Print 76 comment(s) - last by xioxio.. on Nov 19 at 4:49 PM

ATI keeps punching, but when will Nvidia fight back?

ATI has been enjoying a lot of success with its GPUs for the last year and a half, but it has hit new highs over the last two months by launching four new graphics cards supporting DirectX 11. The Radeon HD 5800 series was first out for enthusiasts in September, followed by the Radeon HD 5700 series for mainstream gamers.

As the only provider of DirectX 11 GPUs out there, the graphics division of AMD can afford to take a slower paced approach to product launches. However, the company has decided to launch one more product just before Black Friday and the start of the Christmas shopping season.

“With the arrival of the ATI Radeon HD 5970, the fastest graphics card in the world, we’ve cemented AMD as the unquestioned graphics leader,” said Matt Skynner, Vice President and General Manager of AMD's Graphics Group. “With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, the new card, coupled with the awesome power of ATI Eyefinity technology, is the ultimate setup for serious gamers.”

The Radeon HD 5970 is targeted squarely at bleeding edge enthusiasts who will settle for nothing but the best. ATI is moving away from its X2 nomenclature in order to more fully differentiate its highest end product. It combines two Cypress cores used in the Radeon HD 5870 together in a single graphics card. The new card uses a second generation PLX bridge in order to combine the power of the two chips more effectively.

Using two 40nm Cypress chips allows the new card to have double the Stream Processors and ROPs of the Radeon 5870. However, the chips and GDDR5 RAM are only clocked at the same level as the Radeon HD 5850 in order to conserve power. The board is rated for maximum power consumption of 294W, and only consumes 42W at idle.

Those concerned more with performance than power consumption need not worry. The Radeon HD 5970 uses specially screened Cypress chips, and is easily overclockable to Radeon 5870 levels with ATI's OverDrive technology. The board is unlocked, so overclockers can go as high as their guts (and cooling) will allow.

In order to aid overclockers, ATI's reference board uses proprietary high-performance digital programmable voltage regulators made by specialty firm Volterra. Pure ceramic supercapacitors sourced from Japan are used, and real time power monitoring is available.

The GPUs could be overclockable to 1GHz and beyond, while the GDDR5 RAM is rated for 1.5Ghz/5Gbps.

There are three outputs on the card in order to enable ATI's Eyefinity multi-display technology. Three monitors can be used at the same time using the two dual-link DVI ports and single mini-DisplayPort. New Catalyst 9.11 drivers have also been released, adding support for the new cards and Flash acceleration.

The Radeon HD 5970 is available immediately at retailers and through the channel for an MSRP of $599. The ATI Radeon HD 5970 is supported by a wide range of add-in-board companies, including ASK, Asus, Club 3D, Diamond, Gigabyte, High Tech, MSI, Sapphire, Tul/Power Color, Visiontek and XFX. It also launches today in new Alienware Area-51, Area-51 ALX and Aurora desktop PCs.

NVIDIA has been saying that their next generation gaming GPU will be available before the end of the year, although that has become increasingly unlikely.

Based on the latest information available, the Radeon HD 5970 is likely to be the fastest single card solution for the next six months.

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RE: So basically...
By weskurtz0081 on 11/18/2009 9:13:25 AM , Rating: 4
Just because you can't find them on store shelves RIGHT NOW doesn't mean they haven't been on store shelves. People have bought them and store have run out of stock. The retail channel might not be FULL of these cards, but they certainly are flowing, at some rate.

RE: So basically...
By ImSpartacus on 11/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: So basically...
By weskurtz0081 on 11/18/2009 10:53:45 AM , Rating: 2
Judging availability on whether B&M stores have had it? I don't understand the logic behind that being the deciding factor.

As far as the price of the 5970 vs 5870, I don't think the entire price of the video card is the cost of the die alone. You can just say "since the 5870 msrp is $400, then the die must be $400", that is making one HUGE assumption and completely leaving out ALL other costs involved in the price of the product.

Yeah, they have yield problems, doesn't change the fact that the cards HAVE been available on the market, consumers have bought them.

RE: So basically...
By AnnihilatorX on 11/18/2009 1:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't actually $300 per die. It'd be more like $40 or so. Die is only a fraction of the cost of each card. The 8 layer PCBs are quite expensive, as well as the power regulator components. I would not say their margin is cut by 25% of the 5870.

RE: So basically...
By monomer on 11/18/2009 1:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be amazed if Cypress has even hit a B&M. Cypress yields are terrible right now. The 5850 might as well not exist, AMD is trying to make as much money as possible with each and every die.

5870's have shown up in some of my local B&M computer stores, but they are sold out within a day of arrival. I haven't seen any since about a week or two after launch though, and I've never seen a 5850 available.

RE: So basically...
By Parhel on 11/18/2009 1:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
5850 is in stock at Newegg right now:

Better be quick though.

RE: So basically...
By jonmcc33 on 11/18/2009 2:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
Sold out.


RE: So basically...
By Parhel on 11/18/2009 2:19:52 PM , Rating: 2
I just saw that too. It was up for a few hours though.

RE: So basically...
By jonmcc33 on 11/18/2009 2:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said before, the 5970 launch was just so AMD could say, "Mine's bigger!"

No, it was because they had the product available. Why not put it on the market if you have it available? They already left nVIDIA in the dust with the 5870 and now nVIDIA looks like old news with this 5970 release.

And hell, the MSRP for the other cards went up. That is unheard of. We're supposed to have price cuts, not price increases. That's how bad the situation is.

Not sure if you were ever taught supply and demand but that reflects the reason for prices. It's the same reason that DDR2 has doubled in price from what it was a year ago. Demand for the Radeon HD 5850 is huge and nVIDIA has nothing on the market to compete. Because of that, AMD can increase the MSRP.

RE: So basically...
By ClownPuncher on 11/18/2009 2:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, I was able to get a 5850 with little trouble, though that was launch week off of Newegg. I walked into Frys about 2 weeks ago and they had about 10.


That's why this 5970 move doesn't make sense for them. I can't find a price in the article, but I'm going to assume the 5970 won't be more than 600USD. That's $300/die. Why would AMD sell their precious Cypress dice at a 25% discount of the $400 5870? Like I said before, the 5970 launch was just so AMD could say, "Mine's bigger!"

Eh, first the $600 price tag is to reflect that the 5970 performs equally to s 5850's in CF. As far as the relevance of the launch, this card caters to the Eyefinity crowd, since even the 5870 has little trouble gaming in 99% of games at max quality @ 2560x1600. Lastly, the price went up because of demand. Why cut prices when there is no competition?

RE: So basically...
By xioxio on 11/19/2009 4:49:39 PM , Rating: 2
And hell, the MSRP for the other cards went up.

Yea...with new card out, you would think the others will go down, instead it went up. Isn't this the second time 5870 gone up?

I been an Nvidia fan, but the dx 11 got me to go with ATi. I been waiting for 5870 for a while now. At this rate, it looks like I won't be able to get one until probably after Christmas is over =/. If it's still out of stock after Christmas, I'm saying good bye to ATi before I even use their product.
5970 looks nice, but price is kind of high.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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