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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

Closer Look: ASUS Radeon HD5870 V2

The ASUS EAH5870 v2 is a good example of how to focus on the basics of technology. The first generation products of any new technology are often over-designed in order to showcase the best parts, hide the bad parts, and ensure reliability. The reference designs for the ATI HD 5870 certainly fit this mold, featuring multiple state-of-the-art power controllers and a cooling assembly that only needed a 40% fan speed to handle the toughest GPU stress tests. The second generation EAH5870 started with a clean sheet of paper, and it really shows. We're going to take a closer look at what ASUS has accomplished here, and some details in the next section.


The first thing you notice with this video card is the oversized fan opening and the bold, red V-shaped accents on the black shroud. It should be obvious to any computer enthusiast today that bigger fans push more air with less noise, all else being equal. Those huge 200mm case fans really do work; it's not just an image thing. It's also a given that increasing clock speed and voltage for any GPU will increase heat generation within the chip, which has to be removed. So, if you're going to release a graphics card that is just begging to be overvolted and overclocked, it's a wise idea to bump up the cooling capacity, as well. The fan upgrade is an obvious enhancement, but ASUS didn't stop there; there's a surprise waiting under the shroud, as we'll see later.

The build quality of the ASUS card is very good. The heatsink-fan assembly is well thought out and executed perfectly. The cast aluminum frame that ties everything together is a complex part that is expensive to produce, and it provides a very stable mechanical structure for the entire card. Even if you press hard enough on the shroud to bend the outside shell, the metal skeleton inside keeps the PCB free from stress. Subjectively, you can feel the difference in rigidity with this card; it doesn't twist or bend at all.


In addition to the cooling changes, the ASUS EAH5870 v2 incorporates significant changes to the power supply, compared to the reference cards. The new design provides the muscle of the original HD 5870, but with a much simpler system of software voltage control and more conventional choices for the individual power components. The overall size of the card has been reduced, it's shorter by about half an inch, and this was achieved primarily by simplifying the power supply section. In contrast to a few other vendors, ASUS has not adopted DrMOS (Driver-MOSFET) VRM chips, which integrate three discrete power devices into a single chip and occupy half the space. We'll look at the VRM section in detail later, including the controller chip as well as the discrete power chips.


The PC board had excellent solder quality and precise component placement, as can be seen here. The component placement is quite good; this is the area on the back side of the board, directly below the GPU, and is one of the most crowded sections of the board. I've included a standard sewing pin in the photo below to show a sense of scale; the littlest components are just specks when viewed with the naked eye. By my estimate, it looks like you could fit two or three of those resistors on the head of a pin. This is one of the most critical sections of the PCB for build quality, as variations in stray capacitance here could impact the performance of the GPU, and certainly its overclocking ability.


I wasn't impressed by the amount of stray fibers stuck to the surface of the board. They're probably remnants of a brush that is used in the cleaning process, after the wave soldering step. I also saw some residue between components, which should have been removed by the same cleaning process. Manufacturers are under pressure to minimize the environmental impact of their operations, and cleaning processes have historically produced some of the most toxic industrial waste streams. The combination of eco-friendly solvents, lead-free solder, and smaller SMD components have made cleaning a lot more difficult than it used to be. Everyone in the idustry struggles with this, as it's hard to find a balance between cost, effectiveness, and ecological impact. As the old saying goes, "I can give you two out of three, no more."


The layout on the front and back of the printed circuit board is standard for a card in this class. Due to the simpler design, there are fewer components mounted on the back side than on a 5870 reference card, but the front side is just as crowded. The GPU cooler is mounted with four spring-loaded screws, and the help of a skeleton back plate. The black PCB was clean and shiny, with very little residue, aside from those brush fibers, and there was no visible evidence of rework.


The board is fed from two PCI-E power connectors exiting the rear of the card, breaking with the original reference design by replacing one of the 6-pin connections with an 8-pin. ASUS is not the first vendor to do this, but many have questioned the effectiveness of the move. The 6-pin PCI-E connection is highly underrated, at 75W each. Since the 8-pin connection is rated for 150W, I don't understand how 33% more pins give 100% more power. And BTW, the extra two pins are both for ground; there are still only three 12V+ pins, so it's really like 0% more pins providing 100% more power. The real capacity of a 6-pin connector is at least 100W, so there is at least 275 W available from the standard connector arrangement, well above the card's 188W maximum requirement.

What we're seeing is a design that makes use of the knowledge gained from six months of experience in the marketplace with the reference design. There isn't as much of a shift away from the basic elements of the reference design as we've seen with some other vendors. The changes are more evolutionary; a refining of the design rather than a redefining. We'll examine the impact of these design decisions in our testing section. For now, though, let's look at some of the components of the ASUS EAH5870 v2 in more detail.



# 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'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 - - 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 ( ) 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 -,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): **** 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???


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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