Thursday, September 24, 2009

AMD/ATI: Radeon 58xx update

The first non-reference design has been spotted over at Bit-Tech, a render of Sapphire's Vapor-X version of the HD 5870.

The gorgeous Sapphire HD 5870 Vapor-X
The gorgeous Sapphire HD 5870 Vapor-X (AMD/ATI: Radeon 58xx update)

For the normal stock designs, there are reports that the 5850 version of the card has been pushed back a bit, due to the 5870 version having priority on the chips. This would make sense as the 5850 cards could be built from imperfect 5870 GPUs with a few defective stream processors on board, allowing the chips to be salvaged by disabling these SPUs and rebranding it to a lower speed card.

Perhaps yields are good from TSMC with few defects now so the 5870s are being prioritized.

Asus have already announced two versions of the 5850 and 5870 with an improved overvolting system allowing reported overclocks to exceed 1GHz.

Some other news on an upcoming more mainstream part in the Evergreen family, the Radeon HD 5770 based on the Juniper core. Performance is projected to be better than anticipated, with perhaps 75% Cypress core performance using 1120 stream processors.

This should provide a clear advantage over 48xx series parts. The HD 5770 or its slower sibling the HD 5750 could prove excellent value for money when they're released next month.

Update: September 25, 2009

Pictures of the Radeon HD 5870X2 have been seen in the wild. As expected the card shows two separate chips mounted on the PCB as in previous X2 designs, rather than an MCM (combining two chips into one, like Intel's Core 2 Quads). The X2 chips' codename is Hemlock, we guess some small modifications had to be made from the stock Cypress design.

[image source]

Update: September 28th, 2009

Some blurtastic pictures of a 5870X2 with alternate cooling have appeared over at hardwarecanucks.

[image source Cowboy@HWC]

It's interesting that AMD seem to make their ATI engineering samples in Canada. We noticed a "Made in Canada" sticker on one of their previous cards (the 6 port Eyefinity edition).

Update: October 2, 2009

The Radeon 5850 is now more widely available, although the best estimate from our supplier is still "early october" on the HIS iteration of the card.

Reviews are materialising though, and given the hefty price difference, performance of the card compared to the 5870 looks very good indeed.

CardStream processorsTexture unitsCore clockMemory clock
HD 5870160080850MHz1.2GHz (x4 to 4.8GHz)
HD 5850144072725MHz1.0GHz (x4 to 4.0GHz)

This equates to roughly 90% of the performance for 70% of the price. Power usage under load also seems greatly reduced when compared to the 5870, consuming up to 80 watts less. Although both cards have excellent idle power requirements.

Noise of the stock cooler under load is also a bit less, but we'd wait for 3rd party designs on either card if this is a big concern in general for you.

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