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Written by Olin Coles   
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
VisionTek 900338 Radeon HD 6870 Video Card
VisionTek 6870 Closer Look
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
Overclocking and Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
VisionTek 900338 Conclusion

VisionTek Radeon HD 6870 Video Card Review

Featuring a reconfigured Cypress GPU, the Barts architecture delivers AMD's HD3D technology with better performance and price.

Sometimes a product is so good, there's no reason to change a solid working design. VisionTek accepts this practice, and offers consumers the most affordable video cards sold on the market. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the VisionTek Radeon HD 6870 video card, a $240 DirectX-11 graphics solution that performs better than the more expensive Radeon HD 5850. The most notable new feature is Bart's 3rd-generation Unified Video Decoder with added support for DisplayPort 1.2. AMD's UVD3 accelerates multimedia playback and transcoding, while introducing AMD HD3D stereoscopic technology with multi-view CODEC (MVC) support for playing 3D Blu-ray over HDMI 1.4a.

Graphical frame rate performance is tested using the most demanding PC video game titles and benchmark software available. DirectX-10 favorites such as Crysis Warhead and PCMark Vantage are all included, in addition to DX11 titles such as Aliens vs Predator, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, BattleForge, Lost Planet 2, Mafia II, Metro 2033, and the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark. Built to deliver improved performance to the value-hungry mainstream gaming market, the VisionTek 900338 Radeon HD 6870 video card delivers top-end performance at a value-added price point.

VisionTek_Radeon-HD-6870_Video_Card_Review_Splash.jpg

According to information presented at the AMD Editor's Day event in Los Angeles on October 14th, approximately 33% of all AMD graphics solutions are sold for the desktop platform, with over 25-million Radeon DirectX-11 compatible products shipped to date. In many ways this data reinforces my position in the recent Desktop Platform article series, but it could also mean that manufacturers are listening ever more intently to the changing needs of their remaining consumer base. This doesn't always leave room for innovation, but AMD manages to introduce emerging technologies nevertheless.

For those who have been patiently waiting for news on ATI Stream technology, it's been re-tasked as AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing, or APP technology. AMD Eye-Definition represents their commitment to PC gamers, PC game developers, and the PC gaming industry. Through Eye-Definition AMD delivers their "Gamers Manifesto", which they assert will enable the best experience possible regardless of hardware manufacturer.

Visitors have proven they're impatient and want everything up front and in small doses. Keeping in that spirit, I'll reveal that VisionTek's Radeon HD 6870 video card offers improved PC gaming performance while also including innovative new technologies at an affordable price point. This has become the repetitive central thesis with each new graphics card launch, running opposite the excitement manufacturers often build up. Marketing departments do their best to tout these fresh changes, all the while knowing that the more things change the more they remain the same. And so it begins once again: consumers are given more for less, and the VisionTek Radeon HD 6870 affords them this opportunity. Thankfully, it's the glory of these details that makes a new product launch much more interesting.

Benchmark Reviews has previously gone to great lengths to provide comprehensive details within each of the video card project we've published, however these overly verbose articles are going to be modified the modern online audience. In each review, we test a large selection of comparison products and provide more than twenty pages of introspective details. We enjoy doing it, mostly, and feel that our more experienced readers deserve the added illustration to fully explore newly revealed technology. Beginning with this project, the topic is delivered in three separate portions: this video card review, a separate editorial piece on AMD HD3D stereocopic technology, along with AMD's own whitepaper documents on their new display and video technologies (Adobe PDF). Now everyone should be happy, and the world can be a better place.

Manufacturer: VisionTek
Product Name: Radeon HD 6870
Model Number: 900338
Suggested Tested: $239.99 at NewEgg

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by VisionTek.



 

Comments 

 
# Overclocking SWServando Silva 2010-10-30 17:54
Hi Olin, I know MSI's doesn't support GPU over-voltage, but have you tried the newest version of Sapphire Trixx? Maybe you could get a pre-release version from them, as I've seen those cards overclock a lot with some extra-voltage.
Thanks for the Review.
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# Waiting a whileRealNeil 2010-10-31 20:13
Had planned to but two GTX-460's in December, but now I'm not sure. These don't do CUDA & Phys-X do they? I wonder how they scale with two on-board?
Is the CUDA and Phys-X features enough to shoot these down?
Gonna have to wait to see what develops. Can only afford an VERY occasional buy, so I want to get the best bang for the buck when I do.
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# RE: Waiting a whileOlin Coles 2010-10-31 20:19
Some people really enjoy PhysX effects in their games, and use CUDA for encoding media files. Others don't, and so it becomes a point of preference.

Keep in mind that you can buy two 1GB GTX 460's for around $340, while two Radeon HD 6870's will costs $480. This doesn't exactly put them in the same price segment, so cost becomes a major factor.
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# RE: RE: Waiting a whilechris 2010-11-01 17:35
460 1G seriously is not in the same league in terms of performance with 6870.

and where do you get 1G 460 for $170?
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# RE: RE: RE: Waiting a whileOlin Coles 2010-11-01 17:59
Thank you for reiterating the point I made over and over in this article: it takes a lightly overclocked GTX 460 to compete with the Radeon HD 6870. A heavily overclocked EVGA GTX 460 FTW puts the 6870 to shame, however.

You can buy 1GB GeForce GTX 460's at NewEgg for $170, although some now also offer rebates.
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# RE: Waiting a whileFranck 2010-11-01 08:18
I really don t see why someone should buy this card over a gtx 460 1gb hawk for example. In a price performance POV. It cost most and the diference ain t worth it.
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# Great cardRudaxx 2010-11-01 12:24
Yes i bought two of these Amd 6870 and put them in crossfire. These are great cards, With Amd you can have and use a card effectively for more than two years, but with nVidia up to one year and you become obsolete, they are hot and very loud and who cares about cuda and physix i prefer Havok. Besides 90% of games are Havoc and they work great, not like physix in mafia 2 where you need an extra card to make it slightly more stable, with one it lags. I've never had problems with ati cards or their driver but with nvidia its a whole other story. By the way if you type "nvidia driver problems" on google you get 8 million results.
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# RE: Great cardJack 2010-11-01 12:43
You're right that the 6870 does seem like a great card and a worthy successor to the HD5770. Every benchmark I have seen shows the 6870 performing with and in some cases outperforming the GTX 460. Although, I game with a single Gigabyte GTX 470 SOC and haven't noticed any of the issues with PhysX you mentioned. By the way, if you type "ATI Driver Problems" into Google you will get nearly just as many results (7.2 million when I checked). You say that after one year nVidia cards become obsolete but I was still using my old BFG 8800GT 512MB card I got back in the summer of 08 until I upgraded to the Gigabyte GTX 470. That's 2+ years of great use and 0 driver problems. Either way, both sets of cards, AMD and nVidia, are impressive. Anyone, looking to buy either the HD6870 or the HD6850 should also consider the GTX 460 1GB, and look at performance benchmarks, heat, and power usage before coming to an informed decision. BTW, I am really interested in the GTX 580 vs HD69XX cards.
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# RE: VisionTek 900338 Radeon HD 6870 Video CardNick 2010-11-18 20:29
What are the physical w/h/d dimensions of the 6870?
I am looking to put this into my case, and need specs.
Sorry, I can't find specs anywhere online.
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# Same as it ever was....BruceBruce 2010-11-18 20:36
...with apologies to David Byrne. This is a reference card, and will be the same size as many of the other cards released at the AMD launch.

Height: 115 mm
Length: 245 mm
Width: 35 mm (Dual-slot)
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# RE: RE: VisionTek 900338 Radeon HD 6870 Video CardOlin Coles 2010-11-18 21:19
They're right there in the middle of page two. I even included the Radeon HD 6850 dimensions. If you read the article, you can't miss it.
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