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Monday, November 23, 2009
More Details on ATI Radeon 5970 Overclocking Potential

ATI explained how the new Radeon 5970 graphics card has the potential to become an "overclocking monster".

"One of the unique facets of this project was that we weren?t necessarily designing towards a strict product definition, but instead had the freedom to go a little wild in overdesigning and over-engineering this board to create something that can overclock like crazy," explained Hemlock product manager Devon Nekechuk in a blog post.

As of November 18, 2009, the ATI Radeon HD 5790 scores X12011.1 in 3DMark Vantage Extreme preset, which is the highest recorded single-card score. System configuration: Intel Core i7 965 processor @ 3.33GHz, Gigabyte EX58-UD5 motherboard, Corsair XMS 6GB memory (3?2GB) at 1600MHz (8-8-8-24 timings), Windows 7 RTM x64, ATI Radeon HD 5970 1GB GDDR5, Drivers: ATI Catalyst 9.10 Beta (8.663.1) / NVIDIA ForceWare 191.07WHQL

"When we were first designing the ATI Radeon HD 5970, we came to a crossroads surrounding the board?s power consumption. We had two major options available to us. On one hand, we could cap ourselves at 300W and stay within the PCI Express specification. In doing so, we would stay compatible with the majority of the high-end power supplies in the market with 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors. On the other hand, we had the potential to fill a 400W power budget with performance, so we were considering using two 8-pin connectors and pushing this thing to its limits," Nekechuk added.

"Ultimately, we went with a hybrid approach. We decided to appeal to the broader market and use a 6-pin + 8-pin power connector, but use the components from the 400W board design. We squeezed as much performance as we could out of the 300W, and left all the rest of the headroom as overclocking potential for you guys. It?s kind of like our Black Edition CPUs, where the premium chips are picked and shipped with unlocked multipliers so that you guys can overclock the @#$* out of them," he said.

Here?s a few examples of some of the components ATI has added purely for overclocking:

-The GPUs themselves were picked with three main criteria in mind:

o 1600 stream processors for full performance
o High-speed-capable for extra overclocking headroom
o Low leakage for better power characteristics

- Digital Volterra Regulators that are capable of delivering far more current than the board draws at default settings

- Japanese 47 μF pure ceramic capacitors for ultra-clean power delivery to the GPUs

- High-speed 5.0 Gbps-rated GDDR5

- Massive vapor-chamber capable of pulling up to 400W worth of heat away from the GPUs

- External discrete SMSC fan controller to monitor multiple temperatures and optimize fan performance and acoustics

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