Can you get great gaming performance for $99? That’s the burning question we wanted to answer when the XFX Radeon HD 5670 arrived. The version we tested, with 512MB of GDDR5, can be found for just under a hundred buckazoids on the web. The other question: How well does it stack up against a similarly priced Nvidia card?
Like other Radeon 5000 series GPUs, the 5670 chip is built on a 40nm manufacturing process. For those still trying to wrap their heads around the huge size of the Radeon HD 5970, the 5670 is a mere 6.5 inches long, occupies just a single PCI-E slot, and has no requirements for a power connector. The two cards, of course, are not in the same class.
XFX's Radeon HD 5670 delivers DirectX 11 on a budget.
The HD 5670 has half the stream processors, texture units, and ROPs of the Radeon HD 5770. The GPU core is also clocked lower, as is the GDDR5 memory. With these specs, we expected something to give when running games. Sure enough, when we tried running modern games at 1680x1050 at high detail, the frame rates were unacceptable. Antialiasing? No way.
We took the XFX card for a spin on our graphics test system, a Core i7-975 with 6GB of fast DDR, dialed the graphics option down a couple of notches and re-ran our benchmark games at 1280x720 (or 1280x768 for Battle Forge). Since we were running at a relatively low resolution, we did pump up AA to 4x, just to keep our eyes from bleeding at all the jaggies. We also ran our suite of tests on an EVGA GeForce GT 240, a $99 card based on Nvidia’s GT 240 GPU. Like the AMD GPU, the GT 240 also has 512MB of GDDR5 running at 790MHz, and a core clock of 550MHz.
The Verdict? The XFX card beat the EVGA card in most benchmarks, but the overall margins were fairly small. The sub-$100 category keeps getting better—but games keep getting more demanding. If you’re willing to sacrifice resolution and graphics detail, the XFX Radeon HD 5670 should get the job done. It’s not a strong card for gaming, but it should shine in home theater PCs and other environments that have space and power constraints.
XFX Radeon HD 5670
Fire in the Hole!
One-slot wide; no power connector needed; low cost.
Resolution and detail need to be dialed down for decent gaming performance.
XFX Radeon HD 5670
EVGA GeForce GT 240
3DMark Vantage Performance (fps)
Battle Forge / DX10
Far Cry 2 / Action (fps)
Far Cry 2 / Ranch Long (fps)
STALKER: Call of Pripyat (fps)
Dirt 2 (fps)
Best scores are bolded. Our test system uses a 3.33GHz Core i7-95 Extreme Edition, 6GB of DDR3/1333, and Windows 7. Games were run at 1280x720 (except for BattleForge, which was run at 1280x768), and tested at medium-high detail with 4x AA.