Monday, November 16th 2009

Radeon HD 5970 Offers Massive Overclocking Headroom

AMD's dual-GPU flagship graphics accelerator, the Radeon HD 5970, is closer than you think it is. Slated for 18th Nov, it includes every feature that allows AMD to reclaim the performance leadership it yearned for since the beginning of this year. In a series of company slides sourced from XtremeSystems Forums, it is learned that this could be one of the first accelerators which AMD "openly" markets as having a "Massive Headroom" for overclocking. While the clock speeds on the HD 5970 are lower than those on the single-GPU HD 5870, AMD lifted limits on what the driver-level ATI Overdrive software can offer in terms of clock speeds. While the engine (core) and memory speeds are set at 720/1000 MHz, the unlocked ATI Overdrive lets users take the clock speeds all the way up to 1000/1500 MHz. That's 30% for the core, and a stellar 50% for the memory.

To back such speeds, AMD seems to have splurged heavily on top-notch components on the PCB. To begin with, the PCB holds two high-grade AMD Cypress GPUs, each with all its 1600 stream processors enabled. The GDDR5 memory, while clocked at 1000 MHz or 4 GT/s, is technically rated by its manufacturer to run at 1250 MHz or 5 GT/s. All systems are powered by high-grade digital PWM voltage regulators, with independent Volterra VRM controllers that allow real-time monitoring, and software voltage control. Barring the five-odd cylindrical solid-state capacitors, Japanese pure ceramic surface-mount capacitors are extensively made use of.

The card's cooling assembly isn't any less descriptive either. It consists of a back-plate that cools memory chips on the reverse side of the PCB, while its obverse side is cooled by a large, consistent vapor-chamber plate, which covers the main components such as GPUs, the PCI-Express bridge chip, and the VRM chips. This is a design change compared to the R700 and R680, in which each GPU had its own heatsink, and one of the two would end up with second-hand (pre-heated) air from the other. Instead, the vapor-chamber plate conveys heat directly to a large, monolithic heatsink, which from the looks of it, features aluminum-fabbed air-channels. AMD's workhorse leaf-blower is still around, though this time, it is controlled by an SMSC EMC-2103 multi-point programmable PWM fan controller. The specs sheet shows the card's idle and maximum board power draws to be 42W and 294W, respectively.


Source: XtremeSystems Forums
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90 Comments on Radeon HD 5970 Offers Massive Overclocking Headroom

#1
overclocker
Wow looks sick, makes me almosy wanna buy a desktop again :P
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#2
DirectorC
And it's gonna cost me my farm and my peg leg.
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#3
DaJMasta
Holy hell.


I haven't heard of ANY high end card with such high percentage OCs EVER. Could it be that they don't want to invest in a better cooler (could be way expensive), so they are essentially selling an undercooled, underclocked version for people to tinker with as they please?

EDIT: Looks like not if the cooling beast on it is rated for 400W.


Maybe the Overdrive has just been opened up a little for their uber high end, but still it looks good just from that.
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#6
erocker
Now I see why Sapphire released that info on their VaporX technology. ATi is using it here on a stock card! What a beast, and it "supposedly" uses less power than a 4870X2.
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#7
DirectorC
IIRC 4870x2 used an average of just a little over 300, so this card at 294W peak isn't really a whole lot to brag about, but it does run a hell of a lot faster and when you take that into consideration the numbers change drastically.
Posted on Reply
#8
HTC
by: DirectorC
IIRC 4870x2 used an average of just a little over 300, so this card at 294W peak isn't really a whole lot to brag about, but it does run a hell of a lot faster and when you take that into consideration the numbers change drastically.
Supposedly, this card will give the performance of two 4870x2 with just a tad bit less power of a single 4870x2. With that in mind, "drastically" doesn't quite describe it ...
Posted on Reply
#9
DirectorC
by: HTC
Supposedly, this card will give the performance of two 4870x2 with just a tad bit less power of a single 4870x2. With that in mind, "drastically" doesn't quite describe it ...
:laugh:

Alright then, we'll change it to 'monumentally staggering'. ;)
Posted on Reply
#10
Kenshai
by: DaJMasta
Holy hell.


I haven't heard of ANY high end card with such high percentage OCs EVER. Could it be that they don't want to invest in a better cooler (could be way expensive), so they are essentially selling an undercooled, underclocked version for people to tinker with as they please?

EDIT: Looks like not if the cooling beast on it is rated for 400W.


Maybe the Overdrive has just been opened up a little for their uber high end, but still it looks good just from that.
I'm pretty sure they aren't clocking it too high so as to brag about it's great overclocking potential. Marketing ploys I assume.
Posted on Reply
#11
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
I'll wait for W1zz's review before I make any conclusions on the ability of the 5970.
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#12
eidairaman1
who cares, Nvidia did the same thing with the 295.
Posted on Reply
#13
HTC
by: Kenshai
I'm pretty sure they aren't clocking it too high so as to brag about it's great overclocking potential. Marketing ploys I assume.
Look @ this pic (point #5 of slide 8):



It's the 7th pic found in the link i posted earlier, from jaredpace.
Posted on Reply
#14
AsRock
TPU addict
Hey don't forget that 42w idle power usage which is much better than the 4870x2.

Maybe they clocked it lower to let those who do overclock them get a better 3rd party cooler which would be more suitable.

Still thinking of waiting till the 68xx range.
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#15
Sasqui
I haven't even opened my 5850 and I'm selling it.
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#16
Kenshai
by: HTC
Look @ this pic (point #5 of slide 8):

http://i35.tinypic.com/2641gr9.jpg

It's the 7th pic found in the link i posted earlier, from jaredpace.
Your point is? Basically every company says overclock at your own risk, it's taking fault out of ATI's hands and putting it in that of the consumer. Basically watching their own back. They could have clocked it higher from the factory.

All they're really saying is, you can bring it there with overdrive, not that it will.
Posted on Reply
#17
HTC
by: Kenshai
Your point is? Basically every company says overclock at your own risk, it's taking fault out of ATI's hands and putting it in that of the consumer. Basically watching their own back. They could have clocked it higher from the factory.

All they're really saying is, you can bring it there with overdrive, not that it will.
Not that: the 2nd sentence, where it says the OC potential has been left uncapped.
Posted on Reply
#18
mastrdrver
This is awesome, but if I jump on one I'm waiting until someone puts out one with two 8-pin connectors. Its so close to pushing the available power it can pull through the 6-pin, 8-pin, and pci-e slot that I'm not too sure how stable if you really start to push it like we've seen with the 5870s.

Either way, I hope the vaper cooler works a lot better than what they have used with the 4870x2 and 3870x2. I know everyone always rants about Sapphire's vapor cards, but this will really prove the tech in case anyone had any doubts.

by: DirectorC
And it's gonna cost me my farm and my peg leg.
Better get to it! You only got 2 days until it is released!! :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#19
Kenshai
I'm not trying to start flaming, I was just stating that the cards are underclocked and they are advertising some crazy headroom. The simple math is if the cards were put at 850 core and 1200 memory that the 5870 has, the percentages wouldn't seem as outrageous.
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#20
aj28
by: Kenshai
I'm pretty sure they aren't clocking it too high so as to brag about it's great overclocking potential. Marketing ploys I assume.
That and I think the image of having an overclocking tool built into stock drivers does a lot for them. The only problem is that people who are serious about overclocking these chips turn to third-party tools due to the relatively modest limits and featureless interface.

That said, temp monitoring and voltage tweaks in Overdrive = Massive win for ATi in the enthusiast market.

While I understand they wish to avoid warranty issues and whatnot, I feel this should be an added feature of XT chips. As they pointed out in the slides, these things are now being binned for high and low clock speed potential. When you think about it, there's no point in slapping a potential high-end chip on a lower-grade product when it is likely not to be overclocked by its owner. Conversely, if your high-grade products contain only the higher-grade chips, the public are more likely to get larger overclocks and thus you get larger publicity where it really matters. This could really do a lot for their reputation if they were to roll it out throughout their product lineup...

by: Kenshai
I'm not trying to start flaming, I was just stating that the cards are underclocked and they are advertising some crazy headroom. The simple math is if the cards were put at 850 core and 1200 memory that the 5870 has, the percentages wouldn't seem as outrageous.
Well no kidding, but you could say that for any product from any manufacturer. In fact they're blatantly requiring that AIBs use memory rated much higher than they intend to clock it. There is nothing wrong with this, especially given the ease with which the average user can overclock these things.
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#21
eidairaman1
by: Kenshai
I'm not trying to start flaming, I was just stating that the cards are underclocked and they are advertising some crazy headroom. The simple math is if the cards were put at 850 core and 1200 memory that the 5870 has, the percentages wouldn't seem as outrageous.
I wasn't talking about you, i was talking about Overclocking101. We really don't need antagonizers here. I was just trying to tell them to quit with the talk about How Nvidia is bad etc when TBH both companies have made great products for their timelines.
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#22
eidairaman1
by: Sasqui
I haven't even opened my 5850 and I'm selling it.
WHY!?
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#23
Binge
Overclocking Surrealism
I give it to ATI, this exceeds my expectations of them :toast:
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#24
Polarman
That multipoint fan control thingy sounds interesting.

Will this be released at the same time as Cat's 9.11?
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#25
Kenshai
by: Polarman
That multipoint fan control thingy sounds interesting.

Will this be released at the same time as Cat's 9.11?
Btarunr said NDA lifts on the 19th, so I assume the card will be available around then as well at the new drivers.
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