ATI Radeon HD 5670 review
ATI’s “sweet spot strategy” has become a familiar tactic since the June 2008 release of the Radeon HD 4000 series. The firm’s concentration on fast and affordable parts has given it the edge over Nvidia, particularly given the latter’s almost total lack of activity on the desktop. ATI’s latest card, the Radeon HD 5670, looks to continue this run of success.
It may be the smallest and cheapest HD 5000-series card yet, but its specification suggests that it can still pack a punch. As with the rest of the range, the HD 5670 is built on a 40nm die, and the 775MHz core clock is actually faster than three other GPUs in the HD 5000 series. DirectX 11 is also supported.
In some areas, though, the HD 5670 understandably lags behind: there are only 400 stream processors compared to the 720 included in the HD 5750, and the 512MB of GDDR5 RAM is clocked at 1,000MHz, which is slower than most other parts in ATI’s current line-up. ATI does promise that a 1GB version is on the way.
Nevertheless, the diminutive HD 5670 still produced decent benchmark results. It romped through our Low-quality Crysis test, and delivered a score of 58fps – 8fps faster than its predecessor, the HD 4670 – in the 1,280 x 1,024 Medium benchmark. Intensive settings proved too much, though. In our 1,600 x 1,200 High test, the card scored just 25fps. This puts it behind the Radeon HD 4770, which has been our A-Listed value card for close to a year.
Performance was better in World in Conflict, where the HD 5670 returned a playable score of 34fps in the High-quality benchmark. However, it couldn’t handle the game’s very high settings, running at just 24fps.
As well as being a solid gaming chip, the HD 5670 is also well-suited for media centre systems: it’s more than capable of decoding 1080p video, it’s as small as the HD 4670, and the single-height cooler isn’t particularly loud. It also boasts HDMI and DisplayPort outputs alongside the usual DVI-I.
The card – which needs no external power connector – also proved frugal. Our test rig drew 116W when idle, which is broadly in line with the rest of ATI’s latest cards, and the HD 5670’s peak power draw of 175W meant that it was the only HD 5000-series GPU to not push our test rig behind a 200W power draw. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that the older HD 4770 drew just 164W.
It’s worth bearing in mind that ATI’s board partners will be releasing passively-cooled models in the near future. Also, the card could be overkill if games are of less importance to you than Blu-ray, in which case you’d be better off with the tiny Radeon HD 4350, which handles HD content perfectly well at half the price.
The bigger HD 4770 is still our card of choice for gamers on a budget, but if you’re looking for something more discreet, sacrificing too much performance, the HD 5670 is an impressive compromise. It’s a low-profile GPU with added gaming grunt, and it betters its predecessor at no extra expense.
|Graphics card interface||PCI Express|
|Graphics chipset||ATI Radeon HD 5670|
|Core GPU frequency||775MHz|
Standards and compatibility
|DirectX version support||11.0|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|7-pin TV outputs||0|
|Graphics card power connectors||None|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||137fps|
|3D performance (crysis), medium settings||58fps|
|3D performance (crysis) high settings||25fps|