Sapphire took it upon themselves to inject a bit of nitrous oxide into AMD's reference HD 5970 videocard, and the end result is something "Toxic." We're talking about the Sapphire HD 5970 4G Toxic Edition, which boasts twice as much RAM (4GB of GDDR5) as a standard HD 5970, as well as faster clockspeeds.
The core has been pushed to from 725MHz to 900MHz, while the memory runs at 4800MHz (effective) compared to 4000MHz on most other HD 5970 cards. According to Sapphire, this is "not only the fastest card in its class, but the fastest in the world."
To cool the added RAM and higher frequencies, Sapphire partnered with Arctic Cooling to design a wicked looking heatsink/fan assembly. Constructed of nickel plated heatpipes and fins, the cooling contraption consists of three dual-ball bearing fans Sapphire claims are low noise.
Everything else we know about the Toxic Edition is standard fare, if you can even say that about a dual-GPU videocard. What we don't know (yet) is how much it will cost and when it will ship.
AMD's HD 5970 consists of two HD 5870 GPUs shoved under a single hood, but for one reason or another (heat, power consumption, etc), the memory and GPU cores come underclocked from their standalone versions. The GPU cores in a 5970 have been dialed down from 850MHz to 725MHz, while the memory drops from 1200MHz to 1000MHz.
That won't be the case with Asus's "Ares" videocard, which combines two true HD 5870 GPUs into a single package. Asus even says they plan to overclock the core and memory, though by how much is yet to be determined. You'll also find 4GB of GDDR5 crammed inside, twice as much as a standard 5970.
Only those with serious power supplies need apply. The card will require two 8-pin power connectors and a 6-pin connector. And while the length will be the same as any other 5970 part, the Ares is a bit pudgier and takes up 2.5 slots.
Asus didn't say how much the Ares will cost, but did promise to have it out in a couple of months.
AMD today launched the first in a new line of ATI FirePro professional videocards, the FirePro V8800. According to AMD, this is the industry's most powerful workstation graphics card ever created by man, and it's the only one that supports ATI's Eyefinity multi-display technology and Microsoft's DirectX 11 API.
"AMD is the undisputed consumer graphics leader and today we’re bringing many of the same cutting edge innovations from our ATI Radeon™ HD 5000 series to the professional graphics market for the first time. The ATI FirePro V8800 with ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology effectively dissolves visual limitations for professionals,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, AMD Products Group.
Based on AMD's mighty Cypress XT architecture, the FirePro V8800 comes equipped with 1600 stream processors, a 256-bit memory interface, 2GB of GDDR5 memory, OpenGL 3.2 support, Shader Model 5 support, and comes rated at 208W. It also includes four DisplayPorts, a stereo output, and two DP to DVI (single-link) adapters. In short, this is AMD's HD 5870 in workstation form.
The FirePro V8800 is available now for $1,500, and before anyone asks, it can probably run Crysis, but you'd be far better off working in CAD.
As of this writing, you'll still have a tough time finding a GF100 card in stock, and this will likely be the case until next week. In the meantime, ATI partners are still mulling whether or not to cut back pricing on HD 5870 and 5850 parts.
"We have learned that key people at AMD are still waiting to see how many Fermi cards will be available and they will only react if Nvidia manages to have really great sales with its GeForce 400 series," Fudzilla reports.
According to Fudzilla, there are a handful of ATI partners seriously considering lowering the prices of HD 5870 and 5850 parts, but such a move would not be supported by AMD. Instead, the price difference would come out of the AIB partners' profits.
What's interesting about all this is that AMD had originally wanted the HD 5870 to sell for around $380, but you'd be hard pressed to find one for under $400 street, with some SKUs approaching the $500 mark. If AMD were to cut pricing down to its original target, Fermi might have a tough time flying off store shelves.
Now that Fermi has launched (on paper, anyway) and taken the single-GPU performance crown, is it ATI's turn to return fire with a new GPU of its own? Probably not, at least not right away.
Fudzilla claims to have spoken with "people close to ATI" and the general feeling is that ATI doesn't feel real threatened by Fermi. One reason for this is that Fermi hasn't actually shipped yet, though it will later this month. But the lack of a next-gen dual-GPU part from Nvidia also has ATI feeling comfortable with its Radeon HD 5970, still the fastest videocard on the planet.
Not a whole lot was said, at least from what Fudzilla is reporting, but you have to believe that power consumption and pricing both are playing roles in ATI's confidence. Nvidia's flagship GTX 480, while mostly faster than ATI's HD 5870, also costs more and puts a bigger strain on your power supply.
What would you do if you made the decisions for ATI? Hit the jump and sound off!
Tomorrow's supposed to be the big day for Fermi (or early April, according to reports suggesting initial availability will be pretty tight), but even though the long wait is almost over, there's still plenty of demand for ATI's HD 5000 series.
"Graphics cards manufacturers who are selling both Nvidia and ATI are confirming that 58x0 and 59x0 series of ATI cards are still selling great and of course the cheaper 5000 series such as 57x0 and slower didn't slow up in sales," Fudzilla reports.
ATI's cards must be selling well, or at least well enough to have a tough time producing enough stock to fill the demand. Trying to snag a dual-GPU HD 5970 is no easy task, even as expensive as it is. And while HD 5870 cards are easier to come by, Newegg and other vendors often show several SKUs as being out of stock.
That's great for ATI, but it also allows the GPU maker to avoid have to slash prices. Could Fermi change that? We'll find out soon enough.
Terry Makedon, the main man behind AMD's ATI Catalyst drivers who goes by the nick "CatalystMaker" on Twitter, announced in a recent tweet that the "Official Catalyst 10.3 is now live."
AMD previously promised improved Eyefinity support in the new drivers, and Catalyst 10.3 delivers. According to the release notes, users can now create multiple ATI Eyefinity groups from multiple displays. Display Bezel Compensation is also bundled in, which includes an easy-to-use wizard to adjust the display layout to remove pixels hidden behind bezels.
On the performance front, AMD claims a number of improvements, including up to 4 percent better scores in 3DMark Vantage, 5 percent in Aliens vs. Predator, up to 8 percent in Battleforge, up to 6 percent in Call of Duty: World at War, up to 6 percent in Company of Heroes, up to 6 percent in both Crysis and Crysis Warhead, up to 10 percent in Devil May Cry 4, up to a whopping 30 percent in DiRT 2 (HD 5970 owners), and the list goes on.
Sapphire today announced a new version of its HD 5850 Toxic Edition videocard. Unlike previous HD 5850 models, the newest model sports 2GB of GDDR5 memory, twice as much as any other 5850 card on the market.
The card also comes factory overclocked to 765MHz on the core and 1125MHz (4500MHz effective) on the RAM. By comparison, ATI's reference design calls for a 725MHz core and 1000MHz (4000MHz effective) memory.
Sapphire's also talking up the "world leading Vapor-X technology" on the 2GB card. According to Sapphire, the Vapor-X cooling solution results in temperatures up to 15C chillier than what you'll get with a reference cooler, while also running up to 10dB quieter.
Have you ever seen a videocard with 5 mini DisplayPorts? You have now, thanks to Powercolor, who this week announced its HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 videocard.
"As the first graphics solution to support up to 5 displays, the Powercolor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 delivers an immersive HD gaming performance with wider field of view and increases productivity at the same time," says Ted Chen, CEO of TUL Corporation.
Of course, trying to run a high-end game across 5 monitors on a mid-range card may prove a bit challenging, but if you've ever wanted to try, you now can. Powercolor's card comes with the core clocked to 850MHz, while the memory races alonga t 1200MHz on a 128-bit bus.
Nvidia has been pretty tight lipped when it comes to Fermi's performance numbers, but as the March 26th launch date approaches, a few additional details are starting to leak out. This time it's a video documenting some early benchmarks, giving us our first real peak at Fermi's performance. Of course we would be remiss if we didn't mention that the Heaven benchmark utility demonstrated in the video was administered solely by Nvidia themselves, and as such, the results should be taken with a grain of salt until we've had our own opportunity to put it through its paces.
The demo shows the GTX 480 pushing out some pretty impressive frame rates, even besting the ATI 5870 results they claim to have run earlier, but it certainly doesn't look like as big a margin as we were hoping for. The GTX 480 as you might recall is going to be the companies new high end offering, and although no pricing has yet been announced, rumors have put it somewhere in the $700 USD range. The Radeon 5870's by comparison can be found starting at around $380. If the rumored pricing ends up being true the more realistic comparison would be the Radeon 5970 vs. the GTX 480.
Only time will tell if the GTX 480 & 470 cards are as hot or as expensive as we fear, but one thing is for certain, the silence and vague details isn't helping their cause. Click the jump to check out the video for yourself. Did the demonstration win you over?