AMD Radeon HD 5970 2GB Review - AMDomination
The Radeon HD 5970 Graphics Card
As with previous dual-GPU graphics cards, the Radeon HD 5970 is a bit larger and hotter than its single-GPU cousins.
In this image the card is somewhat unassuming but try to keep in mind how long a typical x16 PCIe slot is and you should realize just how long the card design worked out. The card looks pretty much exactly like the other offerings of the Radeon HD 5000-series (well, at least the 5770 and above) though the cooler design on it is a step above the other cards due to the massive amounts of heat that it needs to disperse.
On the back you can see the retention brackets for the pair of Evergreen GPUs through an opening on the back plate of the card.
One thing of note is that unlike the HD 5870, the HD 5970 uses the entire “column” of the rear panel of the card for exhaust – if you didn’t remember the HD 5800-series of cards were dual-slot but only one half of one of the slots had vents on it. Again, because the heat on this card is higher, AMD’s engineers needed to give the exhaust a better opening.
That unfortunately means that the connectors on the card are more limited; the HD 5970 includes a pair of dual-link DVI connections and a single mini-DisplayPort connection for a third monitor. The HD 5800 cards include two DVI connections but a full size DisplayPort and HDMI connection as well. This new change means that even more users that already had/have a third monitor with DisplayPort connectivity will need ANOTHER new adaptor – this time a miniDP-to-DP passive device. In my searches, finding this anywhere locally proved to be a fruitless effort – checking out someplace like Monoprice.com is likely your best bet.
The Radeon HD 5970 can/will support CrossFireX configurations including a second HD 5970 or adding in any other HD 5800-series of graphics card. Because the HD 5970 already has a pair of GPUs on-board only a single CrossFire connection is required.
From a power perspective the HD 5970 is hungry and it requires an 8-pin and 6-pin connection from the power supply. With a power rating of 300 watts you will want to make sure you have a healthy and reliable power supply – even more so if you choose to go the route of overclocking that we will discuss later.
For a size comparison I have included the above photo: the HD 5970 is on the bottom, a GeForce GTX 285 on top and the HD 5870 sandwiched in between. Obviously with this additional length users will want to be aware of where this card is going, what case it is being squeezed into and what is directly behind the GPU. It may require you to move some of your other components around in the chassis (like hard drives for example) in order for a card of this size to reside in your PC.