AMD Radeon HD 6850 and Radeon HD 6870

Review

posted 1/24/2011 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
It’s been a long, long time since we’ve reviewed an AMD card but I think we got a good series to get back into the game. A few months ago, AMD unleashed the latest line in their Radeon graphics card, the AMD Radeon HD 6800 series. I sat through the press briefing during the time and was anxious to try them out. Well, that time’s finally come.

Yes, we’re a little late to the game but we finally were able to pick up a Radeon HD 6870 and a Radeon 6850, courtesy of AMD. Now, you probably know a lot about the latest architecture from AMD so I won’t go into too many details but I’ll do a quick run down of what’s new for AMD.

The AMD Radeon HD 6800 series is being presented initially with two upper mid-range cards. While you normally see the high end stuff first, AMD’s going with the more affordable range first and in a short amount of time, producing the more powerful cards for the enthusiasts to drool over.

Code-named Bart after an island in the Caribbean, the two cards offer up some nice specs for the price. We’re talking an optimized Radeon HD 5800 architecture here so you know you’re getting good performance using less power and at a lower price. Let’s start with the AMD Radeon HD 6870, or Bart XT. The AMD Radeon HD 6870 runs at 900MHz for the GPU with 1120 stream processors and memory running at 4200 MHz. You can expect 1GB of DDR5 memory on-board but I’m guessing OEMS will offer variants with 2GB of memory as well.

Lengthwise, the card is long but not as long as a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480. It’s a dual slot card so you’ll be taking up two expansion slots when you put this in your computer. A half-height vent exhausts the hot air out the back of the computer. The reason it is a half-height vent is because the other half is taken up by a Dual-DVI connector.

On the bracket, there are a plethora of connection options. Two Dual-DVI connectors, two Mini-DisplayPort 1.2 connections, and one full sized HDMI 1.4a connector makes for plenty of ways you can hook the card up to a monitor or TV. I love the 1.4a connection option as that lets you have the ability to watch 3D Blu-Ray movies, resolutions far greater than 1080P, high-speed networking capabilities, and other features that you can read more about here.

Power wise, the Radeon HD 6870 takes two 6-pin power connectors to run. Idle power takes up about 15W while on full load, the Radeon HD 6870 will draw 150W.

It’s priced to be competitive with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB cards. At around $240, the AMD Radeon HD 6870 is priced in a very competitive area where it’s not too expensive if you’re looking to get a very good card to run the latest games.
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