Creating the Juggernaut - ATI Radeon HD 5870 CrossFireX Analysis


The Radeon HD 5870 Cards

The ASUS EAH5870

The ASUS EAH5870 looks just like any other Radeon HD 5870 card on the market right now and it is also specced similarly, which means it is clocked 850MHz at the core and 4400MHz DDR at the memory. However, it differentiates itself from the competition by offering voltage tweaking via its SmartDoctor utility.

SmartDoctor is ASUS' usual overclocking software that allows you to tweak the card's settings, like clock and fan speeds while monitoring the temperature. The one with the ASUS EAH5870 adds in Vcore voltage tweaking, potentially allowing you to achieve higher clock speeds at the core, and stretching your overclocking experience. As a plus, the ASUS EAH5870 also allows you to redeem a downloadable copy of Dirt 2, one of the first games to officially support DirectX 11 when it comes out for the PC later this December.

The ASUS EAH5870 retains the ASUS' "Death Knight" packaging, which proudly proclaims its "Voltage Tweak" functionality.

The ASUS EAH5870 uses ATI's reference cooler and as such looks identical to the PowerColor HD 5870, save for the ASUS stickers.

ASUS' Smart Doctor tweaking utility is a step up from ATI's own Overdrive overclocking utility thanks to its ability to allow users to control the GPU's Vcore values, allowing for greater overclocking potential.

The PowerColor HD 5870

The PowerColor HD 5870 is your no-frills Radeon HD 5870, which we previously featured for our first Radeon HD 5870 review. The card doesn't come with any special bundled software or games unlike the ASUS card, and comes with reference clock speeds and ATI's redesigned stock cooler. It's a simple package for those who demand nothing but the absolute fastest graphics card, nothing more, nothing less.

Unlike ASUS, PowerColor has gone for a fresh look with the launch of the Radeon HD 5870, ditching the "warrior princess" that we are so familiar with.

If you peel away all the PowerColor and ASUS stickers and branding on both cards, you'll find that they are a carbon copy of one another.