ATI HD 5570 Review

Author: Kevin Spiess
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, February 8th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/s/hd5570launch/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

It was only last week that ATI launched a new card -- the HD 5450 -- and now, not wanted to wait too much longer, they are back with a new video card model launch. Today we will be looking at the the HD 5570.

Positioned between the entry-level HD 5450, and below the mid-range HD 5670, the HD 5570 will be selling for about $80 at first. At first glance, the HD 5570 might be in a tough spot: if you are looking for an entry-level part with many of the features of the HD 5000 series, the HD 5450 is it; while if you are looking for something with a bit more gaming oomph, the logical step would be to go right into the mid-range. The HD 5570 will have to impress us in the the benchmarks with some solid performance to get our attention, it seems. But maybe ATI is up to the challenge.

One particularly attractive element of the HD 5570 is its low-profile design though -- if you are looking for something to serve as the core of an HTPC or Micro-ATX computer build, the HD 5570 might be a product that catches your eye.

Let's take a close look at this new entry to the HD 5000 series.

Impressions

The HD 5570 is in the same size class of last week's HD 5450: size small. At about six and half inches long, and a half-card height, it will be able to fit into many places that a full sized card cannot. With not a lot of PCB real estate, the board's components have limited room to be arranged -- but things don't look too crammed. As often is the case with the higher-end cards, board partners will get to work tweaking and changing up the reference design that we are seeing today. It'll be interesting to see if anything truly radical turns up.

The cooler featured here is a step up from the HD 5450's passive, curved heatsink. This time around we have a active system, with a seven vane 40mm fan. This fan is generally fairly quiet as it pushes air along a fin inches of heat fins. The base plat spans roughly half of the card, cooling the GPU, but is not attached to the memory chips. Though the fan is small, the noise output could be smaller -- when the GPU gets really pushed, you'll hear a bit of a whir coming from this little card.

The HD 5570 beside last week's HD 5450

On the bracket, we have a good selection of display outputs here, including a VGA port, a DVI port, and a DisplayPort. It is nice to have this much flexibility. Being a member of the HD 5000 series, the HD 5570 features Eyefinity tech, which allows for up to three displays to be used at any one given time. Powering three displays from a video card that retails for about $80 at launch is a nice feature to have indeed.

Size comparison between the HD 5450, HD 5570, HD 5670, HD 5770, and the mondo HD 5970

Specifications

From the design of the GPU, the HD 5570 seems to have more in common with the HD 5670 than it does the HD 5450. We are looking at much the same design as the GPU powering the HD 5670, but just in a 'lighter' configuration. This configuration features 400 stream processors, 8 ROPs, and 20 texture units. The GPU itself is 40nm part, like all recent ATI GPUs, and features an surprisingly high (for a lower end video card) 627 million transistors crammed in there.

When trying to guess some of the performance figures for this video card, there are two very important factors that must be considered. First off, the HD 5570 has a 128-bit memory interface. Last weeks HD 5450 had a 64-bit memory interface, and it had it work cut out for it when it came to gaming, with that amount of limited possible bandwidth. The second important factor here is that the HD 5570 uses GDDR3 memory -- in this case, 1GB of it. On the cards such as the HD 5670 and above, GDDR5 has become the defacto tool in ATI's arsenal to bring performance up a notch. The HD 5570 is more cost effective solution, so slower GDDR3 is employed here. Between these two factors, it'll be interesting to see if the performance of this card is closer to the mid-range HD 5670 part, or the entry-level HD 5450.

  GT 220 GTS 250 9800 GT GT 240 HD 5670 HD 4850 HD 5750 HD 5570 HD 5450

Processing Cores

16 128 112 96 400 800 720 400 80

Core Clock

625 738 600 550 775 625 700 650 650

Shader Clock

1402 1836 1500 1360 775 625 700 650 650

Memory Clock (effective) 

1000 2200 1800 3400 4000 1986 4600 1800 1600

Memory Interface

128 bit 256 bit 256 bit 128 bit 128 bit 256 bit 128 bit 128 bit 64 bit

Memory Type

512MB GDDR3

512MB GDDR3

512MB GDDR3 512MB GDDR5 512MB GDDR5 512MB GDDR3 512MB GDDR5 1GB GDDR3 512MB GDDR3

Fabrication Process

40nm 55nm 65nm 40nm 40nm 55nm 40nm 40nm 40nm

 

Overclocking

 

Like other recent ATI video cards, the options to overclock the HD 5570 are fairly limited by the Catalyst Control Center. Perhaps too many customers have been frying out their card's memory, as there have been those reports of the "gray screen" -- regardless of the reason, the max overclock allowable by the CCC is 50 MHz for the memory, and 50 MHz for for the core clock. We experienced no problems at all with many hours of looping benchmarks with these max overclocks set, and the fan running at 100%. We think for many looking for every little bit they can get out of the inexpensive HD 5570, they'll want to get this extra performance boost.

We expect that some third-party overclocking tools will soon be available that will be able to push the HD 5570 further. With the 400 stream processors, there should be some good overclocking headroom available to push things significantly further.

Hardware

Here at Neoseeker, we generally review the higher-end, gaming cards. Unfortunately for this reason, we don't have as many lower-performance segment video cards available to compare for testing with the HD 5570. But we do have some.Today we'll be benching the HD 5570 against the HD 5450, the VisionTek HD 5750, an ATI HD 5670, a Gigabyte HD 5670, a ATI HD 4550, and a  Gigabyte GT 240.

Software

For the drivers, all the ATI cards used the Catalyst 10.1 drivers except for the HD 5570, which used beta drivers,  and all the Nvidia cards used Forceware 196.21 drivers.

We have updated our benchmarks. Here are the new ones:

FTL_Blunderbuss: This is a demoscene demo by the group Fairlight, which came in second in competition in October 2009. It makes very heavy use of particles, and is a good GPU workout.  We used FRAPS to measure the average framerates of a run through the program, running at 1680x1050, with 4xAA, and 'high' detail.

Resident Evil V: Capcom's latest zombie smasher has a great 'Fixed' in-game benchmark. We ran it at top quality at 2560x1600 in DX10 mode, with and without AA . 

In addition, we test with:

Bioshock: For this benchmark, all of the Detail settings were set to 'High'. All of the graphic option switches were set to 'On', with the exception of the following three settings: Vsync, Windowed mode, and Force Global Lighting. We used FRAPS to measure frame rate performance. The FRAPS run was 138 seconds, triggered from pulling the switch in the sub at game's beginning. The sub's dive involves many big models moving around, which should strain the GPUs and be a good measure of the game's engine.

Far Cry 2: This open-world FPS is great looking game that really puts the strain on a gaming rig. We used the built-in benchmarking tool, and the overall 'Very High' quality setting was used.

Furmark: This intensive, synthetic benchmark models a ring of fur. We benched at 1680x1050.

Street Fighter IV: You have probably heard of this famous fighting game. It has 3D graphics, but generally does not require much GPU horsepower to run well. We used Capcom's stand-alone PC benchmarking tool for our tests, and ran everything at its highest possible settings, using 4xAA, and the 'Watercolor' setting.

Unreal Tournament 3: We tested the game using a fly-through of the vehicle capture-the-flag map 'Suspense.'ShangriLa (map) running for 90 seconds. Details were set to 'High', and a AF setting of 16x was used.

World In Conflict: We used the built-in benchmark of the demo version of this game. We ran the benchmark in DX9 rendering mode, with a 'High' level of quality. For the AA testing, we used a setting of 4x, and a setting of 16x for AF.

If you would like any further information about our benchmark settings, feel free to ask us in the forums.

We'll start off our benchmarks with Futuremark Vantage.

According to Futuremark, the HD 5570 performs closer to the HD 5450 than it does the HD 5670. The GT 240 also has a decent speed advantage over the HD 5570 as well. We'll see if this holds true in the games.

In this particle-intensive benchmark, the HD 5570's abundant stream processors really smoke the HD 5450 here.

If these synthetic benchmarks are any indication, the HD 5570 will have the horses for gaming ability that the HD 5450 is just not able to deliver.

The HD 5570 gets things going with a solid performance here, even out-performing (by a sliver) the often more expensive GT 240 with AA enabled.

Okay -- it makes sense now that this particular card was named the HD 5570, and not the HD 5550 -- the HD 5570 design has more gaming oomph that the analog in the HD 4000 series, the HD 4550. Here the HD 5570 about doubles the performance of the HD 4550, and offers some pretty reaonsable framerates here in this less-demanding game benchmark of the popualr Unreal Engine.

The HD 5570 has a big leg up on the HD 5450 here, but is still fairly far behind the GT 240, which does not sell for much more than this video card will, when it first hits stores.

The HD 5570 does not too bad to get over 20 fps here at max detail , and max resolution settings in this great looking game. Though again it appears it will not have much chance of beating out the GT 240. 

If you have the common resolution of 1680x1050 than you'll be good to go in Bioshock. A higher resolution than that though, and things might get choppy. 

Operating Temperatures

For these results, we used the program OCCT to reach 'load' temperatures, taking a measurement once 200 seconds elapsed.

The moderate active cooler on the reference design HD 5570 is enough to keep things steady at an average temperature. The thermal demands are not too crazy for this GPU it seems, so we look forward to the possibility of other board partners using perhaps a bit more robust, or slightly quieter, coolers on their cards.

Power Usage

For these results, we used a Kill-o-Watt measuring device in conjunction with the program OCCT to measure 'load' temperatures once 200 seconds elapsed.

When it comes to power usage, the HD 5570 tops the recent miserly HD 5450 when it comes to delivering more gaming performance per watt of power than any other card around. These numbers are pretty impressive -- the idle board power of the HD 5570 is only around 10W.

Conclusion

The HD 5570 was a pleasant surprise: it offered more gaming performance than we at first imagined it would. Compared to last generation's HD 4550, the HD 5570 impressed us by leaning more towards the mid-range than what is often shown on the lower-end, entry-level video card options.  With Eyefinity as well, and being able to run three displays at once, the HD 5570 makes a nice upgrade for anyone who isn't even all that concerned with gaming (though for them, we suppose the HD 5450 would be a better fit however). Like all HD 5000 cards, the HD 5570 also supports DirectX 11, which is nice, though we don't expect many will be playing DirectX 11 games on this card -- most would probably opt for better performance in DirectX 10 instead. 

The HD 5570 does have some competition though. It is sort of a case of the 'new card blues', if you will. When a product is launched, it has to compete with older products that have been around a bit longer, and thus have had their prices naturally decline. Thus the biggest competitor here to the about $80 HD 5570 is the GT 240, which often sells for only a little bit more ($10-$20), but offers a step-up in gaming performance. The trade-off being of course that there is no DirectX 11 support (which, actually we don't think of as a huge deal for card with this amount of GPU horsepower), and there is no Eyefinity support (some people will want three displays, but many folks are happy with two) found on NVIDIA's GT 240.  On the ATI side, for only about $20 more, you could also get something like the HD 4850, which offers a high-end gaming experience, with significantly more horsepower. In short, there is tons of competition around this price point. 

The HD 5570 is absolutely perfect though for one market segment: those wanting to make a gaming-possible HTPC; or, for others with limited space available in their systems, as with some smaller mATX cases Or maybe even those folks with older Dells (or similar) that typically have weak power supplies (~250W). For those folks, or folks with space concerns who want to game, then the HD 5570 is a terrific fit. All things considered, we like the HD 5570, and after seeing what it is capable for gaming -- many games can expected to run smoothly at 1280x1024 at high details, and some at 1680x1050, at almost the highest detail settings -- the HD 5570 does not seem redundant at all, being between the entry level HD 5450 and the mid-range HD 5670. In fact, it slides in nicely ATI's ever-expanding HD 5000 family, and is a good option for the somewhere around $75 price-point for video cards.

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