The first time I laid eyes on this card I was visiting AMD's headquarters in Sunnyvale before the Radeon HD 5800 series launch event.  I could take photos of the 6 displays it was driving, but not the card itself.  So we'll start off with a picture of the things that set the Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition card apart from its 3-display counterpart.

The most obvious changes are the display outputs.  While your standard 5870 has two DL-DVI, one DisplayPort and one HDMI output, the Eyefinity 6 Edition has six mini Display Port connectors.  

You can further convert two of those DP outputs into any combination of DVI, HDMI (only one can be HDMI) and VGA.  The remaining four connectors must remain Display Port due to the limited number of timing sources on the 5870.  The card will come with two mini DP to DP adapters, 2 passive mini DP to SL-DVI dongles and one passive mini DP to HDMI dongle.

Clock speeds have not changed.  The GPU still runs at 850MHz core and the memory runs at a 1.2GHz clock speed (4.8GHz data rate).  Memory size did change however, the Eyefinity 6 Edition card ships with 2GB of GDDR5 to accommodate the resolutions this thing will be driving. As 256MB GDDR5 is still not available for mass production (and won't be until later this year), AMD is using 16 x 128MB GDDR5 chips in 16-bit mode.

  AMD Radeon HD 5970 AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 AMD Radeon HD 5870 AMD Radeon HD 5850
Stream Processors 2x1600 1600 1600 1440
Texture Units 2x80 80 80 72
ROPs 2x32 32 32 32
Core Clock 725MHz 850MHz 850MHz 725MHz
Memory Clock 1GHz (4GHz data rate) GDDR5 1.2GHz (4.8GHz data rate) GDDR5 1.2GHz (4.8GHz data rate) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz data rate) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 2x256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 2x1GB 2GB 1GB 1GB
Transistor Count 2x2.15B 2.15B 2.15B 2.15B
TDP 294W 228W 188W 151W
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Price Point $699 $479 $390-420 $300

As a result of the added memory, power consumption has also gone up slightly.  The Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition now requires both a 6-pin and an 8-pin PCIe power connector instead of the two 6-pin connectors of the stock 5870:

The extra memory and five adapters that you get in the box do come at a price.  The Radeon HD 5870 E6 Edition is expected to retail for $479.  That's $100 more than the MSRP of the 5870 but only $59 more than its actual street price.  It remains to be seen what the street price of the 5870 E6 will end up being given that TSMC 40nm production is still limited with improved but not yet perfect yields. These cards should be available immediately.

Update 4/1/2010: Launch prices appear to have missed their target. We're seeing the 5870E6 sold out at $499, and in-stock elsewhere at $549. This puts it at an $80 premium over the reference 1GB 5870.

Setting up Six Displays
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  • Paulman - Thursday, April 01, 2010 - link

    I agree that they should release a higher clocked (binned) version of the HD 5870, if only to steal NVIDIA's thunder. They wouldn't need mass availability. Even just a few hundred, or ideally 10,000+ units would be enough to dethrone NVIDIA from being able to claim "the fastest single-GPU card". And I think such claims form the bulk of what NVIDIA has to work with right now.

    A 512-bit version would require a redesign of the chip, though, which would require a lot of manpower including design verification, etc. I don't think it would be worth it for ATI/AMD. Again, releasing a higher-clocked part - now that would be super easy and super effective.
    Reply
  • Calin - Thursday, April 01, 2010 - link

    A redesigned 512-bit memory interface card wouldn't come much earlier (if at all) than the next generation. Also, it would use a lot of design/test/silicon resources and time (financially, manpower, ...) for what would be some couple thousands cards sold (when AMD can not produce enough graphic chips as it is).
    Keep up availability and low price instead of the absolute top. NVidia will be in the "enviable" position of having the top performance card which nobody can find, and nothing else in performance and mainstream segments.
    Reply
  • Hargak - Monday, April 05, 2010 - link

    I would think they already have a working dual gpu that will beat it, yet stay close to the single cards output. Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    I think 3 displays or better yet, 5 displays with the middle one in pivot mode, to counter any crosshair issues, is they route go. Should be possible, no? Reply
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    No one says you have to add monitors in pairs. This card just has the connection for UP TO 6 monitors. So hook up five and then configure eyeinfinity. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    3 is currently possible, however 5 isn't supported by the drivers yet. AMD is apparently working on it though.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Quidam67 - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Devils advocate, but it seems to me that you actually need 9 displays to deal with the crosshair issue.

    And wouldn't that also allow you to maintain aspect ratio?

    Imagine the fun Anand could have putting 9 monitors together :O)

    Reply
  • Granseth - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    why not buy 3 cheap projectors and set them up with eyefinity.
    No Bezels, high resolution and a large screen.

    I would very much like to see somebody doing this and giving feedback about how this solution would work. Although the problem would probably be to find a cheap projector with display port.
    Reply
  • AmbroseAthan - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Though not eyefinity, this could give you an idea of what it is like:

    http://nthusim.com/setup/bhawthorne-triple-circula...
    Reply
  • Makaveli - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    From this review it looks like the 2GB's are needed for a 6 screensetup.... I don't see how that is suppose to be a counter to the GTX 480.

    Graphic card prices aren't going down as quickly as people would have liked based on its review, just wait for the refresh card its coming.
    Reply

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