AMD Radeon HD 6870 graphics card
AMD's Radeon HD 6800 series has arrived, and the results speak for themselves: Radeon HD 6870 is the mid-range card to beat.
- Solid performance for asking price, 3D monitor support, good connectivity options
- Power consumption could be a little lower
The AMD HD 6870 is a worthy successor to the Radeon HD 5850. It offers a superior gaming performance, comparable power efficiency, and a lower price tag to boot.
Price$ 239.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 3 stores)
The Radeon HD 6870 is the larger, more capable member of AMD's new 6800 series lineup. Priced at a respectable US$239 (as of 10/21/2010), this mid-range graphics card manges to outpace its closest relative -- the Radeon HD5850 (US$279) -- while keeping your bank balance intact.
The Radeon HD 6800 series offer a new chip architecture, code-named Barts. It's a modified version of the chip architecture featured in the Radeon HD 5850 and 5870 graphics cards (dubbed Cypress), cutting back on size but still delivering excellent performance. Be sure to check out Jason Cross' expansive overview of the Radeon HD 6800 GPUs and their architecture, for a deep dive on what's happening under the hood.
If you're already familiar with AMD's 5800 series of graphics cards, you'll be right at home. In addition to sporting a similar aesthetic design, the Radeon HD 6870 comes equipped with AMD's Eyefinity Technology, which will allow you to drive up to three displays from a single card. The card offers a pair of DVI ports (one dual-link and one single-link), an HDMI port, and two mini-DisplayPort connectors. While the variety is admirable, keep in mind that you'll need a pair of mini-DisplayPort adapters.
AMD has also finally implemented their answer to Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision, with HD3D. Their take on 3D involves support for the Open Stereo 3D Initiative. Instead of creating dedicated hardware, HD3D promises support for a wide variety of methods, ranging from existing active-shutter or polarized glasses, to glasses-free 3D technologies that will eventually work their way to market.
Where performance is concerned, the 6870 makes an impressive showing. We'll start with synthetic benchmarks: they're not necessarily indicative of real-world performance, but as an industry standard they'll give us a generally good impression of where a particular GPU stacks up. The Radeon HD 6870 maintained a consistent lead over the older Radeon HD 5850 in all of our synthetic tests.
While it's admirable to see a card outperform another while saving you about $40, there's no real surprise here: The 6870 sports an improved tessellation engine and a higher clock speed than the 5850, lending the smaller card more muscle in all the right places.
With actual game performance things get a bit closer, but the 6870 still comes out ahead. All tests were performed at resolutions of 1920-by-1200 and 1680-by-1050 with maximum available settings, alternating between disabling and enabling anti-aliasing. The Radeon HD 5850 captures the lead on our Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. benchmark, but barely: there's an average difference of six frames per second, which simply isn't worth the bump in price.
Where power utilization is concerned, the 6870 gobbles up a bit more energy when under load on our test bench -- 246 watts, versus the 5850's 231 watts. But it's a more conservative part while idle, consuming 103 watts, against the 5850's 127 watts. Keep in mind that those totals take the entire system's load into account -- your own measurements will vary, as our test bench sports a power-hungry Intel Core i7 980X processor and it's accompanying gargantuan heatsink.
To make a bit more sense of these numbers, we'll have to look at the card's relative power efficiency. The results are close: the Radeon HD 5850 edges past the 6870 ever so slightly, but keep in mind that the 6870 keeps the idle power lower by about 30 watts.
To be frank, this one is a no brainer. AMD's Radeon HD 5850 had a good run, but its simply outclassed by a newcomer that offers superior performance, comparable power efficiency, and a lower price tag. A great card may be riding off into the sunset, but the Radeon HD 6870 is every bit the worthy successor.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 4 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
- 5 Telstra Wi-Fi 4GX Advanced III review: Testing the world's first 600Mbps wireless hotspot
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 launches with limited stock, no custom-cooled variants
- Total War: Warhammer DirectX 12 performance preview: Radeon reigns supreme
- Radeon Polaris GPU and Bristol Ridge APU should be featured by AMD at Computex
- Google's Tensor Processing Unit said to advance Moore's Law seven years into the future
- Confirmed by Nvidia: Official GeForce GTX 1070 tech specifications leak
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCOracle Applications Team LeadNSW
- CCDeemed Order Business SpecialistVIC
- CCSenior Project ManagerVIC
- CCData Migration Quality Manager- SAP ECCNSW
- CCNetwork Architect VoiceNSW
- FTNV1, NV2 Network Engineers | Permanent role with diverse Defence projectsACT
- CCContract Programmer (MS SQL Server/SQL/Web) 160518/P/626Asia
- CCSoftware Engineer (Client facing) - Publisher SolutionsNSW
- FTAX Lead Functional ConsultantNSW
- CCTransition Project ManagerNSW
- CCDigital Content ProducerVIC
- FTSenior Network Engineer - Technical LeadACT
- FTSystems EngineerACT
- FTSenior Full-Stack .NET DeveloperVIC
- CCNetwork Consultant - Bandwidth Assessment | 3 month contract into Defence | NV1+ACT
- CCBusiness Analyst, AdviceNSW
- FTData Feeds Developer | Financial Services | C# & SQLNSW
- FTNV2 Defence Project Manager | Canberra | Major exciting White Paper projectsNSW
- CCService Desk analystSA
- CCTechnical Service LeadNSW
- FTDynamics Project ManagerNSW
- FTPega Operation Engineer - CEPNSW
- FTSenior Java Developer / Technical LeadACT
- FTNV2 Defence Project Manager | Major exciting White Paper projectsACT
- FTPerformance Test AnalystNSW