Sapphire HD 5570 XtendTV 1GB GDDR5 £75
4th Mar 2011 | 09:37
Memories of the All-in-Wonder abound...
Sapphire Radeon HD 5570 XtendTV - Overview
Graphics card and TV tuner in one? The Sapphire Radeon HD 5570 Xtend TV sure is an all-in-wonder...
Lately, it's not enough for a GPU to just be a GPU. Until now they could happily occupy 3 PCI slots, chewing through more energy than a space shuttle whilst belching out enough fan noise to drown out any game.
But the glory days for these boards might be coming to an end.
AMD's trending Fusion tech sees the GPU and CPU integrated into one chip, and now we have some manner of GPU and integrated TV tuner devilment from Sapphire, who have their fingers dipped deeply into both these pies.
By offering the HD5570 Xtend TV with DirectX 11 gaming and DVB-T reception for less than an evening in the Ivy, they seem keen to sound the death-bell for traditional graphics cards.
But do gamers want TV tuners with their gaming GPUs? Are those in the market for a decent tuner willing to shell out more to replace their primary GPU?
Sapphire Radeon HD 5570 XtendTV - Verdict
It sports 400 shader cores and 16 ROPs. It can just about handle Crysis, tessellate polygons, and alone it'll cost you less than fifty quid. As a gaming card, it's a pretty good piece of silicon for the cash.
The question is how much does the integrated tuner justify the inflated price tag?
Well, to put it bluntly, barely.
First off it can only receive DVB-T (aka Freeview) information currently, so there's no HDTV available here. However since the bundled Mirics FlexiTV software uses the GPU to handle all the decoding work, it's certainly capable of handling DVB-T2 (that's HD) signals in the future.
The FlexiTV software is more a set of drivers than a suite of burgeoning functionality like Compro's DTV software bundled with its VideoMate U680F, so you'll be using Media Centre for watching and recording. However, FlexiTV includes a server mode that lets you stream broadcasting from your machine to any other via internet.
The peripheral hardware itself lets the HD 5570 down a bit though. No batteries included for the remote? Come on.
The IR receiver for said remote looks at least twice as big as it needs to be and coupled with the antenna it creates a lot of clutter, which has always been a big downside of TV tuners.
As a bundle this is a fairly acceptable deal and an exciting outing for integrated tuners, but at present it makes more sense to buy the HD5570 and a decent tuner separately.
This is a great all-purpose GPU for the price even before taking the integrated tuner into account.
It's a smart call by Sapphire to use this model, as attractive to thrifty gamers as media-minded enthusiasts.
It's a simple setup and installation and everything works as you'd expect it to. Apart from cluttering your desktop it's as subtle and easy as any TV tuner should be.
It's not that anything doesn't work, or that it's overpriced. If the TV tuner looks like an added bonus in this package, it's right for you.
If you're serious about this aspect though, there are better on the market for less that offer more favourable software suites.
Decent budget gaming card with TV functionality thrown in. You could do yourself a better deal by buying the same GPU with a separate tuner though.