users are willing to make the tradeoff in order to get half-way decent gaming results. ATI is currently leading the game in image quality for HD video, and this small, low power board supports all the latest software enhancements that make those improved visuals possible. If you want that level of video performance AND a medium-rez gaming experience in the same HTPC box, this is the only product that can deliver.
The appearance of the HD5570 is pretty low key, compared to some of the more exotic gaming cards on the market. AIB partners will have the flexibility to implement their own cooling systems, but I don't expect any one of them to top this one for performance. The reference cooler doesn't represent the highest level of industrial art, like the Batmobile cooler on the 57xx and 58xx series, or the amazing red heatsink on the 5450; this one places function well ahead of form. The rest of the card is all business, front and back. I still look twice whenever I see a low profile card, as if something is wrong; the right place to appreciate its physical design is after it gets installed in a typical HTPC case, where it will look right at home.
The build quality of this Radeon HD5570 was quite good, for an engineering sample. The parts were all high quality, the soldering and component placement were to a high standard, and the cooling device was manufactured and assembled perfectly. I can't guarantee that production units will be this way, but my sample was assembled with high quality thermal interface material, which no doubt helped the card turn in its impressive temperature results.
The features of the HD5570 have been carried over in full measure from the very first HD58xx series: DirectX 11, Full ATI Eyefinity Support, ATI Stream Technology Support, DirectCompute 11 and OpenCL Support, HDMI 1.3a with Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio. Nothing was left out on this card, which is doubly important for a product that is designed to thrive in a multi-functional role. It provides a solid, future-proof HTPC experience, would be a huge upgrade for many systems still relying on IGP, and supports the latest graphics APIs, so that you can enjoy all the latest game titles.
ATI is aiming at a price point of $79 to $85 for the HD5500 series, depending on DRAM configuration, GPU specifications, and possibly the cooling solution. As of March 2010, NewEgg offers the PowerColor AX5570 for $75, while the XFX HD5570 sells for $80. Sapphire lists their Radeon HD 5570 for $85, and Gigabyte sells their reference version for $85.
This is a small price premium to pay for the performance that is available, but launch pricing is always a bit high, for obvious reasons. The only competition for this card is the old HD4650 or the 9600GT, which are available in low profile versions. The HD5570 beats them both on power and performance. We saw in our gaming tests that it takes an extra $50-70 to get better results with challenging titles and high quality settings, but the extra performance also buys you higher power requirements, more noise, more heat, and the inability to fit into a stylish, slim-line HTPC case.
The ATI Radeon HD5570 earns a Golden Tachometer Award for bringing "Redwood" class performance to a low profile form factor. There are definitely some buyers that absolutely want a low profile video card that can be used for a little gaming, preferably at 1080p resolution. They've got the latest 240Hz, 55" LCD in the living room, a sleek HTPC case off to the side, and they don't want a gaming console cluttering up the living room, thank you very much. Until now, those requirements were mutually exclusive, now there is a product which completely meets their needs.
+ Modern feature set
- High-end gaming titles need to be run at lower settings to avoid stutter
Final Score: 9.15 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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