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Comparison data from ATI (Click to expand)
ATI's roadmap shows the introduction of mainstream DX11 hardware

When ATI first launched the Radeon HD 4870 last year, it delivered a new level of performance at a great price point. NVIDIA struggled to compete, but still managed to hold onto a lot of its marketshare.

With the launch of Windows 7 and DirectX 11 on October 22, many video card buyers are already looking for DX11 cards in order be ready for the latest games and to future-proof their systems. ATI is giving the public that option by launching the Radeon 5800 series today.

The Radeon HD 5870 and the Radeon HD 5850 both use the same GPU core, previously codenamed Cypress. Comprised of 2.15 billion transistors, it has almost three times as many transistors as Intel's Core i7 CPU. The Radeon 5870 runs at a core clock of 850MHz, while the Radeon 5850 runs at 725MHz.

The Radeon 5870 has an impressive 1600 Stream processors and is capable of delivering up to 2.72 teraFLOPS. It is the most powerful single GPU video card currently available and will sell for around $379 at e-tailers. Meanwhile, the Radeon 5850 has 1440 Stream processors and will be priced around $259. Both cards are paired with 1GB of GDDR5 memory, and will use a dual slot design.

One of the more interesting things that ATI is doing is called Eyefinity. It allows the use of up to three monitors together through a single video card. All cards in the 5800 series will have two dual-link DVI ports, a HDMI port, and a DisplayPort. Since a TMDS transmitter is needed for each DVI or HDMI port, the use of a DisplayPort monitor or adapter is needed to use the third monitor. Eyefinity is capable of support three displays at a resolution of up to 2560x1600, but future models will support up to six monitors.

Power efficiency is something that the computer industry as a whole has been moving towards. The Radeon 5870 has an idle board power of 27 watts, compared to 90 watts with the Radeon HD 4870. This due to better power circuitry and a greater reduction in clock speed at idle. Unlike newer CPUs, it does not have the ability to shut down idle processors, but that is something that is inevitable in the future in GPUs.

ATI first introduced the 40nm process with the RV740 core used in the Radeon HD 4770. With the second generation process from TSMC, ATI's yields are quite high on the 40nm node. DailyTech has been told that the launch is "rock hard" and there will be products available today.

Being the first DX11 parts, there is a huge pent-up demand that will take several weeks to dissipate. Availability is therefore expected to be tight for the next two weeks. However, demand is expected to rise again around the October 22 launch of Windows 7.

Most video card manufacturers are expected to use the reference design to save costs, but some are already planning modifications to the cooler in order to enable better overclocking or less noise.

ATI has plans to ship more DirectX 11 parts in the near future. Hemlock combines two Cypress cores together into a Radeon HD 5870 X2 configuration, while Juniper will be the 5800 series equivalent of the Radeon 4830 selling at the $199 price point.

DirectX 11 hits the mainstream early next year with two mainstream products. It is likely to be known as the Radeon 5600 series comprised of the Radeon HD 5670 and Radeon HD 5650. Ultimately, the technology seen in the Radeon 5800 will move into mobile computers and integrated chipsets over the next year.

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RE: Nvidia are definitely on the back foot....
By Screwballl on 9/23/2009 3:04:16 PM , Rating: -1
Not sure where you get your numbers but the ATI/AMD cards have been the fastest single card solution since the 3870 was released. The only area where nvidia has a step up is with SLI.. which we will see how long that lasts once we see a 5870x2 or better card.

Of course nvidia may have something up their sleeve as well, we will see.

RE: Nvidia are definitely on the back foot....
By SerafinaEva on 9/23/09, Rating: -1
By Samus on 9/23/2009 5:20:06 PM , Rating: 5
yep, they just costs $500 bucks each :)

By Belard on 9/24/2009 6:14:02 AM , Rating: 5
So how do you explain how the X1900 series of cards were constantly faster than the GF7800 / 7900s?

Yes, Nvidia came back against the 9800Pro/XTs with the 6600/6800, but then ATI came out with the X1800s.

So no, it was when the 8800GTX came out that put the once $500 X1900XTX down several notches. Just like the $380 ATI 5870 is going to do some serious hurt on most of the GTX line, considering what those costs, the GTX 285 has just lost value... which was expected anyway.

The 4800s were never quite as fast as certain targeted GTX cards, but they were a lot cheaper and severely hurt Nvidia's bottom line.

Remember the GTX 280 at about $600 and the GTX 260 at $400? Then 2 weeks later, ATI stills their thunder with the 4850/4870 cards at $200/$300. Overnight, the GTX 280 dropped down to $400 ($250 for the GTX260)... but still people were buying the 4800s.

Then Nvidia spent the rest of the year re-badging 8800GT into many flavors of 9600~9800/GTS2 cards... what a mess!

Considering that the GTX2 (what happened to GTX1?) are still DX10 cards, THOSE should have been called 9800GTS/GTX and the G80 the 9600GT. It would have made more sense. Oh well.

Important notice about these 5870 benchmarks... these are new drivers for new cards for a new OS. So expect them to IMPROVE like any other GPU over the course of a year.

By JPForums on 9/24/2009 8:27:49 AM , Rating: 2
Actually Nvidia has always had the performance crown when it comes to single cards ever since the 6800 Ultra.

While the 6800 Ultra did beat the X800XT in many benchmarks, it also lost in many as well. You could arguably give it the edge, but this was by no means clear dominance. I would give the edge to the 7800GTX over the X1800XT, but nVidia couldn't really beat the X1900 series until the 8800 series came out.

Of course, nVidia has had the performance crown for the vast majority of the time since then. ATi didn't really get the crown back until the 4870x2 and then only for a short while. I suppose you can shake the results up a little if you include the 7950GX2 and the 3870x2, but in my opinion, neither of these cards performed consistently or stably enough to warrant single card consideration. Even the 4870x2 and GTX295 take flak at some review sites for lack of consistency, though stability seems to be good now.

RE: Nvidia are definitely on the back foot....
By Totally on 9/23/2009 3:50:36 PM , Rating: 5
'where the gtx 295 IS STILL faster than a single 5870.'

and a 5870x2 is not faster than a gtx 295?

By MrPoletski on 9/24/2009 4:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
It almost certainly will be, when it exists.

As a 4870x2 owner it's the only car that really interests me in this lineup. The 5870 is just not fast enough to warrant changing my 4870x2 out for. It's basically the same thing merged into one chip with DX11 features.

I don't know how true this is, but I heard the 5870x2 will be a multi-chip module, rather than two separate chips. Sideport will allow the two to talk to each other at high speed. I am hoping this means we can do away with having double-lots of memory (my 4870x2 has 2GB but it is virtually no more useful than a 4870x1's 1GB) by sharing memory access between the two chips. 5870x2 with 2GB of pooled memory that both chips can access simultaneously would just be WiN!.

Before I invest in any 58xx card though, I want to see how the GT-300 fares up (x2 will probably wait until this is about to come out anyway). Aside from anything else, new heated competition will make the ATi cards cheaper.

Meh, they will always be ATi as far as I'm concerned. Guess that makes me an old boy...

RE: Nvidia are definitely on the back foot....
By JPForums on 9/24/2009 7:51:03 AM , Rating: 1
the 4870 came out before the gtx 280 and the 4870x2 came out before the gtx 295

The GTX280/260 launched in June 2008 just days before the 4870/4850. I seem to remember a big deal about nVidia trying to crash ATi's party and ATi delaying the launch. ATi didn't get the single card crown until the very prompt release of the 4870x2 in August of 2008. The GTX295, however, wasn't released until early 2009.

amd may have had that advantage due to earlier releases

Even if the 4870 had launched before the GTX280, the short period of time between when one company updates their line up and the other follows suit is hardly enough to warrant saying the performance crown has changed hands anyways. However, the time period between the launches of the 4870x2 and the GTX295 was significant. ATi's promptness legitimately earned them the performance crown for a short period with the 4870x2.

the gtx 295 IS STILL faster than a single 5870

You are correct. While the 5870 is the fastest single gpu on the market, the GTX295 still holds the title of fastest single card. That said, the fastest multicard configuration most certainly goes to the 5870. Though, we'll have to wait for g300 from nVidia before we can justify a change of hands for the crown. This, of course, assumes nVidia will have g300 out in the next 2 months or so. As far as a 5870x2 goes, we'll just have to wait and see. It seems ATi will be dealing with the same issues that plagued the GTX295 this time (power and heat). So it may be a while in coming.

RE: Nvidia are definitely on the back foot....
By Targon on 9/24/2009 9:21:47 AM , Rating: 2
Not just out, NVIDIA needs to have their new parts available for sale. Paper launches really should not count.

By afkrotch on 9/25/2009 5:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
Tell that to ATI, not Nvidia. Nvidia hasn't done a paper launch for a while now.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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