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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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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

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.


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