ATI Radeon HD 5870 Review

By Jos ยท 69 replies
Sep 23, 2009
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  1. Get a 5870 and keep your old nvidia like I did for PhysX. Always been green, jumped to red now for the first time and never looking back!
  2. The one thing I must admit here is I'm sick and tired of hearing about how ATI has DX11 and NVIDIA doesn' least not yet. Big deal, so ATI released the first DX11 cards to try and beat NVIDIA to the table. Everyone knows that you never run out and buy the first release of a product because it is the worst version. Not only that, but NVIDIA has a very good reason why they have delayed the 300 series. Also, to top that how many DX11 games are currently on the market huh...4 that's right and by the time DX11 becomes standard in games NVIDIA will have gained it's fair share of DX11 sales.

    Now, I will say a word or two about this review of the 5870 verses NVIDIA. Sure they made it look good for the newest product, however the cold hard facts are what is going to hurt you noobs feelings that own this card. Cold hard fact 1. 3dMark Vantage records show 3x 5870's in CrossfireX scoring 27790 and that's a validated score in 3dMark Vantage. Fact 2. My three GTX 275's in Tri-SLI scored 28891 and that too is a validated score using 3dMark Vantage. Benchmarking shows the true power and performance of your hardware not FPS benching. Games are written to favor one GPU over the other depending on the company and this too is a common fact that has existed for years now in the gaming industry. Games written to run better on ATI GPUs will score better FPS then NVIDIA that's no secret. However, games written to run better on NVIDIA GPUs score better then ATI and still do today, that too is no secret. In fact any game that uses PhysX will automatically score higher on NVIDIA systems since ATI has no way of rendering PhysX. So benchmarking a card based off game FPS means nothing. If you want to benchmark a graphics card there are several systems to do this on for example Unigine. Again, from personal experience and scores taken right off AMD's own sight 3x 5870's barely can break a score in Unigine of 2000 marks with all settings on high using DX10 and a res of 1680x1050 8xAA. My three NVIDIA GTX 275's score just under 3800 marks at a whopping 3768 using the exact same settings all high with a screen res of 1680x1050 8xAA. I fail to see thus far how you can say 5870 is stronger and faster then the NVIDIA cards when true bench test prove just the opposite.

    Now, to all those that want to cry and say well just wait for the x2 series of the ATI card well they are here and they aren't really making a big splash in 3dMark systems. I also have some more bad news for ATI fanboys here. ATI has no big secret weapon with 6000 series cards in fact with what I know NVIDIA has coming in the 300 series, ATI better bring something to the table and fast. There is a reason why NVIDIA stalled the launch until this spring. Let me give you ATI duds, yet another history lesson that you're about to see repeated. It really isn't nothing AMD hasn't seen before "just like on the verge of bankruptcy", but here it goes anyway.

    Remember back in the day when AMD had the 4800+ out and it was making Intel P4 HT systems look stupid and all you AMD/ATI fanboys would spout off at the mouth about how so much better AMD was over Intel and how Intel would never design a processor that could beat AMD in speed, gaming or benchmarking. Yeah I admit I had an Intel P4 and I stood behind Intel because I knew they had something coming and it was going to slaughter AMD. Well, do you remember what happened? Remember how Intel over night destroyed AMD's hopes, dreams, and security blanket. Remember how all you AMD fanboys looked like a deer in headlights? Well, it's about to happen again except this time it's not going to be Intel that slaughters AMD/ATI it's going to be NVIDIA. For reference though I would like all you AMD/ATI fanboys to do this. Bookmark this response and when spring comes rolling around and those 300 series start rolling off the NVIDIA line come back here and scroll down to the very last sentence in the response which clearly states the obvious and here it is....

    "I TOLD YOU SO"!
  3. This feature no longer works as it has been disabled in the NVIDIA driver as of 185.68, so if you want to use ATI you lose PhysX. And don't worry about the hack patch it barely works and they gave up on it at the driver version 195.62 and PhysX now requires you to have the latest drivers installed before it will work.
  4. This is really funny since you can go to AMD's own website here and see just how bad the 5870 sucks at a simple advanced gaming engine such as Unigine compared to the GTX 200 series. This isn't the only site showing how poorly the 5870 really is. What I think is the funniest thing about this site is it's the home of ATI it's AMD's own forums LMFAO there getting owned and pawned on there own turf by NVIDIA GTX 200 series users.

    Oh and one more quick note, looks to me like the GTX 295 slaughtered two that's right I said 2x 5870's here on AMD's own site just look through the scores. The 5870's where even using a lesser res and still got pawned by the GTX 295. Stop looking at ATI game engine FPS and start looking at the truth. Game FPS benching doesn't mean squat when the games being used are geared for ATI GPU's. Try some PhysX games and see how well those 5870's bench in FPS to NVIDIA 200 series. Oh and just in case you're thinking about using an NVIDIA card to try and cheat the system, forget NVIDIA changed that in the latest drivers which doesn't allow ATI users to enable PhysX on a NVIDIA card if the main card is ATI. Now, that's what I call high class. And don't worry about talking trash about how PhysX will dry up because NVIDIA refuses to let ATI render PhysX. Companies like the biggest gaming software manufacturer Electronic Arts will never let that happen.
  5. Now read the truth off ATI's own website of posted scores from 5800 users verses GTX 200 series users using Unigine. And for the record NVIDIA drivers hardly ever crash ATI has a well known record and history of bad drivers, so get your facts straight.
  6. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,836   +1,955

    The fact that you base anything on 3Dmark scores make you a "noob" sir. Honestly you talk about AMD fan boys while you make yourself out to be the worlds largest Nvidia fan boy.

    I am not going to get into an argument over this because fact 1. I simply do not care.

    AMD or Nvidia don't care either, they are companies that set out to make money, not collect fan boys.
  7. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Either "Guest" is rabid, or an ATI troll looking to hand out the cups of Hatorade for the anti-nV backlash. Either scenario is far from appealing.
  8. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Good god already, That may be about as far a stretch as I have seen posted here on TS. First of all, More than half the games out there are developed on Nvidia cards. second of all, how far did you have to dig into your green team fanatics sites to find two 5870's getting beat by a GTX 295?....sigh. any other site benchmarking these cards shows this.
    here is the difference Fanboy, I build systems for a living, and buy whatever is the best at the time. And right now ATI is on top. They have the fastest single GPU, and the fastest Dual GPU on the market......get over it. If the GF100 cards are better performers when they come out, great I will purchase them. you on the other hand will laud and parse your fanboyism if the green team puts out a fresh dog turd. And Steve is right. If you use 3DMark to gauge 3D really are a noob!
    why don't you go find a blog where people will be more than happy to swallow your BS by the heaping spoonful, or as Divide puts it 'hatorade"
  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    NVIDIA is in major trouble; the latest gaming chip they have was developed in 2008 (the GT21x series) and those cards cannot compete with ATI's offerings on price vs performance. Also, TSMC's yield issues make it a much more compelling issue.

    As for drivers, that is BS; NVIDIA had horrible drivers for quite some time on Vista (there's a thread here that attests to this) while ATI had a much more stable release at the time. Also, NVIDIA likes to only tweak performance via drivers for its current flagship cards, ignoring older cards like the 8800 GTS 512, even though the core powering it and the 9800GTX (as well as the "new" GTS250) is exactly the same.

    That's another issue; deceptive branding. The GTS 250\8800 GTS 512\9800GTX is prime proof of this.

    Add to that the fact that they actually tried to show off fake Fermi boards at the GPU Tech Conference late last year, and it all doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the company.

    Unless they have something that's worth the price, I wouldn't want my next card to be an NVIDIA one.
  10. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Well done Rage....
    Way to feed the troll
    You sure picked a good day to hate on nVidia's drivers

    I think Rage here is the new record least the troll/ATI firestarter was topical. Rage's first paragraph actually made so little sense it made my head hurt.

    Techspot should have a seperate forum for flame wars with special interactive emoticons instead of text for those so outraged that their sense of grammar and reasoning has deserted them.

    p.s. I think this thread could stand to be locked. The constructive comments regarding the HD 5870 and the review seem to have dried up somewhat.
  11. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    How did it make "little sense"? Everything NVIDIA has now is a rehash of a prior product. In fact, the G92 has been re-used so many times they should probably get an award for it or something.

    There have been no new gaming cards since the GTX 280. Everything that has come after is a minor tweak on either that core or the G92 core. The HD 5800 series is a completely new architecture in contrast.

    I was referring to NVIDIA's Vista drivers, as I mentioned clearly. Also, I currently use an NVIDIA card currently, so I have no idea about any current ATI driver issues (I did own a 4870X2 for some time). And frankly, I don't see a big deal in the grey screen issue, since it doesn't affect every card out there.
  12. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Why does the 40nm yield issue make it more compelling?
    The issue is not with TSMC, it's with the new silicon architecture ,the die size and leakage. Or do you think nVidia couldn't figure out that a (much) larger die size will result in fewer dies per wafer as opposed to ATI's silicon?

    Ancient history. That has to do with the HD 5870 in what way ?

    Hellloooooo...You think Catalyst 10.1 gave any performance tweaks to HD4xxx and HD3xxx cards


    The HD 5xxx series is an incremental advance over the previous series line that add's a dedicated tesselator and double the shaders (in simplistic terms). If the HD5xxx series is so advanced why is the next 28nm Northern Islands GPU line touted as having a GPGPU structure more in line with the parallel computing of CUDA ?

    So the issue has to affect every card before you find it a big deal. Why bother being on the forum as any issue raised here doesn't affect every person.
    All I can say is don't try to get into customer relations or PR.

    And before you start sulking....I own both nVidia and ATI rigs.
    I recommend to others and base my own buying on the here-and-now. Check my posts if you find that hard to believe.
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    GT300 yields were under 2% in September last year. Yields have improved since then, but NVIDIA still hasn't figured out a way to stay in the game like AMD has done with the 5800 series.

    The driver comment was directed at him, not you.

    As I said, I don't own an ATI card anymore, and now that I do have an NVIDIA card, there are games that have issues with my current card, which NVIDIA has not bothered to fix. My friends who have a 4670 and 3870 do not suffer the same issues. An example that comes to mind is Mass Effect; I keep getting a GPF error at random points in the game, and neither friend has any issue. We have the same mobo and CPU too, so it can only be the card IMO.

    As for rebranding, why rebrand the same card not once (which is understandable) but twice? They perform exactly the same. And these are gaming cards, not entry-level cards, like the ones in your link.

    The HD 5xxx comment was FAIL yes. I confess I didn't do any research before blurting that out.
    How is that related to the forum?! People here come with issues, and they usually come here after exhausting other avenues (usually, but not always). You're telling me they wouldn't bother Googling their problem first and take the time to make an account here and ask for help? Other members also usually suggest the ones who do come here directly to try searching the forums before continuing with their new thread.

    And with that, I'm off to sleep. Have a good one, mate. :)
  14. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    No, that was some creative mathematics that were endorsed by such illuminaries as Charlie "nVidia scorned me" Demerjian
    I was under the impression that it's a PhysX conflict with the game and that nVidia owners were advised to go to their nVidia Control Panel > PhysX tab > Disable PyhsX support.
    A bit of a pain to have to disable/enable the PhysX manually each time you play a different game maybe but not insurmountable. Is this not the case?
    Rebranding is rebranding. Once , twice, ten times- what does it matter?
    I also mentioned the R9800->X800->X1900->HD2900/X2K rebranding. These were ATI's flagship SKU's in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively
    My point is that just because only a small percentage of owners are affected by the grey screen issue (BTW I've RMA'ed an HD5850 for that reason) doesn't make it any less frustrating for the people concerned. The moment you start writing off those users you marginalize their problem. An analogy would be (seemingly) 8800GTS 512Mb owners who have ME GPF get my drift?

    Both AMD and nVidia (and Intel, and MS etc...) see you and me as meat with money-certainly nothing more, and hopefully,nothing less.

    nVidia have manufacturing and architectural and performance issues, and so does ATI. Here's France Hardware's analysis on documented failure rates.
    Not to mention such own-goals as the HD2900 XT and FX 5800 Ultra.
  15. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Return rate vs Failure rate

    Thanks for the link Chef, very interesting read indeed. I noted a few things however that made it (I think) almost impossible to parse it into meaningful or usable information. for the following reasons. 1) I noticed that this information was from a online retailer and not a supplier that is selling to professionals. At least not wholesaling to established system builders. 2) it is a return rate....not a failure rate that the author first asserts. 3) I, like you, build systems for others for a living, and have taken to purchasing 'open box' or 'returned' items that are the returned parts of this study, and have yet to receive a component that I had to return because it was a failed or defective part. The thing that kept running through my mind whilst reading this is that this is France's version of say Newegg, and all of the preposterous reviews of components on that site, you know, where they returned the PSU because they took it out of the box and plugged it in to the wall,and were stymied as to why it didn't start up. I have found over the years that a vast majority of these returns are user error. What do you think?
  16. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Fair comment I think.
    The retailer is France's version of Newegg/Tiger Direct and as such I think some of the returns are probably user error or that the retail boxes were missing parts.
    Motherboard returns most likely include incompatibility with other parts, warped PCB's, heavy handed first-timers, and for motherboards with push-pin heatsink attachment...a lack of push-pins.
    PSU's and video cards I think would tend more failure after prolonged use rather than defective out of the box, and as such are likely to fail due to the predations of overzealous overclockers. Having said that I think that those failures are probably across the board regardless of manufacturer if the part can be considered a "gamer" card.
    I have seen quite a few instances of failures in GTX280's and HD 4870's in reference form. From personal experience those that aren't killed by brutal overclocking seem to probably die from heat related causes. I say probably because both parts are thermally rated higher than I've ever seen one of these cards reach, but failures are probably 10:1 in favour of cards that have reference coolers/shrouds and stock clocks.
    I have seen a site somewhere that had correlated returns from major manufacturers based upon warranty claims only, gathered in part from annual stock keeping, stock movement and refurbishment sales numbers present in manufacturers annual fiscal reports but have been unable to find it. Thought I'd bookmarked the site but no. I will continue looking as it now bugs me, but thought I'd link the France Hardware site to show that parts failure is not limited to one particular supplier.
    I think some of the France Hardware figures are indicative of the underlying problems although I'd be skeptical of the numbers given....unless they are dealing with such manufacturing abominations as the P5N-T Deluxe, although a 16+% failure rate seems quite good -I'd suspect that the rate will be closer to 100% given that all (if not most) of the surviving boards are unstable and being replaced in turn with the same unstable RMA's. Once this model passes out of warranty I think a working model might be a collectors item.
  17. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The HD 4870 (and most of the HD 48xx series) I believe is probably more susceptible to this owing to the low stock fan speeds.
  18. myrmidonks

    myrmidonks TS Rookie Posts: 48

    Value? 5850 vs 5870

    The HD 5850 is a much better value in my opinion. Granted, its performance is lower than the 5870, but if you want the best value for you money, a 5850 is the way to go. As far as performance, Only the most demanding of games will show a true difference between the cards, if you simply are comparing the appearance of the game. Techspot's benchmarks of the 5850 show it performing only 14% slower than the 5870 while playing Crysis Warhead (2560x1600, 0xAA/0xAF) which was only around 5-6 fps lower. This is not very noticeable unless one plays very close attention to detail.
  19. Shut up u nvidia fanboys
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Touche. :)

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