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Sapphire HD 5670 1GB GDDR5 Review

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Dawn of War II

Dawn of War II (DX9)



Even though Dawn of War II has its own in-game benchmarking tool, we decided not to use it. Instead, we played through approximately 10 minutes of the final Sapce Marine mission “Last Stand” while recording framerates with FRAPS. With a massive amount of enemies rushing your position and additional troops deployed on your side, this mission features some of the largest battles in the single player game. In addition, since the Tyranid swarms appear at regular intervals, this mission is also perfect for comparison testing.

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SKYMTL

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DiRT 2 (DX9)

DiRT 2 (DX9)



Being one of the newest games on the market, DiRT 2 cuts an imposing figure in terms of image quality and effects fidelity. We find that to benchmark this game the in-game tool is by far the best option. However, due to small variances from one race to another, three benchmark runs are done instead of the normal two. It should also be mentioned that the demo version of the game was NOT used since after careful testing, the performance of the demo is not reflective of the final product.

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SKYMTL

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DiRT 2 (DX11)

DiRT 2 (DX11)


Being one of the newest games on the market, DiRT 2 cuts an imposing figure in terms of image quality and effects fidelity. We find that to benchmark this game the in-game tool is by far the best option. However, due to small variances from one race to another, three benchmark runs are done instead of the normal two. It should also be mentioned that the demo version of the game was NOT used since after careful testing, the performance of the demo is not representative of the final product.

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins


To benchmark Dragon Age, we used a simple walkthrough coupled with a short combat sequence. The benchmark run begins with a walk through one of the most demanding scenes we have come across in the game so far: the walk over the bridge and through Ostagar. This is followed by a combat sequence outside of the fortress itself. In total the runthrough takes about 6 minutes.

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SKYMTL

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Far Cry 2 (DX9)

Far Cry 2 (DX9)



Even though Far Cry 2 has its own built-in benchmarking tool with some flythroughs and “action scenes”, we decided to record our own timedemo consisting of about 7 minutes of game time. It involves everything from run-and-gun fights to fire effects. The built-in benchmarking too was then set up to replay the timedemo and record framerates

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
13,410
Location
Montreal
Far Cry 2 (DX10)

Far Cry 2 (DX10)



Even though Far Cry 2 has its own built-in benchmarking tool with some flythroughs and “action scenes”, we decided to record our own timedemo consisting of about 7 minutes of game time. It involves everything from run-and-gun fights to fire effects. The built-in benchmarking too was then set up to replay the timedemo and record framerates

1680 x 1050





1920 x 1200



 

SKYMTL

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Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2


For benching Left 4 Dead 2, we used a pre-recorded 6 minute timedemo taken on the hectic Atrium level. Framerates were captured with FRAPS.

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Obviously there is something wrong with the HD 5000 series driver in this game since no matter how many times it was repeated, the results were the same with the HD 4770 beating the pants off of the much faster HD 5750. Let's hope ATI can get this one figured out in record time.
 
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SKYMTL

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Heat & Acoustics / Power Consumption

Heat & Acoustics


For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at it highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Vista desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.



While we might rib on Sapphire a bit for their use of a dual slot heatsink on an extremely efficient card, we really can’t fault them too much considering the temperatures this thing returns. It’s simply the coolest, quietest running card we have come across in a long, long time. Simply amazing.


Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well. Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.


Efficiency is where ATI’s 5000 series really shines and the results we received from the HD 5670 1GB are simply stunning considering its performance in the games we tested. Granted, idle and load power consumption is beat slightly by the underperforming GT 240 1GB but to us that really doesn’t count for much considering it and the HD 5670 are in totally different weight classes when it comes to gaming potential.
 

SKYMTL

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Conclusion

Conclusion


Let’s cut right to the chase: from the perspective of a hardcore gamer or an enthusiast, the HD 5670 1GB probably doesn’t look particularly interesting. However, while it doesn’t represent a grand leap forward in performance, it does shine like a bright ray of hope for those of us that don’t have the money to spend on anything in higher price brackets. Even for HTPC users the HD 5670 should be appealing when you take into account its power consumption, low noise output, bitstreaming over HDMI and thermal efficiency.

If you take a look at the past x670 card –the HD 4670-, the differences between it and the card reviewed today are like night and day. We already mentioned there aren't any giant leaps in performance but the gap between the HD 4670 and the HD 5670 is truly something to behold. Honestly, considering its specifications we were actually surprised at how well this little card performed.

Regardless of what Sapphire did with the disproportionately large heatsink on their version of the HD 5670 1GB, there will be several single slot cards out there and board partners are free to design their own low-profile profile. This is a dream come true for many an SFF or HTPC user who didn’t get any love with the oversized backplate and heatsink used on reference HD 5750s.

It should be more that obvious that ATI priced the HD 5670 to compete with the GT 240 but this Redwood-based card makes NVIDIA’s 40nm product look like a downright horrible buy right now. Meanwhile, the $100 price of the 9800 GT looks particularly interesting in terms of raw performance but the HD 5670 1GB is still the clear winner in terms of features and future compatibility. We just can’t forget that many of DX11’s most talked about features like tessellation and depth of field will murder performance on even the best of cards and will be a no-go on a product like the HD 5670.

Something else that should be mentioned is the fact that even though we threw a curve ball at this card with mostly newer games, its performance and the performance of other HD 5000 series cards was disappointing in some cases. Borderlands in particular shows some NVIDIA dominance while odd things happened in our Left 4 Dead 2 tests where the performance of current ATI cards is clearly not well optimized at all.

The HD 5670 1GB’s price is supposed to be around the $115USD mark which should have many of you asking where its value lies in relation to the $135 HD5670 and to be honest with you, we were asking the same thing throughout this review. We held out hope that the revised BIOS we were sent two days before this went live would change something in terms of performance. Unfortunately, that was an empty dream since even a new BIOS can’t hide the fact that the Redwood XT core just doesn’t have enough graphics processing power to make a convincing argument for itself over the HD 5750. The main problem ATI has with the pricing of this card is the small amount of wiggle room in the $110 to $140 price bracket. Think of it this way: the approximate 30% price premium when going from a $300 to a $400 product translates to one hell of a price gap. Meanwhile, things look much different with budget cards where a 30% price premium translates to a difference of a mere $30 in some cases. However, that $30 gap between the HD 5670 and HD 5750 means a world of difference in terms of performance.

All in all, we have to applaud ATI for bringing this convincing little card to market. It shows that great performance doesn’t need a high sticker price but in the end, while it rolls all over the immediate NVIDIA competition its toughest challenger in terms of price / performance is the HD 5750. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing and with the addition of an great cooler by Sapphire and extremely high efficiency, we’re awarding the HD 5670 our Dam Innovative award.



Pros:

- Very Efficient
- Quiet
- Good performance versus the competition
- Eyefinity support


Cons:

- HD 5750’s price is a bit too close for comfort


 
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