The Card that Killed the Dragon

Computer Ed

Oct 2, 2009
Greetings all, just a quick hit and run...

I have posted a piece on my blog on some interesting facts on the 5000 series release that is not being discussed. Chris Hook told me to post the story because he felt it needed to be gotten out to the public and was not sure why it had not been talked about yet.

Below is an exceprt of the post with the link to the full post below it.

Now we are looking at the next generation of video cards from ATI. The reviewers all agree the 5850 is redefining the mainstream with the power it is bringing at a mainstream price. Yet as we look at those reviews and take a a deeper look, something is different. First with this release, unlike past releases we are not seeing any mantra of experience over benchmarks. Conspicuously absent as well is any mention of how this card impacts Dragon or for that matter if this moves the platform concept to a whole new level. AMD seems in fact kind of silent on a front they have been screaming about for a few years now.

However it is not just AMD, the review sites are silent as well. Oh sure they are excited about the card and they should be, it is an amazing card. However what was most interesting was what these reviews all had in common besides praise, they where all on Intel platforms. Not a single review I looked at (as of 15:00 CST October 2nd), and I looked at a lot, of 5850 or 5870 showed an AMD platform in the testing.

The Card that Killed the Dragon



Jan 2, 2008
I browsed your article and some of your others. I think you may be making too big a deal out of this. It is as simple as this, AMD knows that on an Intel platform the 5xxx series cards will look better because they will total at higher FPS, though their lead or deficit over other cards likely wont change. They then, when everyone knows these cards rock, will release some form of new marketing for the platform that will cover up the lower performance on an AMD platform and will give the user a sense of a good investment, even if the price difference was small. It's just marketing.

You did bring up a point that has bothered me through the entire 5xxx series launch, atleast I think you did. Every time a comparable single card came out to compete with last generations dual card (8800 GTX vs 7950 GX2, 280 GTX 9800 GX2, ect.) there has been once common caveat to all the benchmarks. A single card will give a better gaming experience than a dual GPU card that performs the same because the minimum FPS will be higher and the FPS drops will be much smaller because of the lack of SLI/Crossfire scaling issues. Also, there is very limited mention of the performance improvements that the new single card will gain, like the GTX 280 usually beats a 9800 GX2 now but usually lost at launch. And despite all of this you have even Anandtech ignoring all of this and saying that the 5870 isn't an improvement over the GTX 295, when it is atleast on par with it now when it comes to the gaming experience and will beat it pretty heavily, yes even in benchmarks, in a few months. That is odd.

Edit: Also your overclocking article is disingenuous. A lot of people believe that overclocking isn't worth the hassle, but atleast get your performance statistics right. An i7 920 will encode HD video almost twice as fast when overclocked to 4.0 Ghz. An E5200 will bottleneck 2 cards pretty bad until overclocked to around 3.0-3.4 Ghz. An i7 920 at stock likely wont, I see your point there. Just get those statistics to be a bit more realistic.


WRT the overclocking article The_ Blood_Raven mentioned: An extra $100 won't net you much speed gain if you just put it towards a higher binned processor either. Meh, I overclock with stock cooling if necessary, otherwise I undervolt at stock speeds instead.


I'm not sure I follow. The hole in the sky that you found is that all benchmarks for the 5xxx were on Intel systems? By testing on the fastest CPUs, they can eliminate the CPU from holding the 5xxx back. I'm also not sure AMDs been "screaming" about dragon for years. (or even months.) Sites will eventually start testing with 955s, but the death of dragon? Did it ever really live?
Yeah, I don't see this as a huge deal. Everyone knows Intel has the fastest chip and expects it to be run on that. Beyond that, its not like it won't run great on your PII or whatever. If anything, the 5870/50 will be what kept the Dragon (AMD) alive by putting out good chips and making money, even if they are often run on Intel.

And, I also now enjoy undervolting (at least my gaming computer). This PII 940 is plenty for the games I run, so I cut a tenth of a volt off so it runs nice and cool.