ATI Radeon 5670, 5550 & 5450 Review - Benchmarking

Submitted by skipclarke on 28 June, 2010 - 20:43

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Setup & Installation

The HD 5670 contains the following connections - 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort and 1x DVI. The 5550 and 5450 each have 1x HDMI, 1xDVI and 1x VGA. As such, the lack of a DisplayPort connection prevented me from testing Eyefinity on the 5550 and 5450.

Configuration of the Eyefinity group within the Catalyst Control Center works as previously outlined. Bezel Compensation continues to work in the same manner. Both of these features are software based, and not dependent on the individual card.

I did find that the monitor hooked to the HMDI connection always scaled the image and wrapped it in a black border. This may be a function of the HDMI connection assumed to be an HDTV and dealing with overscan. Bottom line is that I wouldn't recommend HDMI as a connection for an Eyefinity setup.

System Specs

For all 16:10 benchmarks I used my existing three Dell U2410 monitors. For the 16:9 benchmarks, I used Dell P2210H monitors provided by ATI. The 10.3 preview driver was used on all cards.

My testing rig remains unchanged (except for driver updates and monitor configurations). It currently stands at:

  • Windows 7
  • EVGA X58 Tri-SLI Motherboard
  • Intel i7 920 at 4x2.67GHz
  • 12GB G.Skill DDR3 RAM
  • 2x Samsung 320GB T-Series HDD (one for the OS and games; one for swap file and FRAPS)
  • LG Super Multi Blu (HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Player)
  • Onboard audio
  • Corsair HX1000
  • Antec Skeleton
  • Logitch K340 Keyboard & Performance MX Mouse
  • Ergotech Heavy Duty Triple Desk Stand

Note: The ATI Radeon Mainstream cards I tested was only equipped with 512MB of RAM. ATI sent this card out to reviewers so that they could show performance on a sub-$100 card. The cards are available with 1GB of RAM.

Resolutions Tested

I initially tested at 1920x1200 and 1680x1050, along with the respective 3x1-L iterations of 5760x1200 and 5040x1050. These are the most common resolutions for single screen and Eyefinity.

Setups based on 1920x1080 or 1600x900 panels are becoming popular as well. In my review of the HD 5870 Eyefinity6, I looked at any performance difference between 16:10 and 16:9 screens. The differences were minimal, if any.

Games Tested

I wanted to choose games that covered a variety of genres (action, FRP, RTS and racing), and a variety of technologies (DX9, 10 and 11). Some games are older and well known titles such as Half-Life 2 and Far Cry 2. Half-Life 2 chews through video cards at lower resolutions and even 3x1-L, but how does it scale to five and six monitors? Far Cry 2 is still tough on systems (at Ultra settings). Will it even be playable at these new configurations. I also wanted to test games that were new and demanding, so that we can begin "aging" them over time. I chose titles such as Battle Forge and the new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. demo for these reasons.

I chose games that had a built-in benchmark tool. This allows for repeatability and a relative "hands off" testing. Finally, all games must exhibit Hor+ behavior in widescreen and Eyefinity. The games I ended up testing were:

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Battle Forge
  • DiRT 2
  • Far Cry 2 (including full comparison of 1GB vs. 2GB)
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • H.A.W.X.
  • Heaven Benchmark v1
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 2 & Lost Coast
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Benchmark Tool

Hitting 60

In each game, I attempted to find settings that would allow me to hit 60fps at 1920x1200. In some instances this was simply not achievable (as was the case in some games on the HD 5870 and Eyefinity6 cards), and I tried to find settings that would reach 30fps.