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    Thumbs up Sapphire Toxic HD 5970 4GB Review

    Introduction:

    Back when the HD 5970 launched in November of 2009, it was the fastest video card on the planet. Fast forward almost 6 months and well, the HD 5970 is still the top dog when it comes to video cards. So what do you do to follow up the fastest video card on the planet? Well if you're Sapphire, you take the best and make it better. As ATI's largest partner, Sapphire has long been known as a source of high end graphics solutions that easily move to the top of the class when they receive the Toxic, Vapor-X or Atomic treatment. While I have not seen an Atomic video card since the HD 4890, the Toxic and Vapor-X cards have been making the rounds. The latest before this behemoth being the Toxic HD 5870 2GB that offered third party cooling and improved performance via higher clock speeds and additional frame buffer memory. Kind of the same story here, with the improvements made to the Toxic HD 5970 4GB. The HD 5970 is a stout card and Sapphire has made the Toxic even more robust with the addition of aftermarket cooling in the Arctic Cooling Xtreme HD 5970 as well as higher clock speeds. Lets see if the new kid has what it takes to move to the front of the line.
    Closer Look:

    The packaging for the Sapphire Toxic HD5970 4GB shows a dark figure on the metallic front panel. The front panel is chock full of information on the cards capabilities that include DirectX 11 and Windows 7 support, Full HD support via HDMI that includes 1080p and 7.1 sound, PCIe 2.1 compliance, Eyefinity readiness and the 4GB of GDDR5 memory on board that can only help with the large resolutions that an Eyefinity setup will run. An added bonus is the inclusion of two popular game titles: Dirt 2 and Modern Warfare 2. Strangely missing is the CrossfireX Logo, but you can be assured the card is capable. The rear panel defines the capabilities of the Toxic as well as a short synopsis of the cards abilities. On the bottom of the rear panel you can see Sapphire's commitment to the environment with the use of recyclable materials in the packaging as well as the long list of awards their products have earned.






    The inner packaging is without information and is a plain cardboard box that houses the Toxic and its accessory bundle. The documentation and game keys are on top of the foam that protects the card from harm. The Toxic is housed in between two foam shells as well as being inside a buble wrap anti-static bag for added protection. The rest of the bundle is housed in a smaller box inside the package and is quite the bundle. Once you pull the card out, its size is evident by comparison to my old school cell phone.

    The bundle that comes with the Toxic HD 5970 is pretty impressive. Not only do you get the standard stuff such as the manual, Crossfire bridge connection, driver disk and D-sub to DVI and HDMI to DVI adapters, but you get a couple other things that you do not normally see bundled with other GPUs. You get not one, but two very popular games (Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and Dirt 2), a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort connection, and the one thing that says use this card in an Eyefinity setup all over the place and active displayport to DVI adapter. The games and the active adapter alone are worth a nice amount of cash by themselves, but for roughly $1100, you should expect to get a few extras.

    Seeing how the bundle shapes up I am sure the card will not disappoint.


    Closer Look:

    When you pop the Toxic out of the wrapper you can see right off the bat that the card and its cooling are huge. Huge in one respect, but when you get down to it, the Toxic HD 5970 is actually about half an inch shorter than the reference card, making fitment into a more modest chassis a possibility. The Toxic is built from a foundation of two Cypress Xt cores and a massive amount of memory to the tune of 4GB of GDDR5. The 40nm cores each are equipped with 4.3 billion transistors, 3200 Stream processors, 160 Texture units, 64ROP's and that 4GB of GDDR5 running through a 512bit (2x256) bus. The standard and even OC editions are often running the clock speeds of an HD 5850 at 725Mhz/1000Mhz or even just a little bump above the weak HD 5850 clocks to 735Mhz on the GPU cores and 1010Mhz on the memory. Not so with the Toxic. Sapphire must have spent some time binning chips to get the Toxic to run at 900Mhz on the two cores and 1200Mhz on the GDDR5 memory, as those are clock speeds that just blow away the stock 5970 frequencies. This of course comes with an expectation of performance, but the key is how well it delivers. To keep the thermals in check, Sapphire has gone out of house with the use of Arctic Cooling's HD5970 Xtreme cooling solution that takes the place of the reference cooling and takes it from a two slot to a true three slot cooling solution. Not as aggresive as the water cooling setup used on the HD 4870x2 Atomic card, but close.









    The Toxic HD 5970 4GB video card says Eyefinity all over it but the connectivity does not include enough connections for six monitors, but definitely comes with enough for a nice three monitor setup with the 2 Dual Link DVI ports and Mini DisplayPort connections. The included mini to standard Displayport adapter and and active adapter make Eyefinity a reality with this card. All you have to supply is the monitors. The rear end of this card is does not have much to show other than a fan connection and the rubber isolation blocks for the Arctic Cooling heat sink. From a side view, you can see just how the heat sink does its job by following the heatpipes over the cores and into the fin array.

    The Toxic is Crossfire capable and can be connected to either another HD 5970 Toxic, for a Quad cor Crossfire setup or you can run it with an HD 5870 for a tri core CrossfireX setup. You can only hook up to one other card based on the single bridge connection. The power source to this card is two 8pin PCIe connections, showing that Sapphire is playing to win and offering the highest clocks you can get.

    The Arctic Cooling Xtreme HD 5970 is a massive cooling solution that hard mounts to the card with a series of screws. The backplate used on the board gives it not only structural rigidity, but a heat sink for the 2GB of memory modules riding on the back side of the Toxic. The cooling solution uses three 92mm fans to push a large amount of air through the fin array. The Xtreme HD 5970 cooler uses a series of heatpipes connected to a copper contact plate and aluminum fin array. Attached over the rear of the card is a fairly stout heat sink over the VRM circuit. This heatsink is designed to handle only 300 watts of thermal load while the stock solution was designed to handle a more robust 400 watts.

    The Toxic uses two Cypress Xt cores to reach a pretty stout set of clocks of 900Mhz on the two cores and 1200Mhz on the GDDR5 memory. In between the cores, you have a bridge chip that has an AMD stamped heat spreader on what has been in the past a PLX technologies chip. Each of the two cores carries a total of 1600 streaming processors, 32 ROPs and 80 texture units with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. T\he memory on this card is supplied by Hynix and is able to be pushed to higher than stock clock frequencies.

    Time to cut to the chase and take a look at just what this card can do in our updated OCC testing.


    Specifications:


    Process
    40nm
    Transistors
    4.3 Billion
    Engine Clock
    900MHz
    Stream Processors
    3200
    Texture Units
    160
    ROP
    64
    Memory Type
    GDDR5
    Memory Clock
    1200Mhz

    Features:


    • Full Microsoft DirectX® 11 Support
    • ATI Eyefinity Technology, support up to 3 displays.
    • ATI Stream technology
    • Microsoft Windows 7 Support
    • 40nm Process Technology
    • Dual 2nd Generation TeraScale Engines
    • Enhanced Anisotropic Filtering
    • Accelerated Video Transcoding
    • Display Flexibility
    • PCI Express® 2.1 support
    • Advanced GDDR5 Memory Technology
    • HDMI 1.3 support
    • ATI CrossFireX™ multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance.
    • ATI Avivo HD Support
    • ATI Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD) for Blu-ray™ and HD Video, Accelerated Video Transcoding (AVT)m DVD Upscaling, Dynamic Contrast, Built-in HDMI with 7.1 surround sound support
    • Dynamic power management with ATI PowerPlay™ technology including memory clocks
    • Dolby® TrueHD and DTSHD Master AudioTM Support: Requires application support for ATI Stream technology
    • System Requirements: Sapphire HD 5970 System Requirements, PCI Express® based PC is required with one X16 lane graphics slot available on the motherboard, 650 Watt or greater power supply one 75W 6-pin and one 150W 8-pin PCI Express® power connectors recommended (850 Watt with two 75W 6-pin and two 150W 8-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode) ,Certified power supplies are recommended. Refer to http://ati.amd.com/certifiedPSU for a list of certified products, Minimum 1GB of system memory, Installation software requires CD-ROM drive, DVD playback requires DVD drive, Blu-ray™ playback requires Blu-ray drive For an ATI CrossFireX™ system, a second ATI Radeon™ HD 5970 graphics card, an, ATI CrossFireX Ready motherboard and one ATI.
    • Operation System Support: Windows XP(32Bit/64Bit); Windows Vista(32Bit/64Bit); Windows Media Center Edition 2005, Windows 7


    All information courtesy of Sapphire @ http://www.sapphiretech.com/presenta...n=0001&pid=295


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