ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB GDDR5 and Gigabyte GV-R567OC-1GI
These are the most advanced products based on AMD’s Redwood processor (RV830) which we covered in more detail in our Almost a Gaming Card: ATI Radeon HD 5670 512 MB Review. As you can guess from their names, the two cards differ in the amount of local graphics memory, yet the difference goes even further than that. The former solution is a copy of the reference card whereas Gigabyte’s engineers took a creative approach and developed their Radeon HD 5670 almost from scratch.
The GV-R567OC-1GI comes in a rather small box made from thick glossy cardboard. The packaging is almost the same as the packaging of Gigabyte’s GV-N220OC-1GI we have tested earlier. The contents of the box are up to the product’s price category. Besides the graphics card itself, you won’t find anything in there, save for a user manual and a disc with drivers. The user manual sets a record of giving detailed and informative instructions in as many as 25 languages!
The cards differ visually even if you don’t remove their coolers.
The GV-R567OC seems to have a more potent cooler thanks to the massive round heatsink that resembles the heatsinks of Intel’s boxed CPU coolers, and the large 80mm fan. Alas, it takes two slots and may not be compatible with some barebone and HTPC cases whereas AMD’s reference card can easily fit into any such computer.
The two versions of Radeon HD 5670 look obviously different when you take their coolers off.
They are only similar in some general traits just because it is hard to find an unusual way of placing GPU and memory chips on the PCB (even though some makers do show originality in this respect, too). The GV-R567OC has CrossFire connectors whereas AMD’s reference card has none, which is a sure indication that Gigabyte positions its product as a gaming card. Although we have already found out that you cannot expect anything special from the Radeon HD 5670 in games, two such cards working in tandem can be quite fast. Unfortunately, we cannot check this out because we only have one sample of the GV-R567OC and reference Radeon HD 5670 cards come without CrossFireX slots and cannot be used in full-featured hardware-based multi-GPU configurations even though they do support CrossFireX, exchanging data via PCI Express.
The cards both have their GPU power circuitry at about the same location. In each case it is a two-phase regulator with two power MOSFETs in each phase. The respective controllers can be found on the reverse side of each card.
Both controllers are from uPI Semiconductor, but Gigabyte’s card uses an uP6209AQ whereas the reference card from AMD employs an uP6201BQ.
The single-phase memory voltage regulators are located differently. The GV-R567OC has it on the reverse side of its PCB whereas the reference card, on the face side.
A pair of uP6101 and uP771 chips is used on both versions of Radeon HD 5670 for controlling the memory power supply. Of course, the economical Redwood core (RV830) makes additional power connectors unnecessary even for the most advanced Redwood-based cards like these two. The reference version and the Gigabyte GV-R567OC-1GI are both content with what they can get from the power section of the PCI Express slot.
The cards have identical GPUs manufactured on different dates: the 44th week of 2009 for the reference card and 48th week of 2009 for the Gigabyte GV-R567OC.
As you can see, the GPUs have the same configuration: 400 ALUs grouped into 80 unified shader processors which are themselves united into 5 computing SIMD modules. Each SIMD module is serviced by four texture-mapping units, so the total number of TMUs is 20. The latest version of GPU-Z erroneously reports that the Redwood has 16 raster back-ends although it has only 8. Notwithstanding the OC suffix in the Gigabyte card’s model name, the factory overclocking amounts to a mere 10 MHz: the GPU frequency is increased from 775 to 785 MHz. This can hardly affect the card’s performance in games. The memory frequency of each card is 1000 (4000) MHz, delivering a peak bandwidth of 64 GBps with 128-bit memory access. The number is quite astonishing for such entry-level products. Not so long ago, only such expensive monsters as Radeon X1950 XTX could boast such a high memory bandwidth.
AMD’s reference card is equipped with only four GDDR5 memory chips from Hynix (H5GQ1H24MFR-T0C), 1 Gbit each. The T0C suffix indicates a rated frequency of 1000 (4000) MHz. It must be mentioned that the reference design does not provide for the installation of additional memory chips on the reverse side of the PCB. So, with 1-gigabit chips, the maximum amount of graphics memory on board the Radeon HD 5670 is going to be only 512 MB. Yes, Hynix has already developed 2Gb GDDR5 chips but they are too expensive and high-frequency to be installed on entry-level products.
The Gigabyte GV-R567OC is equipped with Samsung’s K4G10325FE-HC05 memory chips that have the same capacity and rated frequency but Gigabyte’s PCB design allows installing eight memory chips, four on each side of the PCB. As a result, the Gigabyte GV-R567OC comes with 1024 megabytes of memory, which would be quite enough even for the most advanced gaming solutions, let alone the Radeon HD 5670. As we’ve said above, the memory frequency of each card is 1000 (4000) MHz.
The ATI Radeon HD 5670 and Gigabyte GV-R567OC-1GI have different interfaces. Besides a CrossFireX connector, the latter has a somewhat conservative selection of interfaces: one HDMI, one DVI-I and one 15-pin D-Sub. AMD’s reference card is equipped with a DisplayPort instead of the latter. Although DisplayPort is far less popular than HDMI or DVI, we don’t think that D-Sub is really necessary at all. If you want an analog connection, you can use an adapter for DVI-I. The only use we can think of for D-Sub is the Eyefinity feature: it is easier to find a monitor with a D-Sub input than with a DisplayPort. The inexpensive Radeon HD 5670 is unlikely to be used with more than one display, however. If installed into an all-purpose HTPC, it may be connected to a computer monitor (for work) via DVI and to an LCD panel (for movies) via HDMI.
By the way, Gigabyte could not help promoting its product with the mention of a gold-plated HDMI connector, but our practice suggests that such connectors are neither better nor worse than ordinary ones.
Of course, both cards are fully compliant with the HDMI 1.3a specifications. Thanks to the Protected Audio Path support, they can work with multichannel HD audio formats including Dolby True HD and DTS HD/DTS HD Master Audio. AMD’s graphics cards still have no rivals in this respect.
Gigabyte and AMD have taken opposite approaches to cooling their cards. Gigabyte installed a simple aluminum heatsink with a large 80mm fan whereas AMD tried to make the card compact by using a more intricate cooler design.
As you can see, there are no secrets in the Gigabyte card’s cooler but AMD’s cooler has a heat pipe pressed into its base. AMD’s cooler has a small heatsink made of an aluminum sheet shaped accordion-like. Additionally, there are a few “needles” at the top of the base. A tiny and rather noisy blower completes the whole arrangement. We don’t think this cooler has any advantages other than its compactness. Even the dedicated cooling of the memory chips via green elastic thermal pads is no benefit because the chips of the Gigabyte GV-R567OC card are cooled by the air flowing through the heatsink fins.
Gigabyte’s product looks overall better than the reference Radeon HD 5670 but its dual-slot cooler may provoke some installation-related problems. The single-slot version of Radeon HD 5670 is compatible with more system cases.