Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Video Card Review :: Introduction

09-19-2009 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Benjamin Sun

Microsoft is set to launch Windows 7 on October 22nd and with it a new graphics API in the form of DirectX 11. Advanced Micro Devices manufactures video cards, CPUs and motherboard chipsets and competes with NVIDIA in the graphics card space. The last few years has seen a flip flop war between ATI and NVIDIA in terms of performance and features for the performance leadership.

Graphics card releases are either watershed moments or simply refreshes of an existing design. The last real watershed in graphics was the release of the NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX in 2006. This card marked the first DirectX 10.0 card and a quantum leap in performance over the previous generation in terms of performance of 2x and the first card to support Shader Model 4.0. ATIís release of the HD 3xxx series was a refresh of their HD 2xxx series, improving the feature set to Shader Model 4.1 but performance was similar to the last generation at a lower price. Shader Model 4.1 included improved image quality features but has only been implemented in a few games to date.

That all changes today with the launch of ATIís Evergreen chip, the RV870 that is behind the new card on the review bench the Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 1GB card. This is the first card to implement support for Microsoftís new DirectX 11 API, is said to nearly double the performance of their previous generation card the Radeon HD 4890 and offers support for Eyefinity a new way of looking at displays and monitors. ATI launched the card at a party on the USS Hornet in San Francisco earlier this month. Today they are launching two products, the HD 5870 and the HD 5850 of which Iím reviewing the highest end model, the HD 5870.