XFX Radeon HD 6870 Review

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XFX Radeon HD 6870 Review

As we explained in our introduction to AMD’s brand-new Radeon HD 6000-series, which you can read here, the Radeon HD 6870 is the second in a series of new GPUs optimized for DirectX 11 games.

Despite the naming scheme, however, the 6870 is not AMD’s new top-shelf GPU: The 6870 is more comparable to the older 5850, but it’s much cheaper and consumes considerably less power. The real targets AMD is gunning for here are Nvidia’s mid-priced 768MB and 1GB GeForce 460 GPUs.

XFX’s take on the Radeon HD 6870 hews much closer to AMD’s reference design than their Radeon HD 6850 card did (you can read that review here), with a mounting bracket featuring two mini-DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, one HDMI 1.4a, one dual-link DVI, and one single-link DVI. XFX’s core and memory clock speeds are also the same as AMD’s reference design: 900- and 1,050MHz, respectively.

The spec chart helps explains why the Radeon HD 6870 fails to overcome the older high-end part: The new GPU has 480 fewer stream processors, 24 fewer texture units, and its 1GB of GDDR5 memory runs at a slower clock speed (1,050MHz versus 1,200MHz). The 6870’s core clock speed, on the other hand, runs 50MHz faster than the older 5870 (900MHz versus 850MHz).

Despite running at reference-design clock speeds, XFX’s take on the Radeon HD 6870 delivered impressive benchmark compared to the overclocked 768MB and 1GB GeForce GTX 460 cards we tested, as well as an overclocked Radeon HD 5870. The Radeon HD 6870 boasts exceptional price/performance ratios, with an even more impressive performance-per-watt ratio. This card is most definitely a winner.

XFX Radeon HD 6870

Hobbes

Excellent performance for the price; efficient power usage; enhanced display features; great warranty.

Calvin

A little on the pricey side (but you get the great warranty).

9

Benchmarks

XFX Radeon HD 6870
HIS Radeon HD 5870 MW2
Gigabyte 460 GTX 1GB
eVGA GTX 470
3DMark Vantage (Perf)
17068
19282
14609
15412
Unigine Heaven 2.1
19
13
18
24
Crysis 29
33
18
14
BattleForge (DX11)
42
45
37
50
Far Cry 2 (Action)
65
66
54
68
Far Cry 2 (Long)
78
78
66
83
HAWX (DX10)
73
92
65
86
STALKER: CoP (DX11)
34
38
30
32
Just Cause 2
35
37
31
33
Aliens vs Predator
27
31
22
30
DiRT2
65
72

71
Power (Watts, Idle) 129 141 131 161
Power (Watts, Full Throttle)
254 283
251
353

Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition in an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB of DDR3/1333 and an 850TX Corsair PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows Ultimate. All games are run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA.

Specifications

Radeon HD 6870
Radeon HD 5870
Die Size (mm2) 255334
Transistor Count1.7 Billion2.15 Billion
Memory Bandwidth
4.2Gbps 4.8Gbps
Stream Processors 1120 1600
Texture Units 56 80
ROPs 32 32
Core Clock (MHz) 900 850
Memory Clock (MHz) 1,050 1,200
Memory 1GB GDDR5 1GB GDDR5
Power (Watts Idle/Load) 19/151 27/188
Power Connectors Two 6-pin Two 6-pin
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Comments

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srkrause

Thanks for the fast review of the new AMD 6800 video cards.  Can anyone explain the Far Cry 2 (Action) scores?  The 6870 was a respectable 65, but the 6850 was 67, higher than even the 5870.  Is this Windows variation or something else?

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Chumly

Best scores aren't in bold. Or are they? You're suppose to tell me...

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loyd

I ran some initial CrossFireX benchmarks, and the results are impressive. Whereas the HD 5870 would demonstrate performance scaling from 20-75% in most cases, the 6870 is pretty much scaling at 2x in most games.

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crazitrain02

I'd like to see some benchmarks with a pair of 6870s in Crossfire.  If I'm going to upgrade from my two 4870s, I'd like to know that going up to a pair of 6870s is worth the money.

 

As always, awesome reviews.  +1 for the Kick-Ass award

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crazitrain02

So I bought one, and it easily out performs my 4870s in Crossfire.  Now I just need to get another card and 2 more 27" monitors to run 3 in eyefinity :)

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tugboat_2

If you look at the rewiew by Mr Smith over at Anand's site you will see some XFire/SLI data. However in single card mode the 6870 beat the 4870 badly enouhg it seems they didn't bother XFire'g the 4870.

I'm really liking what I see with this 6870 and I can't wait for the 69xx cards.

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