ATI Radeon 5870 Eyefinity6 Review - Benchmarking

Submitted by skipclarke on 5 April, 2010 - 15:09

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Setup & Installation

Cable connection is easier with Display Port cables. No longer are you required to plug in cables and twist tiny cramped thumb screws. DP cables click in and release with the press of a button. ATI does provide an array of adapters with the retail package, though it doesn’t offer enough to utilize Display Port connections for each monitor. Personally, I try to avoid adapters as much as possible, as I want to reduce the number of opportunities for failure and loose connections. Considering that all of my monitors have a DP connection, I purchased Mini-DP > DP cables from Monoprice.

Installation of the Catalyst Control Panel and configuring a 3x1-L or 3x2 setup follows the same steps as before. Setting up a 3x1-P configuration requires the user to first set the monitor rotation, and then create the Eyefinity group.

The one catch piece that is different comes when setting up a 3x1-P Eyefinity group while having five monitors attached. The group utilizes only active monitors, and will default to begin the group with the right-most monitor. To center the 3x1-P gaming experience, first disable the two outer monitors. You can then create the Eyefinity group without a program. In the future we’ll post a video on creating a 3x1-P group within the 5x1-P setup, and post on our YouTube Channel.

Bezel Compensation works as previously demonstrated. If you missed my original video on setting up the Bezel Compensation, you can view it below. With a 3x2 setup, you configure both horizontal and vertical bezels. In the final step, you end up with a triangle across each bezel to verify the settings. I didn’t use any Bezel Compensation in my review or benchmarking. One, we had already covered it with this YouTube video; and two, I wanted to focus on consistent benchmarking at the native resolutions.

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 except the HD 5870 Eyefinity6. The 10.3a preview driver was used on the Eyefinity6 card, as it offered a number of bug fixes and stability improvements.

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

Resolutions Tested

I initially tested the 5870 at 1920x1200 and 1680x1050, along with the respective 3x1-L iterations of 5760x1200 and 5040x1050. I continued this testing to allow for contrast and comparison across the ATI line of cards. Considering that the monitors ATI provided for the 3x2 setup were 1920x1080 monitors, adjustments were needed to the testing regimen.

I tested at 5760x1080 and 4800x900 to provide a comparison of 3x1-L using 16:10 and 16:9 panels. Previous testing showed minimal differences in these panels at since screen resolutions, so I did not test 1920x1080 or 1600x900. To provide an additional aspect comparison to 3x1-P, I tested 3x1-L using the 16:10 panels. This allows me to highlight any impact that aspect ratio has on framerates. These configurations offer an identical number of pixels (over 6M), but wildly different aspect ratios.

Finally, I tested the 3x2 configuration at 5760x2160 and 4800x900. This offers direct comparisons in moving from 3x1-L to 3x2.

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 AA/Quality analysis at 5760x1200)
  • 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