Sapphire HD 5670 1GB GDDR5 Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     January 13, 2010

Sapphire HD 5670 1GB GDDR5 Review

Product Number: 11168-00
$125 USD (this version)
$115 USD (reference 1GB)
$100 USD (512MB)
Warranty: 2-years
Buy from: NCIX | DirectCanada | BestDirect

Welcome to the review of yet another ATI DX11 graphics card. In recent months we have seen the release of the ultra high end HD 5970, the well-endowed but surprisingly affordable HD 5870 and HD 5850 and the more budget friendly but equally impressive HD 5770 and HD 5750. Now ATI is rounding out their already-full stable not with a thoroughbred that is designed to push high framerates but rather with a number of cards which will appeal to casual gamers and HTPC enthusiasts. Basically, it is being marketed to people who donít need blazingly fast performance but understand the value of efficiency, HD decoding capabilities and passable 3D performance. Say hello to Redwood.

Redwood is the code name for a whole series of products ranging from the $115 USD Redwood XT-based HD 5670 1GB to the $100 512MB version and the sub-$100 HD5570 and HD5550 which use the Redwood Pro core. These products follow closely in the highly successful footsteps of the HD 4670 and HD 4650 which will still be around through Q2 of 2010 but their goal remains the same: bring value to a segment of the market that doesnít get all that much time in the limelight. In this review we will be looking a bit closer at Sapphireís HD 5670 1GB GDDR5 that sports reference clocks but comes decked out in a custom heatsink from Arctic Cooling.

The HD 5670 series also features support for ATIís HyperMemory technology which allows system memory to be dedicated on the fly for use by the GPU. While it is doubtful this will be much use for cards with 1GB or even 512MB of GDDR5 memory, lower-end products can benefit from this in situations where memory bandwidth becomes a limiting factor.

Since the HD decoding capabilities of ATIís present and past generation chips has been talked about at length in the past, weíll be concentrating on the gaming aspects and capabilities of the HD 5670 1GB in this article. Price-wise it slots into a bit of a grey zone that has popped up in the market within the last few months. With NVIDIA positioning the $99 GT 240 512MB at approximately the same performance as the 9600 GT while still relying on the ages-old 9800 GT 512MB to do most of the grunt work in the sub-$150 market, ATI saw an opening and went for it. Granted, the HD 5670 1GB might be priced above the GT 240 512MB and slightly above the 9800 GT but competition is tough in this price segment, especially with ATIís own $135 to $145 HD 5750 1GB knocking at the door as well.

The logistics of releasing new products across such a wide variety of price points all within four months of one another simply boggles the mind but ATI has done it. Letís see how the newest member of their rapidly growing family fits into the mix.


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