With the much anticipated release of the Radeon HD 5 series a success on many levels, the ATI crowd has much to celebrate. The new 5 series cards put ATI back on top of the video card market. They can now boast of the new DX11 capability and the Eyefinity technology introduced with the higher-end 5 series cards. The 5870 is almost at the top of the pack for the new generation of cards, with the 5970 in the lead and the 5450 bringing up the rear. All in all, ATI has to be loving the massive success these cards have brought them. The ASUS EAH5870 that has been provided for testing from our buddies at ASUS certainly has a lot of hype to live up to. With Nvidia’s release of the new 4 series cards, their top end GTX480, is the main competitor for the 5870.
Overclocking Software and Results:
ASUS SmartDoctor is included as one of the utilities on your ASUS driver CD. Once installed and running, you will be greeted with the above screen. This is where you can tweak the voltage on the card. You will also be able to change your core speed and memory from this area as well. Our one complaint with the software, as mentioned in our ENGTX480 review, is the GUI. It looks so 90’s compared to other software on the market that does the same thing. We think the GUI could use a nice revamping to give it a better and more up-to-date look.
In the ‘Settings’ area of SmartDoctor, you can see two different sections, one for fan control and another for temperature alarm. The Fan Control section is very easy to customize and will let you set how fast you want your fan running at specific temperatures. This is a very simple way to tweak the fan settings in order to get the most out of your card. The other screen shot (right) let’s you put alarm settings on your video card’s temperatures. This may help keep your mind at ease during long gaming sessions.
We started overclocking with no voltage tweak, just to see what we could get out of the card, for people who do not like to mess with voltages. We finally ended up with an overclock of 950/1335, a 9.4% gain on core speeds and 11.2% increase on memory speeds. Next, we upped the voltage to 1.39 on the 5870 and ended up with a nice overclock of 1008/1351, a 16.1% increase on core speeds and 12.5% increase on memory speeds. Overall, these are very nice overclocks, as no overclocking is guaranteed by manufacturers.
All Settings At Stock:
CPU stock GPU OC @ 950/1335
CPU stock GPU OC @ 1008/1351 @ 1.39v
CPU @ 4GHz GPU OC @ 1008/1351 @ 1.39v
3dMark – All Settings
We will not add much to the charts above as they do a great job of speaking for themselves. You can clearly see what each setting used on the video card will get you in terms of gaming performance. Now you can make a more informed decision on what settings you will need to run your game of choice, whether it is overclocked or not.
Unigine – Heaven v2.1
Unigine – Tropics v1.3
Unigine: Sanctuary v2.3
*All tests ran at the applications highest allowable detailed settings*
Alien Breed Evolution:
Battlefield – Bad Company 2:
Call of Juarez:
Company of Heroes:
Warhammer – Dawn of War II:
Devil May Cry 4:
Far Cry 2:
Final Fantasy XIV:
Tom Clancy’s – Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter:
Just Cause 2:
Mass Effect 2:
Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2:
Street Fighter IV:
Team Fortress 2:
Wings of Prey:
World in Conflict:
With the temperature chart above, you can see how good the temperatures really are with this card. Idle temperatures, under all three clock settings, are very low and acceptable for any air-cooled card. The ASUS EAH5870 does a great job at keeping load temperatures in check, even when we raised the voltage on the card, the load temperature only reached 84C with FurMark running. This is a great accomplishment to have a card with this much horsepower not melt everything in sight while running Furmark on the stock cooler. We were quite impressed with just how well the ASUS EAH5870 did in our temperature test.
Notice in the test below that this is total system power consumption. We tried our best to push the load as much as possible on the video card and nothing else. We ran FurMark at the highest settings our system would allow. We feel FurMark gives the most reliable readings on GPU load and on how much wattage it puts out without stressing other components in the system too much. (Total consumption measured at outlet.)
With the tests above, you can see just how much wattage you can expect to use during gaming/benchmarking. This should assist you with your PSU shopping and the uncertainties that it always brings. You can now refer to the chart above, and make a better decision on how many watts your PSU will need to be able to deliver. The chart will also give you an idea of what to expect from the much loved energy bill you will get every month. The power consumption of this card is definitely not as much as we were thinking it would be. The 5870 had a very friendly 419w usage, fully loaded and overclocked, with extra voltage added to it. Idle wattage is also quite low, which is nice because we can’t always be gaming, as unfortunate as that may be. Overall, very respective numbers in terms of power consumption for such a powerful card. ATI worked hard on this aspect and it shows.
We did not have a decibel meter handy at the time of testing. However, you really don’t need one because there is a definite point where you will start to notice the fan. We have found this line to be at just about the 55% mark. You will notice, without a doubt, that the fan is working when you crank up the fan to 100%. There is no way a normal person can sit in the same room for an extended period of time at this speed. It drove us crazy while we ran it for a few tests, and that was only for about 10 minutes. Maybe some people like the sound of a jet engine coming from their case, however, we could certainly do without it. Suffice it to say that you will not want to leave the fan running at 100% for extended periods of time, but for short benching runs it should be tolerable. The good thing about this card is that with the overall cool temperatures that the card produces, you will rarely, if ever, have to hear the fan noise much over 60%. For this, we are grateful to ASUS/ATI and the cooling solution they have provided.
Overall, the ASUS EAH5870 did a great job with everything we tested it with. It took graphically demanding games and pulled up a lawn chair, sat back, laughed at them, and asked for more. The 5870 kept all the minimum FPS at a playable level at all times. We feel the minimum FPS is one statistic overlooked in gaming and other benchmarks and this is why we provide minimum, maximum, and average FPS for all to see. Average FPS alone can be very misleading, so we make the extra effort to show you everything we can. Overclocking the card was easy, as we have come to expect from ASUS and their great bundled tweaking software. Once they update the interface of the software, we will be sure to shut up about the Windows 95 look of it.
Temperatures of the 5870 were better than expected. We were thinking a card with this much power/performance would crank out a lot of heat. The 82C max temperature we saw with Furmark was a pleasant surprise. As most people will not ever see this temperature, unless possibly while benchmarking, this is great news. The fan, however, is still loud once the card gets hot and the fan gets above 60% speed. This is not a big concern, as explained above, as it would only get to that point during benching.
Our final thought? We would not think twice about recommending this card to any of our friends. The ASUS EAH5870 is a great performing card! For the price, you cannot go wrong and we would be hard pressed to find any competition for it in this range. ASUS has a winner on their hands with the EAH5870, and it will definitely be a card to reckon with for a long time to come.
The ASUS EAH5870 V2 has earned the TechREACTION.net Gold Silicon Award!
You can find the ASUS EAH5870 V2 currently on sale at NewEgg for $389.99 (after MIR).
Thank you to ASUS for the review sample.