Sapphire 5870 - My thoughts and impressions

Caporegime
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Hi all

Overview

I was given the opportunity to test out the Sapphire 5870 1GB gfx card a little early and said I'd give my thoughts to the forum. Unfortunately I haven't got the time to focus on numbers but tbh I think you'll be drowning in them from this morning onwards! My aim is to give thoughts on the small things, something that some review sites might miss.

To kick things off, here are a couple of pics of the box & contents;





It's pretty standard packaging-wise, but with 2 games included (Dirt2 download voucher & Battlestations Pacific) Sapphire certainly haven't skimped on the good stuff :cool:

And for those of you coming from the 4890 like me, here's a side-by-side pic;



As you can see the 5870 is a whopper of a card, about 1 inch or so bigger than the 4890 and 11inches in total (measuring from the backplate to the rear)

When I first saw the pics of the new cooler online I wasn't too impressed thinking it was a prototype! I'm glad to say that the 5870 in hand definitely feels like quality & I have no issues with it at all. In fact it's growing on me ;)

As for noise, I have found it to be pretty much the same as the 4890 and doesn't bother me when it ramps up a little when gaming (and it isn't that much tbh, especially when blasting those baddies :p). Same goes for the heat, it is comparable to the 4890 and possibly a little cooler. This one maxed out at 85c when running Furmark for 20 minutes, I think my 4890 ran a couple of degrees higher (but the cooler weather might help here). Also to note is that the 5870 ran a little cooler at idle than the 4890, at approx 35c. All-in-all I'm happy with the job the cooler does & how it performs :)

Gaming

My Rig;

Intel i7 920 [email protected] (191*20+Turbo)
Gigabyte UD3R Rev 1.6
6GB OCZ Gold [email protected] 7-7-7-20/Triple Channel (I really need to treat myself to a quality set soon!!!)
Dell G2410 Monitor (1920*1080 res)
ATi 5870 1GB

Windows 7 RTM (for testing purposes)
ATi Driver used 8.651.0.0 (as taken from the Sapphire disk) dated 26/8/09


Now I didn't get a chance to do much on the gaming front, but I did try what I had installed. L4D and CoD4 ran flawlessly on max res and max in-game AA as you'd expect with older games (8xAA on L4D and 4xAA on CoD4). I did dig out my copy of Crysis: Warhead and found that it really taxed the system & was only really comfortable using the DX9 'Enthusiast' setting (all at 1920*1080 of course). Don't get me wrong, 'Gamer' on DX10 was acceptable but it dipped down to the low 20's too often for my liking. But maybe I'm just fussy :) I didn't have a lot of time so of course I'm sure that fiddling with a few configs on the DX10 settings would bring a very good result.

But PLEASE take my results with a pinch of salt as the drivers on the disk are a month old now and I'm sure the professional review sites would have been provided with absolute up-to-date ones.

I did download and run 3DMark Vantage and scored a nice 17744 at the standard setting (1280*1024) which I thought was very good considering it's a single gpu card and really shows the raw potential that ATi will extract over time.

Overclocking

The overclocking reminded me of the initial batch of 4870's where generally they wouldn't really overclock too well (and the later batches were better). ATi really seem to have pushed the 40nm process hard to get the 850core, so kudos to them. I used the in-built ATi Auto-Tune facility and got 890 on the core (up from the standard 850) and 1250 on the memory (again up from the standard 1200). But let's be honest, the way this card performs you're not gonna need a couple of extra fps here & there (that a small overclock provides) for a long time (unless you're an overclocking nut like I used to be ;)).

For those interested, Vantage scored 18513 when overclocked, which I think isn't too bad considering the small increase of the clocks involved.


Conclusion/Recommendation

I have to say that I'm very happy with the 5870 and have no doubt ATi will extract every ounce from it in a short amount of time. I can't wait to get really stuck into it, and am looking forward to the new titles being released next Quarter.

My only recommendation would be to *not* use the drivers from the disk if you can help it (due to the age of them) but to download the latest & greatest from ATi's site. Here's hoping something new is released today or tomorrow to go with the launch.

If you have any little obscure questions that the review sites aren't covering them let me know, but please note that my internet access at work is a little 'spotty' so I'll try to get back to you asap.

thanks

Si
 
Suspended
Joined
18 Oct 2002
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Thank you for you post Jedi much appreciated. There is plenty of Sapphire in stock and we have circa 300 pcs arriving on Friday / Monday.
 
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