SAPPHIRE Technology announces the most exciting development in graphics for several generations – not only the fastest single GPU ever, but also the first video cards to support the advanced graphical features only available in Microsoft DirectX 11 and delivering spectacular video clarity, speed and visual effects, including over multiple monitors.
The SAPPHIRE HD 5870 is based on an advanced new graphics architecture from the ATI division of AMD, the second generation of GPU to be built in its 40nm process. This is the very first series of graphics solutions to support the forthcoming DirectX 11, soon to be introduced with Windows7 and supported in Windows Vista.
With a new 150GB/s memory interface supporting fifth generation GDDR5 memory and a new architecture with a total of 1600 stream processors and 80 texture units* the HD 5870 has twice the computing power of the previous generation. It will be lightning fast with existing DirectX 10.1, DirectX 10 and DirectX 9.0 games and applications – but where it excels will be in new releases ofsoftware using DirectX 11 where it will support stunning new levels of detail, transparency and lighting effects. All of this comes with the modest active power consumption of less that 190W – and using Dynamic Power Management the card has a new super low-power idle mode at 27W.
At the same time, SAPPHIRE will introduce the SAPPHIRE HD 5850, with the slightly smaller configuration of 1440 stream processors and 72 texture units offering users access to the same new generation technology and full DirectX 11 support at a lower price point.
Microsoft DirectX 11 includes DirectCompute 11 which allows the graphics architecture to process general purpose calculations and provides programmers and developers with exciting new ways to programme effects that were never possible before. This includes new capabilities for the interaction between transparent objects, new lighting and accelerated post processing effects as well as physics calculations and accelerated video transcoding. Only hardware like the SAPPHIRE HD 5870 and the SAPPHIRE HD 5850 with their true DirectX 11 implementation can support DirectCompute 11 – earlier and competing DirectX 10hardware can only support a subset of these features.
SAPPHIRE graphics cards based on previous generations of ATI hardware have had the ability to perform a type of image enhancement known as Tessellation, but required special programming to implement it. Now DirectX 11 supports Tessellation, and developers can make full use of this feature to dramatically increase the detail in 3D models – on the fly – and deliver spectacular improvements to the detail and realism of images, including characters, objects and scenes displayed using the 6th generation hardware Tessellation engine in the SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series.
Another performance boost in DirectX 11 comes from its improved support for multi-threading. With DirectX 11 the graphics processors can accept data streams from any number of cores in the CPU, unlike DirectX 10 which could only accept data from one CPU core at a time. This accelerates communications with the stream processors in the GPU and dramatically speeds up applications such as Video transcoding and rendering that are supported by ATI Stream technology. The SAPPHIRE HD 5870 has computing power of 2.7 Teraflops (single precision) or 544Gflops (double precision) – the greatest computing capability ever delivered in a single graphics processor.
Like the previous generation, the SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series has an on board hardware UVD (Unified Video decoder) considerably reducing CPU load and delivering smooth decoding of Blu-ray™ and HD DVD content for both VC-1 and H.264 codecs, as well as Mpeg files. In the SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series the UVD has been enhanced to be able simultaneously to decode two 1080p HD video streams and to be able to display HD video in high quality with Windows Aero mode enabled. HDMI capability has also been upgraded to HDMI 1.3a with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
In addition to spectacular image clarity, speed and visual effects, the SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series supports a new multi-monitor mode known as Eyefinity. This allows a single GPU to display a choice of images over an array of several monitors. The standard card supports up to three monitors, with a resolution of up to 7680 x 1600. Special editions will support up to six monitors from a singlegraphics card. This new feature does not constrain the monitor configuration to be in a linear or rectangular array. L-shaped and T-shaped configurations are allowed, opening up exciting possibilities not just for multi-screen gaming, but also for information systems, multimedia systems and promotional displays.
The SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series is supported by AMD’s DirectX 11 WHQL certified graphics driver which delivers support for all of the key DirectX 11 level features required for new gaming experiences and acceleration of next generation high performance applications.
The SAPPHIRE HD 5870 and HD 5850 standard editions are shipping from 23rd September. Full retail editions of the HD 5870 will include a coupon for Dirt2 – the PC version of this exciting driving game which has full DirectX 11 support – as well as BATTLESTATIONS PACIFIC. SAPPHIRE plans to introduce special editions with enhanced cooling solutions and different memory configurations in the coming weeks.