Listing the Contenders from ATI
AMD has a real winner on their hands when it comes to the video card market. The 5000 series has produced the current line up of champions at their respective price points and recently they have finished fleshing out the line. The 5800 series that includes the 5870 and 5850 have taken the enthusiast level by storm and have proven solid cards.
While the 5970 and 5870 have racked up higher numbers in my opinion the undisputed heavy weight champ right now is the 5850. Coming in at a hefty $300 this monster sports 1440 stream processors at 725 MHz. This behemoth crushes resolutions below 1680×1050 and screams through higher resolutions.
While the bigger cards allow for more pure horse power this beats is to me the best balance of power and price in the heavyweight division.
Next comes the middleweight or main stream offerings. These cards are priced around $150 to $200 and are designed to be the lean mean line up of the 5000 series. The 5770 and 5750 deliver solid performance at a reasonable price fitting into the budget and performance needs of most gamers.
While the 5750 offers great performance it has in my opinion of late been trumped by the 5770. Both cards are within $20 of each other with 1 Gig models. At around $160 the 5770 delivers with 800 stream processors pumping along at 850 MHz. At half the price of the heavyweight champ this card is a lean mean gaming machine for 1680×1050 resolutions.
While the 5750 is a capable performer and delivers a solid gaming experience at 1680×1050 a recent check on NewEgg shows that the 1 Gig models of both of these cards are within spitting distance of the same price point. The little extra money delivers enough boost to give the card a little more endurance down the road.
The lightweight division is reserved for what we know as budget gamers. ATI however has with their released tweaked that definition a bit.
The 5670 tips the price point at a lean $100 and delivers 400 stream processors pumping at 775 MHz. Pair this card up with 1 Gig of RAM and you have a solid lightweight gaming puncher. However this card takes the lightweight division and tries to tip the scales into the middleweight.
The 5670 can deliver a good gaming experience at 1680×1050 but at a bit of a price. You have to tone back am little on some detail when running the more demanding software. This card however is the MMO players dream. Low cost, solid performance, enough horsepower to deliver in the MMO market.
This card however is really at home at 1440×900 where it is a beast for the price.
The welterweight division is one that is typically not mentioned in gaming circles. While it can be a capable little card it is usually reserved for media PCs. However as with the lightweight division ATI has set out to redefine this weight class.
The 5570 can be had in the $85 price range and comes packing 400 stream processors at 650 MHz. Most models are designed to be used in low profile cases which make them a great choice for a media PC. Able to easily deliver outstanding video playback this card gives a media PC a bit of extra oomph. This card is actually a pretty capable gaming card at lower resolutions. At 1440×900 it delivers a good gaming experience. It can deliver at 1680×1050 but begins to show it’s lackings at that resolution.
The low profile card however suggests a perfect fit for this card. Slap this in you media center PC and you get the option of a solid gaming experience. In fact at the 720 resolution this thing is a bit of a beast making your media center a great gaming options.
And we come finally to the bean pole division. Now that might sound to many like a slight but it is fair from it. This is the workhorse video cards. Aimed squarely at the media center and business user market.
The 5450 is a solid card coming at a price point of around $60 for a 1 gig model. This card packs in 80 stream processors running at 650 MHz. The low profile card with a passive, therefore silent heatsink makes this a great card for the media center PC. The 5450 can deliver a decent gaming performance at lower resolutions. Played on the big screen at 720 you will find most MMOs playable.
While for many people it might be hard to get excited about this division I see some real potential here. The price point makes this a solid replacement for a failed onboard video card. It is also an exciting step for a business card. Like all 5000 series this card offers Eyefinity which means that in this card you have the potential for a triple monitor hookup.
Now in the past I have expressed that for gaming Eyefinity has left me less than impressed and I still hold that position today but in the business world the use of multi monitor is growing fast. This card with it’s low price makes perfect sense for that market. Businesses are not worried about gaming performance and so this card meets performance needs easily. Eyefinity offers very flexible multi monitor configuration options making it a perfect mach for this card and the business world.
We now see in front of us the entire 5000 series line up. AMD should be proud, they have delivered a solid line up that meets the needs of anyone and does it at a pretty decent price range. For now the video card world belongs to AMD and they need to enjoy it while they can. nVidia has begin making noise about the Fermi line and we should begin seeing these cards soon. Until then the video card kingdom is united under one unified champion, the ATI 5000 Series.