Review of AMD ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB graphics card

AMD is back with a new medium range card which promises a good price/performance ratio, the Radeon HD 5670.


radeon-5670


INTRODUCTION

The first member of the Evergreen family hit the market back in September (2009). AMD has since then not said much about what would follow.


AMD chose to release the 5670 card at last week’s CES 2010 event. The 5600 series chip is called Redwood and currently only includes the Radeon HD 5650 and 5670 chips. The 5600 series is clearly directed to the mid range segment of the market as illustrated in AMD’s release strategy below. AMD has release two versions of the HD 5670 card, one with 1GB GDDR5 and another with 512MB GDDR5. This review covers the latter one.



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The 5600 series adopts the technologies of its big brothers like ATI Stream and ATI Eyefinity. Here are AMD’s own words about their new “ATI Stream” technology:


ATI Stream technology is a set of advanced hardware and software technologies that enable AMD graphics processors (GPUs), working in concert with the system’s central processors (CPUs), to accelerate enabled applications beyond traditional graphics and video processing. This enables balanced platforms to run computationally-intensive tasks more efficiently, providing a better application experience to the end user.



The 5600 series also has full support for Microsoft’s DirectX11 API. I guess most people buying a graphics card in the middle range segment don’t really know what the big deal is but anyone interested in the GPU industry knows that if you want to see the latest innovations in gaming you want to be on the latest DirectX train.


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AMD ATI RADEON HD 5670, ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS

The test sample I will be reviewing today is a generic AMD ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB GDDR5. It is a pre production unit which AMD sends out to selected publications before other outfitters’ versions hit the store shelves. I am actually a bit late out with my review, but hey, what’s the hurry anyway?


Here are the specifications for the HD5670 512MB GDDR5:


AMD ATI Radeon HD 5670 512 MB GDDR5

GPU

Redwood (Radeon HD 5670)

Transistors

627 Ms

GPU Speed

775 MHz

Stream processors

400

Performance calculation

620GFLOPS

Texture units

20

Texture fill rate

25.2 GTexels/s

ROPs

16

Pixel fill rate

6.2 Gpixel/s

Z/Stencil

24.8 GSamples/s

Type of memory

GDDR5

Speed of memory

1000 MHZ

Amount of memory

515MB

Bandwidth of memory

64 GB/s

Bus width

128-bit

Consumption

Normal (61W)/IDLE (14W)




IN DETAIL: AMD ATI RADEON HD 5670 512MB GDDR5

I’m not going to spend too much time rambling about what the card looks like since most outfitters will be mounting their own cooling solutions. In short however, the card has a one slot cooler which is great and expected with a middle range card.


The card is manufactured with a 40nm technology which is great since it will increase its energy efficiency and decrease the generated heat in relation to performance.



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A good thing about the fact that this card is fairly small and thin is that it fits in smaller cases suitable for HTPC and media PC projects. The length of the Radeon HD 5670 is 170mm.


The card has no PCI- Express power connector which should be considered as something positive I guess. It means that the card will never draw more power than what the PCI-Express bus can handle.


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The 5670 generic card has 3 connectors; a Display Port; a HDMI and a DVI connector. It supports the “ATI Eyefinity” technology which means you can use monitors on each connector simultaneously.



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The HMDI connector support s HDMI 1.3a which means full support for Dolby True HD and DTS Audio Masters.




TEST SYSTEM

I used my normal test system for this review, here are the specs:


Test equipment

Processor

Intel Core i7 920

Fan

Prolimatech Mega Shadow

Motherboard

Asus Rampage II Gene

Graphics card

ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB GDDR5

Soundcard

Integrated

Memory

3 x2 GB GSkill Trident 1600 MHZ (6-7-6-18)

Hard disk

Intel X25-M G2 Postville 80 GB

Power supply

Corsair HX850W


Operating system and software

Operating system

Windows 7 64bits

System dirvers

Controller 8.69_RC3 (BETA)
DirectX August 2009

Benchmarking software

3D Mark 06
3D Mark Vantage
Furmark 1.7
Unigyne Heaven Benchmark

Games

The Last Remnant
Street Fighter IV
Resident Evil 5
Weak May Cry 4
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Prypiat
DIRT 2
Far Cry 2
Crysis Warhead

Other software

CPU-Z 1.49
GPU-Z 0.3.7
OCCT 3.1


And here are some screenshots of my configuration:


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During my test I set the in-game graphics settings to the highest quality. I set the filter settings to “medium” because of the fact that this card is not intended for people who “must” have the filter settings to max.


For those of you who are not too familiar of how to measure the performance of a graphics card, here’s a table with frame rate numbers and what they actually mean in real life gaming experience:


FPS (Frames per second)

FPS lower than 30

Not a good gaming experience

30 – 40 FPS

OK but not good gaming experience

40 – 60 FPS

Good gaming experience

Higher than 60 FPS

Excellent gaming experience




TEST: BENCHMARKING SOFTWARE

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I always do the tests with the benchmarking software first because it often gives a glint of the overall performance of the card. In this case the results tell me that the performance of this card is a bit above what I had expected from a medium range card in the new AMD generation.


As a comparison a Nvidia GT 240 GDDR5 card I have tested in the same system obtained around 7000 points in 3DMark 2006 and in my last review of a GT220 card (a card more towards the lower end segment) it achieved 6700 points. The Radeon HD5670 card came in at 11700 points which exceeds the NVIDIA cards by quite a lot.


As I have experienced with all the DirectX11 compatible cards I have reviewed, the performance diminishes with the jump from DirectX10 to DirectX11. This is strange because “higher performance” is one of the major selling points with the new API from Microsoft.




TEST: GAMES PART 1

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The Radeon HD 5670 actually turns out to be even more powerful in the first batch of games that I had expected based on the results achieved in the benchmarking tests. I was actually somewhat surprised that this medium range card, at a price level below $100, could move these games with great fluidity.


Games like The Last Remnant, Street Fighter IV and Devil May Cry 4 actually ran really well no matter what level of graphics quality setting, resolution or filter I set. Even Resident Evil 5 ran OK




TEST: GAMES PART 2

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A strange thing about the results above is the case of the games STALKER: Clear Sky and STALKER: Call of Prypiat. The first one uses DirectX10 and the second DirectX11. STALKER Clear Sky (DX10) offers a very limited gaming experience while STALKER: Call of Prypiat (DX11) has much better results. I mean, those games are part of the same series. It raises questions like: is DirectX11 more efficient than DirectX10 after all? Or; do these two games have different 3D motors? I am afraid I cannot answer those questions for you, just thought that I’d bring it to your awareness.


There are however clearly two games in this batch which this card cannot handle; Far Cry 2 and Crysis Warhead. The performance of the Radeon HD 5670 in Far Cry 2 at a resolution of 1680×1050 (without filters) at 41.04 FPS just isn’t good enough and far from the results I achieved with the Sapphire HD 5750 (61.57 FPS).


Still, the Radeon HD 5670 demonstrates a remarkable performance in very demanding games. If we can live with not always running the games in the highest resolutions with filters enabled, then you will not be disappointed.




HD VIDEO

In order to analyze the performance of the Radeon HD 5670 when replaying HD video I measured the average CPU load (%) during a 5 minute period while playing HD content. I did the measurements in two resolutions: 720p (H.261) and 1080p.


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The excellent results are really thanks to the ATI Steam technology. It is great to see such a powerful card with such small dimensions. It makes the card ideal for a HTPC.




OVERCLOCKING, COOLING AND CONSUMPTION

Overclocking is always exciting (at least for me) but I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about this card since all I had to work with was the ATI Catalyst application. I did however reach a decent 9% increase of the GPU (775 MHz) and a 9.5% increase of the original memory frequency. This was the max numbers I could set in the ATI Catalyst application which leaves some room for other outfitters to unlock a greater overclocking.


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The cooling system of this card fulfills its task. We must consider that is just a generic sample of the card so none of the outfitters fancy cooling solutions are present. The temperatures that you see in the graph below at full load are high but they are actually what I usually see with a new reference model AMD ATI card. We will just see what the different outfitters can come up with in terms of cooling solutions for the 5670 chip and what they can do with the temperatures.


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The fan is automatically regulated and its rotation speed is around 28% when the card is in idle mode. Below 40% the fan is imperceptible but above 50% it is perfectly audible without ever getting as annoying as fans on high end cards.



The use of the new manufacturing technology at 40nm gives this card a better efficiency ratio than previous generation of graphics cards. In the real world this means an improvement of the performance at the same power consumption levels. Or the other way around; a lower power consumption at the same performance level. According to AMD ATI, the idle mode consumption should be 14W whereas the typical consumption in operation is at 61W.


I measured the total power drainage of my system in idle mode and overclock mode which is illustrated in the graph below. I cannot tell you if AMD ATI’s number are correct or not.


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RESULTS OF THE TEST WITH OVERCLOCK

Of course I ran some tests with the overclocked card as well, here are the results:


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As you can see the results show a slight increase of the performance. For instance the gain in Crysis Warhead was around 1.5 FPS and in Far Cry 2 the increase was around 3 FPS. In reality this doesn’t mean much.




CONCLUSIONS

OK, so this card is clearly not a high end gaming card, but the big question is if it’s powerful enough to be of any use for us gamers? I would say definitely yes! If you can accept playing FPS games without filters you will be satisfied with this card. Hard core gamers will however have to go for the next price level.


What is great with this card is that AMD has managed to squeeze in all the new technologies which we saw in the 5800 series, like the ATI Steam, DirectX11 and ATI Eyefinity. That fact combined with the fact that this card is quite small makes it ideal for anyone looking for a graphics card for HTPC project.



This card will start to sell around the $100 level which I feel is very affordable considering its capabilities.


Pros:

  • OK performance
  • Low noise level
  • Low power consumption
  • Single slot card
  • Low price


Cons:

  • None really


AMD ATI 5670 Radeon HD 512MB GDDR5

Packing and accessories

N/A

Quality and finish

1.4/1.5

Performance

2.6/3

Noise level and temperature

1.8/2

Overclocking

0.8/1

Price

1/1

Total

7.6/8.5



The final score is 89 out of 100 owls, and we give the “AMD ATI 5670 Radeon HD 512MB GDDR5″ our Recommended Award.

 

 


TestSeek Labs Recommended 2009 Award


 

 

Thanks goes out to AMD ATI for letting me review this card.

 

Check out alternatives of the Radeon 5600 series at testseek.com

 


Author: Manuel González Fernández

Translator: Vince Emiloz Sanderson












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