Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Video Cards arrow ATI Radeon HD 5970 Hemlock Video Card

ATI Radeon HD 5970 Hemlock Video Card E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards
Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
ATI Radeon HD 5970 Hemlock Video Card
Radeon HD 5970 Features
ATI Eyefinity Multi-Monitors
ATI Radeon HD 5970 Closer Look
Video Card Testing Methodology
3DMark Vantage GPU Tests
BattleForge Performance
Crysis Warhead Tests
Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark
Far Cry 2 Benchmark
Resident Evil 5 Tests
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
Radeon HD 5970 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
Radeon 5000-Series Final Thoughts
ATI Radeon HD 5970 Conclusion

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



# the diffrenceJeff 2010-03-24 07:12
In my opinion. the diffrence between ATI and NVidia when it comes to gameing, is that NVidia seems to have alot of technical problems and games seem to crash every so often. With ATI the video card drivers and software can be more user friendly. the cards are outstanding in the performance and there are no problems when it comes to games, movies, etc. The best part of ATI, is Eye Finity.... Hopefully they can come up with a card that can hold the 3 screens, but dont have to order a dual link to DVI adapter off the internet... which seems to be the biggest problem for most people....
Report Comment
# Drivers Blow !!!Mike 2010-03-26 17:01
ATI's drivers are horrendous!! I have had nothing but problems with them. Tons of in game glitches and outright crashes and they are never optimized when a new game is released. It takes forever for them to address individual game issues ( see Batman Arkham Asylum and AA ). They might release a driver a month but I think all they do is change the version number and kick it out the door. If you really want bad drivers just run any of their 2x gpu cards then it gets even worse...

Jeff sounds like ATI employee at the very least.
Report Comment
# ... So Does Mike ;)EetMe 2010-04-10 09:59
ATI is clearly the "hardware" king-o-graphics/GPU's right now. Mike sounds like a poor-loser nv-fanboy. tough eh ?
Report Comment
# Fanboy at the LEASTRj 2010-04-13 07:17
Yes, fanboy at the least, or some dumbass that doens't know how to use a GPU lololol
Report Comment
# RE: ATI Radeon HD 5970 Hemlock Video CardFrostbite 2010-05-03 15:53
I still don't get why people complain about ATI's drivers. I keep up to date monthly and sometimes much longer periods before I do update, and I haven't had a single issue. Yeah, the games have crashed but hell, they did that to me back in 95. Learn how to keep your drivers in shape newbies, as I've yet to experience anything overly frustrating in this many years of ATI.
Report Comment
# ATI and NVIDIA both have issues.Olin Coles 2010-05-03 16:07
I've already pointed out problems with NVIDIA drivers here:
What I haven't pointed out is how NVIDIA drivers lack 60Hz support, and instead offers a lower 59Hz option. On the other hand, ATI delivers the full 60Hz experience, and Battlefield Bad Company 2 loads levels in only 10 seconds and not 62 like the latest Forceware driver. As I see it right now, ATI has an edge over NVIDIA drivers.
Report Comment
# IT guyDave 2010-05-07 07:48
I'm unsure if Mike understands how to correctly install the drivers for his GPU. The only time I've ever had issues with my 5970 is when USER error was involved. Yes I am human too. haha. If you are switching from Nvidia or if you wish to have a clean install use a product like Driver Sweep. Download the newest drivers from ATI first. Run Driver Sweep and remove the ATI drivers. For an extra layer of assurance uninstall your video drivers/hardware in safe mode as well, re boot and install the new drivers!! Easy cheesy! :-)
Report Comment
# Not 1 single problemRecon 2010-08-06 10:19
I have buy this card. And i love nv (always buy Nividia). But i was afread bugged drivers because i have see so many bad reviews its like the trying to rip off ati, however a friend buy this card. And i was like OMFG this can not be happening, Well see that beast in action i can not belive wat that thing can do. So i buy this card. So far not even 1 single crash. Perhaps people need to chill down and buy this card. Realy the love it when the have this card. If ati stay that way i will follow.
Report Comment
# RE: ATI Radeon HD 5970 Hemlock Video Cardmike 2010-08-22 21:12
Uh well my HIS HD4870 has major problems. Actually, I have two of them and they both exhibit the same problems. I can't even run MOH:AA without cat A.I. on at least low. Took me about 2 years to figure this out, so I went 2 years without playing one of all time favorite classic games. No one had an answer, including ATI. I also can't play the game with Vsync on, or my mouse becomes erratic. This does not happen on ANY other video card I've had, but does with both HD4870s. Add to this numerous other glitches and I've pulled all of my hair out over it the past couple of years. I don't know if this is a hardware issue with this particular model of card, or a driver issue, or both. I just hope, really hope that if I spend another 400 dollars on my next ATI card that I do not have these glaring issues.
Report Comment
# Ati Vs NvidiaRoy 2010-10-08 13:35
i always used to have an Nvidia card, but now it was time to change to an Ati card.
Ati has the best ones at this moment in my eyes.
i just bought an Sapphire Hd 5850 Toxic, it runs great, silence and it doesnt gets hot.

If you wanna buy an new graphics cards, then buy an ati, there the best now.
(ati is the cheapest and it wont use as much power as an nvidia as well atm)
Report Comment

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews

Like Benchmark Reviews on FacebookFollow Benchmark Reviews on Twitter