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Asus Radeon EAH5670 1GB review

A cool and power efficient graphics card, but not one for the hardcore gamer

Our Verdict

For

  • Console-spanking performance
  • Dust-proof fan (if you can believe it)
  • Full DX11 support
  • GPGPU / Compute Shader capable
  • Compact and power efficient

Against

  • 128-bit memory bus
  • Slow by PC standards
  • Adequate at best for todays games
  • Unlikely to cope with future titles
  • Older DX10 cards are better for games

The PC is way more powerful than any games console. For proof, merely regard the ludicrous complexity of the latest high-end graphics chips. There are probably more transistors in a single AMD Radeon HD 5870 graphics card than a whole XBox 360 or PS3 console, including CPU, GPU, memory, the lot. We're talking orders of magnitude difference here, people.

In a way, however, it's actually more modest cards like this Radeon HD 5670-based board, the Asus EAH5670 1GB, that really drive home the PC's superiority. The 5670 doesn't even qualify as second string in the hierarchy of AMD's new DX11 3D chips. Effectively, it's a quarter of a Radeon HD 5870. So that's 400 stream processors, 20 texture units and eight render outputs. And yet it's still roughly twice powerful as any console GPU.

All of which means it copes just fine when you bung a thinly disguised console port at it such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. At 1,920 x 1,080 with 4x anti-aliasing and most of the settings cranked up, you're getting much better visuals than the console equivalent, too.

Of course, a high fidelity PC game like Crysis: Warhead is a different bag 'o pixel shaders altogether. Put simply, you'll need to switch off much of the eye candy to achieve playable frame rates.

Meanwhile, if you're wondering what marks this particular Radeon HD 5670 board from the rest, the answer comes down to cooling. Asus claims to have created a cooler that's impervious to dust and works effectively for longer. If you can believe it, the result is 25 per cent longer operating life.

Elsewhere, there's little to report. The EAH5670 sticks to AMD's reference clocks at 775MHz for the core and 4GHz for the 1GB of GDDR5 memory. But we're just fine with that. Overclocking a card as cut down as the 5670 is futile. Better to reap the full power efficiencies of its relatively modest architecture.

We liked

A world-beating pixel pumper the 5670 chipset may not be. But there are upsides to its relative lack of graphics power. Asus's EAH5670 is not only very compact, it's an extremely cool and quiet runner.

Indeed, it doesn't require any external power connectors and will therefore drop into a wide variety of PCs. If you're looking for a card with reasonable gaming prowess for your small form factor rig, look no further.

The 5670's other significant plus point is support for DirectX 11. Microsoft won't be releasing a really major update to DirectX any time soon. So you can buy in confidence that full compatibility with the latest games is a given for a few years to come.

DX11 support also means you can make the most of the Compute Shader. Granted, we remain dubious about the whole idea of running non-graphics software on 3D cards. Despite the hype, actual apps remain vanishingly rare. But if general purpose processing on the GPU ever takes off, this card is ready to unleash its console-crushing parallel power.

We disliked

In a word, performance. That's not to say this board is a complete blow out. However, even in relatively undemanding games such as Call of Duty 4, it only just manages smooth frame rates. You've absolutely no performance in hand for the future. As games inevitably become more demanding, we suspect the 5670 chipset will begin to chug badly.

Verdict

Full DX11 support, 400 stream shaders and 1GB of memory – that's an impressive package for well under £85. If you're on a tight budget and future compatibility is your bag, the Asus EAH5670 1GB is for you.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeGraphic Card
Chipset ManufacturerATI
Chipset Model5670
HDMIYes
Chipset LineRadeon
Chipset SeriesHD 5000
Maximum Resolution2560 x 1600
Brand NameAsus
Standard Memory1 GB
Host InterfacePCI Express 2.1
HDCP SupportedYes
Bus Width128 bit
RAMDAC Speed400 MHz
Analog SignalYes
Digital SignalYes
Dual Link DVI SupportedYes
DVIYes
VGAYes
Number of VGA Outputs1
Number of DVI Outputs1
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Memory TechnologyDDR5 SDRAM
Product SeriesA
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Memory Speed4000 MHz
Product ModelEAH5670/DI/1GD5
Product NameEAH5670/DI/1GD5 Radeon HD 5670 Graphics Card
Processor Speed775 MHz
Manufacturer Part NumberEAH5670/DI/1GD5
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

With the demand of current applications and software, the addition of a graphics card can help improve the computing process and application time.

API SupportedDirectX 11.0, OpenGL 3.2