This is the incredibly new ATI Radeon HD 5970 and it is the fastest graphics chip on the market at present. We shall be reviewing the OC Edition from Sapphire. It looks, physically, just like previous versions, of course, with a different graphic on the top face. Besides the PCI Express interface at the bottom, the top side has the red horizontal “ATI Radeon” badge and two CrossFire connectors beside it, near the front of the card. Utilizing the new ATI Eyefinity technology are the two DVI connectors at the front and mini DisplayPort connector. The mini DisplayPort is a little bit unrecognizable but most cards do come with an adapter to transform a mini DisplayPort into a regular DisplayPort for your monitor.
It also has two PCI Express power connectors. One of them is a 6-pin and the other is an 8-pin. According to the PCI Express 1.0 specifications, the HD 5970 can only use 300 watts of total power. This is why it is a mixture in design between an HD 5870 and a HD 5850 X2 and not an HD 5870 X2. If they clocked it at the same speed as an HD 5870 then they’d have to go over the power specifications that are to be allowed for the card. With this in mind, ATI is definitely encouraging users to overclock this card to match the configuration of the HD 5870. The latest ATI Catalyst Control Center allows you to overclock the GPU voltage by a little bit to accomplish that.
Going back to the features of this card, we did mention it has support for the Eyefinity technology. ATI has updated their drivers to support Eyefinity in CrossFire mode because the HD 5970 is indeed a dual GPU card. If you look at the bottom of the card you’ll see two backplates on the card which are reserved for the two GPUs. What Eyefinity does here is output to three displays from two different video processors. It is a very complicated driver so the only games that are supported are the ones that ATI specifically chooses to unlock to work with the video card. This may be a nuisance right now but support will increase and the list of games that are already supported is quite big.
There is also support for DirectX 11 which means that you can play the best games out there for this platform but only on Windows Vista and Windows 7. The size of the card is quite large in comparison to the HD 3870 which was released not long ago. It is going to extend over your motherboard by five or so inches. Being almost twelve inches long, you are going to want to make sure you get a case that as a lot of space for a long expansion card.