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Review: Sapphire Radeon HD 5670 1,024MB - invading the mid-range space

by Tarinder Sandhu on 14 January 2010, 05:00 3.15

Tags: ATI Radeon HD 5670, Win7 - Radeon HD 5670 1GB, AMD (NYSE:AMD), Sapphire

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qavm4

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HEXUS.bang4buck and overclocking

In a rough-and-ready assessment of the cards' bang for buck, we've aggregated the 1,680x1,050 frame-rates for four games, normalised them* and taken account of the cards' prices.

But there are more provisos than we'd care to shake a stick at. We could have chosen four different games, the cards' prices could have been derived from other sources and pricing tends to fluctuate daily.

Consequently, the tables below highlight a metric that should only be used as a yardstick for evaluating comparative performance with price factored in. Other architectural benefits are not covered, obviously.

HEXUS.bang4buck at 1,680x1,050

Graphics cards

Sapphire Radeon HD 5670 XF
(2x 1,024MB, GDDR3)

Sapphire Radeon HD 5670
(1,024MB, GDDR3)
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670
(512MB, GDDR3)
BFG GeForce GT 250
(512MB, GDDR3)
BFG GeForce GT 240
(512MB, GDDR3)
Actual aggregate marks at 1,680x1,080 402.33 249.80 210.08 320.26 217.32
Aggregate marks, normalised*, at 1,680x1,050 322.67 224.70 165.11 297.29 175.97
Current pricing, including VAT £179.98 £90 £50 £95 £60
HEXUS.bang4buck score at 1,680x1,050 1.793 2.497 3.302 3.129 2.933

* the normalisation refers to taking playable frame rate into account. Should a card benchmark at over 60 frames per second in any one game, the extra fps count as half. Similarly, should a card benchmark lower, say at 40fps, we deduct half the difference from its average frame rate and the desired 60fps, giving it a HEXUS.bang4buck score of 30 marks. The minimum allowable frame rate is 20fps but that scores zero.

The HEXUS.bang4buck score only takes the performance and price into account, of course.

Analysis

What the HEXUS.bang4buck shows is that performance, whilst better than the GeForce GT 240 and HD 4670, isn't high enough to compensate for the premium etail price attached to the 1,024MB card. We're adamant that pricing will drop in coming weeks, to make it look more attractive, but launch-day listings mean that a better balance of 3D-power-to-cost can be found elsewhere. As noted above, this advice doesn't take the card's other features into account.

Overclocking

We managed to crank the Sapphire Radeon HD 5670's base frequencies of 775MHz engine/shader and 4,000MHz memory up to 950MHz/4,400MHz, paving the way for partner-overclocked cards in the near future.

Rerunning our suite of games with the overclocked frequencies gave an average 14.2 per cent gain in performance at the 1,680x1,050 resolution. It's actually important to note because it changes a few games' performance from being good to very smooth.