Will ATI's new "world-beating" graphics card fit inside PCs?

ATI Radeon HD 5970 is touted as world's fastest graphic card - but there are concerns about its size

Mike Jennings
18 Nov 2009

ATI has bolstered its range of graphics cards with the new Radeon HD 5970, a dual-GPU product that the firm claims is the “fastest in the world”. But there are doubts whether the giant card will even fit inside PCs.

Speaking during a conference call to launch the new product, Sasa Marinkovic, senior manager of EMEA marketing, described the HD 5970 as "the most technologically advanced dual-GPU card in the world".

The new card boasts twin 40nm GPUs with a combined 3,200 stream processors and 4.3 billion transistors. Both cores, believed to be based on the impressive Radeon HD 5850, are clocked at 725MHz, and the card includes 2GB of 1,000MHz GDDR5 memory.

We had one goal in mind, which was the best gaming performance

ATI claims that the HD 5970 will be a "must-have for enthusiasts" thanks to its "mind-blowing" performance, which includes the ability to play games at resolutions of up to 5,670 x 1,200 thanks to new EyeFinity technology. DirectX 11 is also included as standard.

However, there are concerns that people will be forced to buy new PC cases just to accommodate the card, which measures a massive 13in in length. Marinkovic claimed that "any ATX case should be able to fit [the HD 5970]," although we remain sceptical.

Focused on gaming

Marinkovic also used the conference call to take a swipe at rival Nvidia, which has been criticised recently for concentrating on GPGPU rather than games performance. "We had one goal in mind, which was the best gaming performance," said Marinkovic, just weeks after Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang called his firm's new Fermi cards "completely revolutionary".

ATI also responded to accusations that previous launches have been marred by short supply, with product manager David Baumann assuring eager punters that "we are ramping up [production] as quickly as possible" and that, of the thousands of cards already shipped, "most have gone to Europe". The card will retail in the US at $599 and £465 exc VAT in the UK.

Nvidia, meanwhile, is preparing to unveil its Fermi GPUs in the coming weeks, with several high-end cards reportedly being prepared for launch - even if pre-release models shown off at a recent keynote were mock-ups.

Read our review of the new Radeon HD 5970, where we discover if it really is the "fastest GPU in the world" - and if you'll have to buy a new case to use it.

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