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Written by Bruce Normann   
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS Radeon EAH5870 V2 Video Card
Radeon HD 5870 GPU Features
ASUS EAH5870 V2 Features
ASUS EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5/V2 Specifications
Closer Look: ASUS Radeon HD5870 V2
Detailed Features: ASUS EAH5870 V2
Video Card Testing Methodology
3DMark Vantage Benchmarks
Crysis Benchmark Results
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Benchmark Results
Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark
Aliens Vs. Predator DX11 Benchmark Results
Far Cry 2 Benchmarks
Resident Evil 5 Benchmarks
Unigine - Heaven Benchmarks
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Benchmarks
ASUS EAH5870 V2 Temperature
VGA Power Consumption
Radeon HD 5870 Final Thoughts
ASUS EAH5870 V2 Conclusion

Detailed Features: ASUS EAH5870 V2

With 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 has been the byword for achieving gaming-class performance with all the latest and greatest GPUs. The ASUS EAH5870 v2 uses a fairly standard GPU cooler design that is similar to the reference design, but it contains some enhancements, some more visible than others.

ASUS_EAH5870v2_Video_Card_HSF_Shroud_01.jpg

Three large diameter heatpipes pass directly over the GPU die and then spread to the outer reaches of the fin assembly. It's obvious to see, but the entire fin assembly is constructed from copper, which is a significant performance upgrade from the typical set of aluminum fins. Two of the heatpipes are 8mm diameter and the shortest one, that is also closest to the blower wheel, is 6mm. ASUS does not use the direct contact method here; instead a thin copper plate is what interfaces directly with the top of the GPU. Considering the power density of modern GPU devices, it makes sense to contact every square millimeter of the top surface with the heatsink if you can. I shake my head in wonder when I see 5-pipe direct-contact designs where the outer two pipes don't contact the GPU at all!

ASUS_EAH5870v2_Video_Card_IO_End_34_02.jpg

The air all flows in one direction, from the front of the card towards the rear and then out the rear vents, for the most part. There are several relief vents cut into the shroud, but the majority of the heated air exits out the back of the case. I always check to see how much air is exiting the case while I'm benchmarking, and to see how hot it is. The ASUS EAH5870 v2 makes good use of the larger vent on the back plate, made possible by the deletion of the second DVI port, which most of the other cards squeeze in. This design, even more than the reference cards, is well suited to multi-card CrossFireX applications.

ASUS_EAH5870v2_Video_Card_HSF_Plate_01.jpg

The GPU makes contact with a copper block that is soldered to the three heatpipes passing directly over the top of the GPU. The thermal interface material (TIM) was evenly distributed by the factory, but was still piled on thicker than necessary. Excess TIM can cover up sloppy assembly methods, but for the most part I've only seen even distributions that indicate a certain amount of care was used to mate the two surfaces. The TIM was applied to the top surface of the GPU and then spread out once the HSF was mounted. For a thorough discussion of best practices for applying TIM, take a look here.

The memory chips and all the power transistors that make up the business end of the VRM are all cooled by contact with the large aluminum frame that holds everything in place. Two smaller voltage regulators, which are rated for 2 amps each, get linked in as well. Thermal tape makes up the difference in heights between all the individual chips and provides for a pretty foolproof assembly process. Various sections of the plate are cut out to provide clearance for the taller components on the PCB and to provide spot ventilation.

ASUS_EAH5870v2_Video_Card_uP_PWM_Controllers.jpg

The main power supply controller chip used on the ASUS EAH5870 V2 is a UP6208AM chip, a 12-phase PWM control IC that supports I2C software voltage control, just like the more expensive Volterra chips used on the reference 5870 boards. In this application, ASUS is using seven of the twelve available phases to provide 6-phase power to the GPU and a single phase for the DRAM. There are also two other uP6205 controllers to generate VDDCI and MVDDC, and a couple of uP7704 2A linear regulators included for supplying some smaller loads on the board.

ASUS_EAH5870v2_Video_Card_MOSFETS2.jpg

The ASUS EAH5870 v2 uses standard LFPAKTMpackaging for the MOSFET power transistors and drivers in the VRM section. This discrete implementation gives up the opportunity to save space, but it does provide the designer a broader choice in component selection, compared to a DrMOS design. The 6030AL devices installed here can source a whopping 79A at an ambient temp of 20C, and are downgraded to 56A at 100C.

ASUS_EAH5870v2_Video_Card_Samsung_Memory.jpg

The memory choice for the ASUS EAH5870 V2 video card is consistent with the HD 58xx reference designs. The basic HD 5870 specs only require 1200 MHz chips for the memory, but most cards have been using these Samsung K4G10325FE-HC04 GDDR5 parts, which are designed for up to 1250 MHz. Only a few folks have successfully overclocked this RAM above 1300 MHz, but meeting its rated spec of 1250 is generally a cakewalk, an easy upgrade from the stock speed of 1200 MHz. Since the SmartDoctor software supplied with this Voltage Tweak edition doesn't have the capability to modify memory voltage, don't presume that you will get more than the rated memory speed.

We've spent a lot of time in this review on the board design, because we've seen a lot of variation in the 2nd generation HD 5870 cards that ATI partners are releasing lately. The first cards on the market were all reference designs, and even some of the early custom cards from ATI AIB partners, like the Sapphire Radeon HD5870 Vapor-X we reviewed last November, used the reference PCB with all of its electronic design features intact. Now that we've examined some of the unique features and details of this latest generation card from ASUS, let's put the EAH5870/V2 to the test in the next major section of our review.



 

Comments 

 
# Excellent reviewAdos 2010-06-16 09:05
Excellent review, one of the best I have ever red on a graphics card. Perfectly examined power section, built quality, overclockability. Do you think will I be able to run this card overclocked in my system? I think it would be ok, but maybe wee bit close to maximum for my powersuply. I run QX9650 at 3.5 GHZ (10.5 x 333 on Gigabyte mATX G31 ESL2 board, 2x2GB DDR2 corsair DHX, and the most important - PSU Enermax MODU82+ II 525W with 3x12V 25 amps on each but 40 amps maximum combined. Thank you for your opinion. And once more what a GREAT REVIEW!!!
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# Thanks.Bruce Normann 2010-06-16 11:32
Thanks for the positives...it's always appreciated. Your Enermax is an excellent PSU, and it should do the job. My only concern is if you are doing Folding or Benchmarks all the time. Even then, the total PSU load will probably stay under 400W.

BTW, I was reading that one of the 12V rails is dedicated to a single PCI-E connector, while the other two are sharing the current between PCI-e and the MOLEX and SATA connectors, so verify that and use the dedicated connection if you can.
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# Also....Bruce Normann 2010-06-16 14:12
The ASUS EAH5870 V2 comes with an adapter cable to convert two 6-pin PCI-e cable to one 8-pin connector. If you use this adapter, you will be spreading the load on all three rails.
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# Thank you!Ados 2010-06-16 18:03
Thank you very much for quick reply and advice. Much appreciate it. Just to clarify things, here is a picture of 12V rails layout - ##anandtech.com/show/2487/6 - so considering that I have two graphics sockets connectors on the PSU and two cables to connect them to of which one of the cable has only one 6+2 pin connector and the other cable has 2x 6+2 pin connectors I should plug the 6+2 pin connector to outer one dedicated graphics power socket on the PSU and the second cable with 2x 6+2 pin connectors to the inner graphics power socket and then spread that output by using and included adapter to convert those 2x 6+2 pin cable to 1x8 pin cable to spread the load properly, right? But I wont be probably spreading the output on all three rails anyway because one 12V rail according to the pictures in the link is probably dedicated to CPU only. Am I correct? Thank you for your seamless advice and help.
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# Or the otherwayAdos 2010-06-16 18:31
When I looked at that picture with power distribution on 12V rails again ( ##anandtech.com/show/2487/6 ) I think all what is needed is actually connect that 2x 6+2 pin cable to inner graphics power sockets on the PSU because I think its obvious that that one combines both 12V2 and 12V3 rails and then just plug that 2x 6+2 pin cable to the graphics card. What do you think?
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# Looked CloserBruce Normann 2010-06-16 20:36
Your right, each red connector on the PSU has both rails contained in it. 12V2 is dedicated to the grphics cards only. It's the one with the yellow sleeve on the internal wiring, and when you plug the connector in, on the outside of the unit, it will be the set of wires closest to the edge. I would use that for the 8-pin connection, and the other set (12V3) for the 6-pin.
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# re: Looked CloserAdos 2010-06-16 22:49
I think only the inner red connector has both 12V2 and 12V3 rails and to that one I will plug that cable which splits into two 6+2 pin PIC-e cables. Enermax did a good job marking the wires on that cable so its obvious which one of two 6+2 pin connectors will use the 12V2 and which 12V3 and as you said I will use the 6+2 pin on 12V2 to power the 8pin on the card and the another 6+2 pin will use 12V3 and I will plug it to 6pin on the card. BTW: I am going to use this card in this mATX case - ##tomshardware.com/reviews/4-barebone-cases-compared,1901-5.html - its so smartly designed that it can take even such a long card even with connector placed where they are on that card. Sorry for any confusions and thank you very much for your time and effort as well as for prompt replies and advices. Thanks to the discussion with you I understand it now and have the correct idea how to plug that card into my PSU in the best way possible. Wish you all the best in whatever you do! :-]
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# RE: ASUS Radeon EAH5870 V2 Video CardxGreg 2010-06-16 18:59
Bruce Excellent review.

I just bought this card (After reading your review), but now I'm VERY worried about if my power supply (Corsair VX550W) can handle this card...

My System:

Q9650 Stock
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P
2x2GB DDR2 1066MHZ OCZ Reaper Series
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB
Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB
Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB
Zalman 9700NT
Antec 900 (4 Fans 120mm, 1 Fan 200mm)

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
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# I wouldn't worryBruce Normann 2010-06-16 20:40
I actually own one of these, and it is rock solid. Even theough it is not modular, it has the exact cables you need for this graphics card, one 6-pin and one 6+2 pin. Check out the review on jonnyguru.
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# RE: I wouldn't worryxGreg 2010-06-17 23:52
Thank you for you answer.

You said maximum power draw of this card is 265 (395-130) watts when running full out. What do you mean with 395 watts? Total System Power Consumption?

Maybe the power supply will work too forced? Or Maybe will work too forced if I overclock my CPU and Graphic Card?

Perhaps it will reduce the life of the power supply? I've been told when used heavily or over an extended period of time (1+ years) a power supply will slowly lose some of its initial wattage capacity.

My PSU is two years old, and I use it 24/7.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
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# Total System PowerBruce Normann 2010-06-18 06:46
The entire system used a total 395 watts of power from the wall receptacle while running FurMark. This is an extreme load for the video card, and you would not see that kind of sustained load while gaming.

What are you running on the PC during the 24/7? Is it just idling most of the time, or are you running applications that put a significant load on the PC?

At 80% load, your PSU will probably only last 10 years.....just a guess.
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# RE: Total System PowerxGreg 2010-06-18 16:37
Hello again Bruce, and thank you for your answer. I really appreciate it.

And Yes, Is it just idling most of the time. However, I play games almost every night and weekends. Very Demanding games like Bad Company 2 for example.

I have another question about your review. Does the CPU is also in full load? Or is it just the graphics card?

I've been thinking, and I think my supply might not be sufficient in the near future, when I change my current processor for an i7 or add a sound card, etc.. Am I right?

I dont know whether to buy a new psu or stay with the one I have.

What would you do if you were in my situation??
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# Your Upgrade PathBruce Normann 2010-06-19 22:01
Well, if I was on an upgrade path like what you describe, I would probably start looking for a good deal on a Corsair HX 850. In the mean time, why don't you buy one of the KILL A WATT power meters, and try stressing your system with Furmark and OCCT? They are only about $25... Then you will KNOW what your VX550 is up against. OCCT will print graphs of all the major system voltages (12V, 5V, 3.3V...) and you will see for yourself if it is holding up at the highest possible loads for YOUR system, not someone else's.

You can recoup some of your costs by selling the VX550, as it has a very good reputation.
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# RE: Your Upgrade PathxGreg 2010-06-20 19:17
Hello again Bruce.

I'n going to buy a new PSU, and will be a Corsair HX750 from Amazon. I think a Corsair HX850 is too much (Power and Price lol), unless I get $ 20 extra.

Thank you for everything ;)
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# Alternative PSUBruce Normann 2010-06-16 20:55
BTW, for anyone who absolutely cannot power this, or any other powerful card (Fermi, Cough Cough!).... Thermaltake makes a neat PCI-e only (12V DC) power supply that fits in two 5.25" bays and provides 650 watts just to the graphics card(s): ****thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?C=1265&ID=1544 It has modular connections, so cable management is good, too. Folks mainly use it for building dedicated folding machines, where they run quad-SLI.
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# Will this card support 3 MonitorLAMCS 2010-12-19 14:11
Will this card supported 3 monitor???

EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5/V2

what does it meant of 2DIS-----> is that meant will just support 2 monitor???
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# RE: Will this card support 3 MonitorOlin Coles 2010-12-19 14:20
If they are all DisplayPort models, you can connect three monitors. Otherwise, this video card will not support three DVI monitors.
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# good upgrade?douwe 2010-12-30 03:33
hey guys i just have to ask what you guys think

atm i am running my system with a eah4870/512mb dk edition

wil it show a good increase in performance??
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# RE: good upgrade?Olin Coles 2011-01-01 10:09
The 5870 will show a tremendous increase in performance over the 4870... but if you read the reviews you would already know that.
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