Sometimes a surprise is nice. Other times it’s nice for things to go as planned for once.

Compared to the HD 4800 series launch, AMD’s launch of the HD 5800 series today is going to fall into the latter category. There are no last-minute announcements or pricing games, or NDAs that get rolled back unexpectedly. Today’s launch is about as normal as a new GPU launch can get.

However with the lack of last-minute surprises, it becomes harder to keep things under wraps. When details of a product launch are announced well ahead of time, inevitably someone on the inside can’t help but leak the details of what’s going on. The result is that what we have to discuss today isn’t going to come as a great surprise for some of you.

As early as a week ago the top thread on our video forums had the complete and correct specifications for the HD 5800 series. So if you’ve been peaking at what’s coming down the pipe (naughty naughty) then much of this is going to be a confirmation of what you already know.

Today’s Launch

3 months ago AMD announced the Evergreen family of GPUs, AMD’s new line of DirectX11 based GPUs. 2 weeks ago we got our first briefing on the members of the Evergreen family, and AMD publically announced their Eyefinity technology running on the then-unnamed Radeon HD 5870. Today finally marks the start of the Evergreen launch, with cards based on the first chip, codename Cypress, being released. Out of Cypress comes two cards: The Radeon HD 5870, and the Radeon HD 5850.

  ATI Radeon HD 5870 ATI Radeon HD 5850 ATI Radeon HD 4890 ATI Radeon HD 4870
Stream Processors 1600 1440 800 800
Texture Units 80 72 40 40
ROPs 32 32 16 16
Core Clock 850MHz 725MHz 850MHz 750MHz
Memory Clock 1.2GHz (4.8GHz data rate) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz data rate) GDDR5 975MHz (3900MHz data rate) GDDR5 900MHz (3600MHz data rate) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB
Transistor Count 2.15B 2.15B 959M 956M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point $379 $259 ~$180 ~$160

So what’s Cypress in a nutshell? It’s a RV790 (Radeon HD 4890) with virtually everything doubled, given the additional hardware needed to meet the DirectX 11 specifications, with new features such as Eyefinity  and angle independent anisotropic filtering packed in, lower idle power usage, and fabricated on TSMC’s 40nm process. Beyond that Cypress is a direct evolution/refinement of the RV7xx, and closely resembles its ancestor in design and internal workings.

The leader of the Evergreen family is the Radeon HD 5870, which will be AMD’s new powerhouse card. The 5870 features 1600 stream processors divided among 20 SIMDs, 80 texture units, and 32 ROPs, with 1GB of GDDR5 on-board connected to a 256bit memory bus. The 5870 is clocked at 850MHz for the core clock, and 1.2GHz (4.8GHz effective) for the memory, giving it a maximum compute performance of 2.72 teraflops. Load power is 188W, and idle power is a tiny 27W. It is launching at a MSRP of $379.

Below that we have the 5850 (which we will not be reviewing today), which is a slightly cut-down version of the 5870. Here we have 1440 stream processors divided among 18 SIMDs, 72 texture units, and the same 32 ROPs, with the same 256bit memory bus. The 5850 is clocked at 725Mhz for the core, and 1Ghz for the memory, giving it a maximum compute performance of 2.09 TFLOPS. With the disabled units, load power is slightly reduced to 170W, and it has the same 27W idle power. AMD expects the 5850 to perform at approximately 80% the performance level of the 5870, and is pricing it at $259.

Availability is going to be an issue, so we may as well get the subject out of the way. While today is a hard launch, it’s not quite as hard of a launch as we would like to see. AMD is launching the 5800 series with Dell, so it shouldn't come as a surprise if Dell has cards when e-tailers don't.

The situation with general availability is murky at best. The first thing we heard was that there may be a week of lag, but as of today AMD is telling us that they expect e-tailers to have 5870 cards on the 23rd, and 5850 cards next week. In any case whatever cards do make it in the channel are going to be in short supply, which matches the overall vibe we’re getting from AMD that supplies are going to be tight initially compared to the demand. So even after the first few days it may be hard to get a card. Given a tight supply we’ll be surprised if prices stick to the MSRP, and we’re likely to see e-tailers charge a price premium in the first days. Depending on just how high the demand is, this may mean it’ll take a while for prices to fall down to their MSRPs and for AMD to completely clear the backlog of demand for these cards.

Update: As of 5am EDT, we have seen the availability of 5870s come and go. Newegg had some in stock, but they have since sold out. So indeed AMD did make the hard launch (which we're always glad to see), but it looks like our concerns about a limited supply are proving to be true.

Finally, we asked AMD about the current TSMC 40nm situation, and they have told us that they are happy with it. Our concern was that problems at TSMC (specifically: yield) would be a holdup in getting more cards out there, but this does not look to be the case. However given the low supply of the cards compared to where AMD expects the supply to be, TSMC’s total 40nm capacity may not be to AMD’s liking.

Meet the 5870
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  • mapesdhs - Saturday, September 26, 2009 - link


    > That is quite all right, you fellas make sure to read it all, ...

    But that's the thing S.D., I pretty much don't read any of it. :D (does
    anyone?) First sentence only, then move on.

    Ian.

    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Monday, September 28, 2009 - link

    Oh, ha ha, another lowlife smart aleck.

    One has to wonder if you do as you say, and only read the first sentence, and move on, why you would care what I've typed, since you cannot imagine anyone does anything different. Heck you shouldn't even notice this, right liar ?

    Yes, another liar, not amazing, not at all.

    No need to modify or delete the sentence prior to this JaredWalton, smarty pants insulter won't read it, but I'm sure you can't resist, for "convenience's" sake of course.

    Oh, I don't have to bring anything up on topic at all, because neither did lowlife skum not reading, he just got his nose awfully browner.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    Very happy to have everyone here convinced you don't know what you're talking about? That's the only "truth" you've brought to this party. Marketing generally wants reputable people to promote a product - the "every man" approach. Funny that we don't see crazy people espousing products on TV (well, excepting stuff like Sham Wow!)

    Being crazy like you are in this thread only cements your status as someone who doesn't have a firm grip on reality - someone that can't be trusted. Thanks again for clearing that up so thoroughly.

    I am very happy about it as well! :-D
    Reply
  • erple2 - Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - link

    Yeah, but that "Sham Wow" product works like a freakin' charm...

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/blogs/home_journal...">http://www.popularmechanics.com/blogs/home_journal...
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    Im' sure you spend your time drooling in front of a TV after you spank your joystick for fps, so know all about wacky commercials you have memorized, and besides, it's a pathetic, all you have left insult, off topic, who cares, pure hatred, no real response, and the 5870 double epic fail IS THE HOTTEST ATI CARD OF ALL TIME! Reply
  • erple2 - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    What's with the personal attacks? Does that mean that you concede defeat?

    Meh, you've no more credibility. Chill out.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    Yeah, now down to insults, since you lost everything else.

    Let's have your claimed specialty outlined here in context, let's have you come clean on LAPTOP GRAPHICS, and spread the truth about how NVIDIA is so far ahead and has been for quite some time, that it's a JOKE to buy a gaming laptop with ATI graphics on board.
    Come on mmister!
    --
    Now that is REALLY FUNNY ! You grabbed your arrogant unscrupulous self and proclaimed your fairness, but picked a spot where ati is completely EPIC FAIL, and NVIDIA is 1000% the only way to go, PERIOD, and left that MAJOR slap in the face high and dry.
    --
    Great job, yeah, you're the "sane one".
    LOL
    Reply
  • dieselcat18 - Saturday, October 03, 2009 - link

    Nvidia fan-boy, troll, loser....take your gforce cards and go home...we can now all see how terrible ATi is thanks you ...so I really don't understand why people are beating down their doors for the 5800 series, just like people did for the 4800 and 3800 cards. I guess Nvidia fan-boy trolls like you have only one thing left to do and that's complain and cry like the itty-bitty babies that some of you are about the competition that's beating you like a drum.....so you just wait for your 300 series cards to be released (can't wait to see how many of those are available) so you can pay the overpriced premiums that Nvidia will be charging AGAIN !...hahaha...just like all that re-badging BS they pulled with the 9800 and 200 cards...what a joke !.. Oh my, I must say you have me in a mood and the ironic thing is I do like Nvidia as much as ATi, I currently own and use both. I just can't stand fools like you who spout nothing but mindless crap while waving your team flag (my card is better than your's..WhaaWhaaWhaa)...just take yourself along with your worthless opinions and slide back under that slimly rock you came from. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    You've been insulting in this whole thread, so don't go crying to mamma about someone pointing that out. I did go and delete the posts from the person calling you gay and suggesting you should die in various ways, because as bad as you've been you haven't stooped quite that low (yet).

    Laptop issues with ATI... you mean http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=356...">like this. Granted, I gave them a chance to address the issues. They failed and my full article on the various Clevo high-end notebooks will make it quite clear how far ahead NVIDIA is in the mobile sector right now.

    "Fair" is treating both sides objectively. ATI has major problems with getting updated graphics drivers out on mobile products, and that's horrible. On the desktop, they don't have such issues for the most part. Yeah, you might have to wait a month or so for a driver update to fix the latest hot release and add CrossFire support... but you have to do the exact same thing for NVIDIA with about the same frequency. Only SLI and CF setups really need the regular driver updates, and in many cases the latest 18x and 19x NVIDIA drivers are slower than 16x and 17x on games that are older than six months.

    Fair is also looking at these results and saying, "gee, I can get a 5870 for $400 (or $360 if you wait a few weeks for supply to bolster up), and that same card has no CrossFire or SLI wonkiness and costs less than the GTX 295 and 4870X2. Okay, 4870X2 and GTX 295 beat it in raw performance in some cases, but I don't think there's a single game where you can say one HD 5870 offers less than acceptable performance at 2560x1600, and I can guarantee there are titles that still have issues with SLI and CrossFire. (Yeah, you need to turn down some details in Crysis to get acceptable performance, but that's true of anything other than the top SLI and CF configs.) I would be more than happy to give up a bit of performance to avoid dealing with the whole multi-GPU ordeal. Why don't you tell us how innovative and awesome tri-SLI and quad-SLI are while you're at it?

    At present, you have contributed more than 20% of the comments to this article, and not a single one has been anything but trolling. Screaming and yelling, insulting others, lying and making stuff up, all in support of a company that is just like any other big company. We don't ban accounts often, but you've more than warranted such action.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    I think it is more than absolutely clear, that in fact, I said my peace, my first post, and was absolutely attacked. I didn't attack, I got attacked, and in fact you have done plenty of attacking as well.
    I have also provided links, to back up my assertions and counter arguments, added the text for easy viewing, and pointed out in very specific detail whay issues with bias I had and why.
    --
    Now you've claimed "all I've done is post FUD".
    It is nothing short of amazing for you to even posit that, however I can certainly understand anyone pointing out the obvious bias problems (in the article no less) is "on thin ice", and after getting attacked, is solely blamed for "no facts".
    ---
    I certainly won't disagree that the 5870 is a good value as appearing if especially if you don't like to deal with 2 cards or 2 cores.
    But my posts never claimed otherwise. I first claimed it was not as good as wanted, was disappointing, and therefore was not the end of what ati had in store.
    Since I have posted on the 5890, which will in fact be 512 bit.
    Now, you don't like losing your points, or someone adept enough, smart enough, and accurate enough to counter them.
    Sorry about that, and sorry that I won't just lay down, as more heaps are shovelled my way.
    You skip my actual points, and go some other tangent.
    1. PhysX is an advantage and best implementation so far.
    your response: "It sucks because only 2 games ar available"
    ---
    Is that correct for you to do ? Is it not the very best so far ? Yes, it is in fact.
    I have remained factual and reasonable, and glad enough to throw back when I'm attacked.
    But the fact remains, I have made absolutely solid 100% poijnts no matter how many times you claim " lying and making stuff up, "
    ---
    Yet of course, what I just said about NVIDIA and laptp chips, you agreed with. So accoring to your own characterization (quite unfair), all you do is scream and lie, too.
    Just wonderful.
    The GT300 is going to blow this 5870 away - the stats themselves show it, and betting otherwise is a bad joke, and if sense is still about, you know it as well.
    Reply

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