The definitive answer – ATI HD 5970 vs ATI 4890 CF vs 5870 CF

Posted: April 29, 2010 in General Area
Tags: , , , ,

As if this topic hasn’t been beaten with a stick in forums, I am covering it here. Why? Because I don’t like to listen to mis-information, I want the facts, from the source.

I had googled every combination of the 5970 vs 4890 (crossfired) vs the 5870 (crossfired) to no avail. I could not find one review that put the flagship models of ATI GPU’s against each other. So I did what I thought was most logical, I asked the manufacturer myself for the definitive answer.

My email went like this:

“Ok, I’ve scoured the web for ANY relative comparison, and I have come to the conclusion that possibly ATI/AMD does not want reviewers to compare these flagship models side by side, so I am asking you directly. Hopefully I don’t receive a “computer generated” response. Please explain to me which would be faster in performance (geared for gaming specifically), AND how they actually stack up against each other. The 4890’s crossfired, the 5870’s crossfired, and a SINGLE 5970. There is so much confusion on the web about this, some say the 4890 CF vs the 5870 CF only has a very small difference (the 5870 CF obviously being the victor), some disagree. Then they say that DX11 will push them apart, some say that future driver updates will increase the 5870 CF further above the 4890 CF. Some sites are saying that the only difference is the *minimum* framerates when gaming.

With the 5870 CF vs a SINGLE 5970, they say that the PCI express bus cannot transfer data as fast as the single 5970 can (internally/locally whatever you want to call it), then some say that the 5870 Crossfired is much faster than a single 5970. I just want the apples to apples comparison, all I want is the truth. Please clear the confusion for me.”

Immediately I received a COMPUTER GENERATED RESPONSE, not a “thanks for emailing us” (though I did receive one of those as well), but a set of instructions on how to RMA my graphics card. What the fuck? So I picked up the phone and called a good friend of mine who works for AMD/ATI and asked him for a direct email contact who could answer my question (my friend works in their Web Design department). After sending the email our to the right person I awaited his/her response.

This is what I received:

“Hi David, based on the information provided, we understand that you want a direct comparison of the Radeon HD 4890 (CrossFireX), Radeon HD 5870 (CrossFireX) and the Radeon HD 5970.

Generally, the comparisons of performance are based on the specific benchmark. Some common benchmarks used are 3DMark05/06/Vantage, F.E.A.R. 2., Call of Juarez (DirectX 9/10/11), S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Call of Pripyat. For more information, refer to the list described:

[Pretty generic shit huh? Explaining what the benchmarks are…really?? lol]

As well, refer to the additional benchmarks measured for other titles such as Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, Left4Dead, The Last Remnant, Tom Clancy Endwar/H.A.W.X. Refer to the list provided:,70.html

Overall, the Radeon HD 5970 performs more effectively than the Radeon HD 4890 (CrossFireX) and Radeon HD 5870 CrossFireX) based on improved efficiency through PCI Express x16 2.1. NOTE: PCI Express x16 2.x motherboards do not exhibit a limitation of the data transfer rates. Therefore, the Radeon HD 5870 (CrossFire) may be close to the Radeon HD 5970 in many benchmarks. However, we have noted that some benchmarks tested have posted that three Radeon HD 5870s may outperform one Radeon HD 5970 based on a recent review through MaximumPC.

Other additional advantages of the Radeon HD 5970 are the provision of MS DirectX 11 support as well as OpenGL 4.x and OpenCL programming interfaces. Some other advantages of the Radeon HD 5970 include improved power efficiency through ATI PowerPlay to clock down the core temperature to 25 W when idle. As well, ATI Eyefinity provides an additional advantage for triple display support.

Please contact me if you require additional information.

Thank you for choosing AMD!

I wasn’t pleased with the response, not one bit, it’s to generic, and it uses to much play on certain words, like “effectively” and “efficiency”

I don’t give a shit how much electricity a card saves me, none of you do, If I am spending $800-$1200 on Crossfire GPU’s for playing some damn video games, do you really think I give a flying f*ck on how much energy I save? As far as I’m concerned it could use as much electricity as the Large Haldron Collider, as long as my graphics look great and run smooth at ridiculous resolutions with all details maxed. Dx11 doesn’t make a major play into today’s game, and let’s be very realistic, by the time DirectX 11 games are here, there will be another badass GPU to overshadow the entire 5800 series, were not spending money on cushioning here for future investment, at least not in my “spending bracket”.

The largest point to elaborate on here is the play on the word “effectively“. Effectively in a benchmark, essentially a controlled environment, with no changing variables, like ambient temps, background applications etc. Effectively, there are many other reviews out there that cover the 5870’s Crossfired against the SINGLE 5970, and consistently the 5870’s win, this is being a tad more realistic.

So I wrote another email back, asking to please elaborate and respond with actual results, not third party reviews and a few other requests. We will see how he responds…


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