Radeon HD 5870 - Card

The Radeon HD 5870 is massive, though given the specifications and the fact that this is a high-end graphics card, its size is far from surprising. The dimensions match that of the Radeon HD 4870 X2, making it very similar to the GeForce GTX 285 as well. The AMD reference card measures 28cm long and weighs roughly 1kg.

Cooling the Cypress XT GPU is a fairly large aluminum heatsink, made up of 36 fins measuring 13.5cm long, 6.5cm wide, and 2.5cm tall. Connected to the base of the heatsink are four copper heatpipes which help improve efficiency. Finally, cooling this heatsink is a 75x20mm blower fan that draws air in from within the case and pushes it out through the rear of the graphics card.

For the most part this fan operates very quietly, helped by the impressively low 27 watt idle consumption of the Radeon HD 5870. When gaming the fan will of course spin up, as the card can consume up to 188 watts under load, but even with the increased thermal stress the 5870 does not scream at intolerable levels.

The heatsink and fan have been enclosed within a custom built housing that conceals the entire graphics card -- a first for AMD. We actually liked this setup as it helps protect the product very well; Nvidia has been doing this for some time with their most prized graphics cards, such as the GeForce GTX 295

In order to feed the graphics card enough power AMD has included a pair of 6-pin PCI Express power connectors. This is the same configuration that you will find on the Radeon HD 4870/4890 and GeForce GTX 285 cards.

The Radeon HD 5870 naturally supports Crossfire technology, and therefore in the standard position we find a pair of connectors for bridging two or more cards together. The only other connectors can be found on the I/O panel; our AMD sample featured two dual DVI connectors along with HDMI and DisplayPort sockets. It is worth noting that all Radeon HD 5870 graphics cards can support a maximum resolution of 2560x1600 on not one but rather three monitors.