The ATI Radeon HD 5870 is the first graphics card from ATI's 5000 series and is also the first card in the world that supports DirectX 11, the latest graphics standard according to Microsoft.
Now that the ATI Radeon HD 5870 has launched, you can expect a gamut of 5000 series cards soon from ATI's stable.
We got a reference ATI Radeon HD 5870 card directly from ATI so you can expect some minor changes when individual manufacturers release their take on the card - we've previously reviewed the HIS take on the ATI HD 5870: see HIS Radeon HD 5870 review. The ATI card looks sleek (a bit like the classic Batmobile) and is the same length and about the same weight as the HD 4870x2.
ATI says that you should be able to pick up a board from several manufacturers for around £300 to £350. Click here for the latest offers on ATI HD 5870 graphics cards.
The reference card had a plastic cover on the front and a fan set in it. The front had two air intake/exhaust outlets and the card can be powered through the two six-pin power inlets set in its side. Unlike other reference models which go barebones on ports, this one had two DVI ports, an HDMI port and a Display port. Plus, thanks to ATI's new Eyefinity technology, you can use the card to output visuals to up to six displays, provided your card manufacturer gives you all six ports.
Let us now get down to the nitty-gritty of performance. ATI's main motive behind launching the 5000 series is to give a boost to performance figures and we can tell you, the ATI Radeon HD 5870 gives a solid start to the line-up. At the very outset we have no hesitation in declaring that the HD 5870 is the fastest single GPU card in the world today.
In fact the only competition that it has is from Nvidia's GTX 295 and ATI's own HD 4870x2, both dual GPU cards. In 3D Mark Vantage's Extreme mode, the HD 5870 scored 8,145 marks slightly lesser than the GTX 295 but more than the HD 4870x2. Similarly in Crysis, at 1920x1200 with 8xAA and Very High settings, the card managed 28 fps and in Far Cry 2 at the same resolution and settings and resolution, it pushed out 58fps. Overall, the HD 5870 gives about 10 percent more performance than the HD 4870x2 and about 8 percent less performance than the GTX 295.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>