Radeon hd5970: ATI Radeon HD 5970 Specs

Completing AMD’s Takeover of the High End GPU Market

by Ryan Smithon November 18, 2009 12:00 AM EST

  • Posted in
  • GPUs



IndexMeet The 597040nm Supply ReduxThe Card They Beg You to OverclockSTALKER: Call of Pripyat – A Peak at More DX11Radeon HD 5970 EyefinityThe TestCrysis: WarheadFar Cry 2BattleforgeHAWXDawn of War IIResident Evil 5Batman: Arkham AsylumLeft 4 DeadPower, Temperature, & NoiseConclusion

The catch however is that what we don’t have is a level of clear domination when it comes to single-card solutions. AMD was shooting to beat the GTX 295 with the 5870, but in our benchmarks that’s not happening. The 295 and the 5870 are close, perhaps close enough that NVIDIA will need to reconsider their position, but it’s not enough to outright dethrone the GTX 295. NVIDIA still has the faster single-card solution, although the $100 price premium is well in excess of the <10% performance premium.

-From Our Radeon 5870 Review, On The GTX 295 vs. The 5870

Let’s get straight to the point, shall we? Today AMD is launching the 5970, their dual-GPU card that finishes building out AMD’s technical domination of the high-end market. With it AMD delivers the absolute victory over NVIDIA’s GTX 295 that the Radeon 5870 couldn’t quite achieve and at the same time sets the new high water mark for single-card performance.

This also marks the last AMD product introduction of the year. The rest of the Evergreen series, composing the sub-$100 low-end parts, will be launching next year.

  AMD Radeon HD 5970 AMD Radeon HD 5870 AMD Radeon HD 5850
Stream Processors 2×1600 1600 1440
Texture Units 2×80 80 72
ROPs 2×32 32 32
Core Clock 725MHz 850MHz 725MHz
Memory Clock 1GHz (4GHz data rate) GDDR5 1. 2GHz (4.8GHz data rate) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz data rate) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 2×256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 2x1GB 1GB 1GB
Transistor Count 2×2.15B 2.15B 2.15B
TDP 294W 188W 151W
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Price Point $599 $400 $300

The 5970 serves as the nowadays obligatory dual-GPU part. It is 2 Cypress dice mounted on a single, dual-slot video card. AMD clocks it at 725MHz core and 1GHz (4GHz effective) for the GDDR5 memory. The card comes equipped with 2GB of GDDR5, which is split between the two GPUs, giving it an effective memory capacity of 1GB. The card will be selling for $600, at least so long as vendors and retailers hold the line on MSRP.

In practice this makes the card something between a 5850 in Crossfire mode and a 5870 in Crossfire mode. The clocks are the same as the 5850, but here all 20 SIMD units are enabled. This is a 15% clockspeed difference between the 5970 and 5870CF, so officially the 5870CF will continue to be the faster setup. However as we’ll see in a bit, looking at the stock 5970 can be a bit deceiving.

This also brings up the matter of the name of the card. We asked AMD what happened to the X2 tag, and the answer is that they didn’t want to use it since the card was configured neither like a 5850 nor a 5870 – it was closer to a mythical 5860. So rather than call it an odd (or worse yet, wrong) name, AMD just gave it a new model number entirely. We suspect AMD wanted to be rid of the X2 name – their processors go up to X4 after all – but there you go as far as an official reason is concerned. It looks like special multi-GPU tags are now gone in both the NVIDIA and AMD camps.

Moving on, for power, the 5970 uses an 8pin and a 6pin power connector (although the 6pin sits on top of a spot silk-screened for anther 8pin). The TDP is 294W, bringing it in just under the 300W ATX limit. Idle power is 42W, thanks to AMD’s aggressive power optimizations present in the entire 5000 series.

As some of you may have noticed, in spite of the fact that this card is at least a pair of 5850s, it consumes less than the 320W (2x160W) such a setup would. In order to meet the 300W limit, AMD went and binned Cypress chips specifically for the 5970, in order to find chips that could operate at 725MHz at only 1.05v (the 5850 runs at 1.088v). Given the power creep coming from the 4800 series, binning for the best chips is the only way AMD could get a 300W card out.

AMD’s official guidance for this card is that the minimum requirements are a 650W power supply, and they recommend a 750W power supply. The recommended power supply will become more important later on when we talk about overclocking.

Finally, AMD is also launching Crossfire Eyefinity support with the 5970, and thus far only the 5970. Currently Eyefinity doesn’t work with Crossfire mode on any of AMDs cards due to driver limitations. The drivers that the 5970 will be shipping with enable Crossfire Eyefinity support on the 5970 for 22 games – currently AMD is using whitelisting and is enabling games on a case-by-case basis. Crossfire Eyefinity will make its way in to the mainstream Catalyst drivers and be enabled for other cards early next year.

Meet The 5970
IndexMeet The 597040nm Supply ReduxThe Card They Beg You to OverclockSTALKER: Call of Pripyat – A Peak at More DX11Radeon HD 5970 EyefinityThe TestCrysis: WarheadFar Cry 2BattleforgeHAWXDawn of War IIResident Evil 5Batman: Arkham AsylumLeft 4 DeadPower, Temperature, & NoiseConclusion


Radeon HD 5970 [in 2 benchmarks]


ATI started Radeon HD 5970 sales 18 November 2009 at a recommended price of $699. This is a desktop graphics card based on a TeraScale 2 architecture and made with 40 nm manufacturing process. It is primarily aimed at gamer market. 1 GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 4 GHz are supplied, and together with 256 Bit memory interface this creates a bandwidth of 128.0 GB/s.

Compatibility-wise, this is dual-slot card attached via PCIe 2.0 x16 interface. Its manufacturer default version has a length of 305 mm. One 6-pin and one 8-pin connectors are required, and power consumption is at 294 Watt.

It provides poor gaming and benchmark performance at


of a leader’s which is NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090.

GeForce RTX4090


General info

Some basic facts about Radeon HD 5970: architecture, market segment, release date etc.

Place in performance ranking 509
Value for money 0. 82
Architecture TeraScale 2 (2009−2015)
GPU code name Hemlock
Market segment Desktop
Release date 18 November 2009 (13 years old)
Launch price (MSRP) $699
Current price $69 (0.1x MSRP) of 168889 (A100 PCIe 80 GB)

Value for money

Performance to price ratio. The higher, the better.

Technical specs

Radeon HD 5970’s specs such as number of shaders, GPU base clock, manufacturing process, texturing and calculation speed. These parameters indirectly speak of Radeon HD 5970’s performance, but for precise assessment you have to consider its benchmark and gaming test results.

Pipelines / CUDA cores 1600 of 20480 (Data Center GPU Max NEXT)
Core clock speed 725 MHz of 2610 (Radeon RX 6500 XT)
Number of transistors 2,154 million of 14400 (GeForce GTX 1080 SLI Mobile)
Manufacturing process technology 40 nm of 4 (GeForce RTX 4080)
Power consumption (TDP) 294 Watt of 2400 (Data Center GPU Max Subsystem)
Texture fill rate 58. 00 of 969.9 (h200 SXM5 96 GB)
Floating-point performance 2x 2,320.0 gflops of 16384 (Radeon Pro Duo)

Size and compatibility

This section provides details about the physical dimensions of Radeon HD 5970 and its compatibility with other computer components. This information is useful when selecting a computer configuration or upgrading an existing one. For desktop graphics cards, it includes details about the interface and bus (for motherboard compatibility) and additional power connectors (for power supply compatibility).

Interface PCIe 2.0 x16
Length 305 mm
Width 2-slot
Supplementary power connectors 1x 6-pin + 1x 8-pin


Parameters of memory installed on Radeon HD 5970: its type, size, bus, clock and resulting bandwidth. Note that GPUs integrated into processors have no dedicated memory and use a shared part of system RAM instead.

Memory type GDDR5
Maximum RAM amount 1 GB of 128 (Radeon Instinct MI250X)
Memory bus width 256 Bit of 8192 (Radeon Instinct MI250X)
Memory clock speed 4000 MHz of 22400 (GeForce RTX 4080)
Memory bandwidth 128.0 GB/s of 3276 (Aldebaran)

Video outputs and ports

Types and number of video connectors present on Radeon HD 5970. As a rule, this section is relevant only for desktop reference graphics cards, since for notebook ones the availability of certain video outputs depends on the laptop model, while non-reference desktop models can (though not necessarily will) bear a different set of video ports.

Display Connectors 2x DVI, 1x mini-DisplayPort

API support

APIs supported by Radeon HD 5970, sometimes including their particular versions.

DirectX 11.2 (11_0)
Shader Model 5.0
OpenGL 4.4 of 4.6 (GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile)
OpenCL 1.2
Vulkan N/A

Benchmark performance

Synthetic benchmark performance of Radeon HD 5970. The combined score is measured on a 0-100 point scale.

Combined synthetic benchmark score

This is our combined benchmark performance score. We are regularly improving our combining algorithms, but if you find some perceived inconsistencies, feel free to speak up in comments section, we usually fix problems quickly.

ATI HD 5970


    This is probably the most ubiquitous benchmark, part of Passmark PerformanceTest suite. It gives the graphics card a thorough evaluation under various load, providing four separate benchmarks for Direct3D versions 9, 10, 11 and 12 (the last being done in 4K resolution if possible), and few more tests engaging DirectCompute capabilities.

    Benchmark coverage: 25%

    ATI HD 5970

    3DMark Fire Strike Graphics

    Fire Strike is a DirectX 11 benchmark for gaming PCs. It features two separate tests displaying a fight between a humanoid and a fiery creature seemingly made of lava. Using 1920×1080 resolution, Fire Strike shows off some realistic graphics and is quite taxing on hardware.

    Benchmark coverage: 13%

    ATI HD 5970

    Gaming performance

    Let’s see how good Radeon HD 5970 is for gaming. Particular gaming benchmark results are measured in frames per second. Comparisons with game system requirements are included, but remember that sometimes official requirements may reflect reality inaccurately.

    Relative perfomance

    Radeon HD 5970’s performance compared to nearest competitors among desktop video cards.

    Intel UHD Graphics 770

    NVIDIA P106-090

    AMD Radeon RX 550X

    ATI Radeon HD 5970

    AMD Radeon R7 250X

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460

    ATI Radeon HD 5870

    NVIDIA equivalent

    According to our data, the closest NVIDIA alternative to Radeon HD 5970 is P106-090, which is faster by 2% and higher by 4 positions in our ranking.



    Here are some closest NVIDIA rivals to Radeon HD 5970:

    NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960A

    NVIDIA P106-090

    ATI Radeon HD 5970

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 SE

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 v2

    Similar GPUs

    Here is our recommendation of several graphics cards that are more or less close in performance to the one reviewed.

    GeForce GTX460


    Radeon HD5870



    Radeon HD
    6850 X2

    GeForce GTX650 Ti


    GeForce GTX
    460 SE

    Recommended processors

    These processors are most commonly used with Radeon HD 5970 according to our statistics.





    Xeon E5


    Core i7


    Phenom II
    X6 1055T (95W)


    Core i5


    Core i5


    Core i3


    Core i5


    Athlon II
    X4 640