AMD Radeon HD 6870 & 6850 Graphics Cards Debut - HotHardware

AMD Radeon HD 6870 & 6850 Graphics Cards Debut

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A number of AMD’s board partners were at the ready with Radeon HD 6800 series products in time for this launch, so we gobbled up as many retail-ready products as we could to compliment the AMD reference cards we had for testing. For the purpose of this launch article, we acquired cards from Asus, Sapphire, HIS, and XFX.


 

 

 
Asus EAH6870

First up, we have the Asus EAH6870. As its name suggests, this is Asus’ Radeon HD 6870 offering, and like the other 6870 cards featured here, it mostly adheres to AMD’s reference design. Asus differentiates the EAH6870 by offering voltage adjustments that should allow for higher peak overclocks, but due to time constraints we weren’t able to test this feature. Of course, Asus also affixes a custom decal to the fan shroud, which clearly designates this card comes from Asus. In addition, there is an aluminum front cover to the shroud, which aids in heat dissipation.

Asus bundles their 6870 with a driver / digital user’s manual CD, a CrossFire bridge connector, a single power adapter, and a VGA-to-DVI adapter. No games or other goodies were to be found and the output configuration and frame buffer are identical to the reference models. As for the clocks, the card has a 915MHz GPU and 1GB of memory operating at 1.05GHz.

 

 
XFX Radeon HD 6870

Next up we have the XFX Radeon HD 6870. Like Asus’ card, XFX's 6870 is virtually identical to the reference design. The XFX Radeon HD 6870 is set apart by its elaborate fan shroud decal and by a custom case bracket. Whereas the other 6870 cards featured here have basic lined vents cut into the bracket for exhausting hot air from a system, XFX’s offering sports a vent with the letters ‘XFX’ cut in. Looks pretty cool if you ask us.

 

 

 
XFX Radeon HD 6850

XFX’s Radeon HD 6850, pictured above, is a complete departure from AMD’s reference design. The XFX Radeon HD 6850 sports a custom cooler and is built upon a PCB that slightly shorter than the reference design. In terms of its features and specifications, however, the XFX Radeon HD 6850 adheres to AMD’s specs, which is to say its GPU is clocked at 775MHz and its 1GB of GDDR5 memory is clocked at 1GHz. Like its higher-end counterpart, the XFX Radeon HD 6850 features a custom case bracket with ‘XFX’ vents, but this card had red DVI outputs and a funky shroud with vents all around.

XFX bundles their Radeon HD 6800 series cards with a quick install guide, warranty information, driver install guide, an XFX PSU brochure, a CrossFire bridge connector, and a cool “XFX Play Hard: Do Not Disturb—I’m Gaming!” placard.

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These are for the mainstream users. Not a viable upgrade from my 5870. Waiting on the Caymen 6890 XT for my next upgrade. Bring it!

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That's Cayman (Radeon HD 6970) and yep, we want it brought too! :)

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Good read!  Was glad too see some Branded cards, rather than the reference models I have seen so far.  Can't wait to see cayman and antilles coverage.

would love to hear about the stereoscopic 3d support these cards are introducing.

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Great review! The excellent scaling bodes well for the dual-GPU 6990.

Some things that confused me:

-The naming convention will make it all the harder to compare previous generation cards with the new generation. Perhaps AMD wants to create more low to mid-end offerings and needed to free up some numbering space.

-Little disappointed that AMD chose to debut the series with the upper mid-range cards. Can't wait to see how the 6900 series perform, but right now the performance numbers are good, but not thrilling.

-The improvement in power, heat and noise will be very interesting to see in the mobile versions of these cards.

 

So all in all, AMD has served us a great appetizer course, but no entrée.

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It's weird how Sapphire chose to use the stock fan on the 6870 but placed the good, quiet cooling fan on the 6850.

I have the Sapphire 6850 and its the quietest fans I have ever heard (or not heard), it only starts to get noticeably audible at 55%  inside a case but during OCCT/Furmark the fans only throttle up to 59% so its still relatively quiet when you are gaming.

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The Crossfire scaling is insane. Almost double performance in some games. That's just crazy. Not that I have the money to drop in 2 cards. I am getting a good size pay check tomorrow. About time to upgrade and now seems like a pretty good time to do that. My budget will most likely be around the $150 - $200 price point so this review hits that hard.

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I myself am also waiting for Caymen as well. I want that card to blow away the GTX480 if it wants to get my hard earned money.

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Any one know when the 6900 series cards will be out?

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@Der - We can't say exactly, but it won't be long.

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Marco C:

@Der - We can't say exactly, but it won't be long.

Sweet! In the next week or so then I would assume... 

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