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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 6870 Closer Look

The VisionTek 900338 Radeon HD 6870 video card is very similar to the reference design by AMD. In fact, it could be argued that VisionTek's design is even more basic and subdued than the original reference. This translates into a more-affordable sales price, but at the expense of a rather dull looking product.

VisionTek_Radeon-HD-6870_Video_Card_Packaging.jpg

AMD's Radeon HD 6800-series video cards already look very similar to the previous generation of 5800-series products. In fact, the only discernable difference appears on the connection header panel, which can add an additional DisplayPort monitor output (if the vendor implements this feature), and the closed rear section. VisionTek implements dual mini-DisplayPort 1.2 outputs on their 6870, unlike the Sapphire version we recently tested which used a single DP connection.

While there are still two digital DVI ports available on the VisionTek Radeon HD 6870, only one of them is dual-link to support AMD HD3D while the other is reduced to single-link. AMD's HD3D technology currently supports only one 3D display, with plans for multi-monitor 3D available in the future.

VisionTek_Radeon-HD-6870_Video_Card_Corner.jpg

Identical to the reference design, VisionTek's Radeon HD 6870 measures 9.75" inches long, by 1.25" tall and 3.75" wide. This is slightly longer than the Radeon HD 5850 model, which also occupied two expansion bay slots, but 1.25" shorter than the Radeon HD 5870. For reference, the Radeon HD 6850 measures 9.0" inches long, by 1.25" tall and 3.75" wide.

VisionTek_Radeon-HD-6870_Video_Card_Top.jpg

One particular item I've been hoping for and have failed to discover on the 6000-series is a focused blower fan orientation. This design angles the blower fan slightly downward to improve the forward force of air and creates a small separation between adjacent video cards. CrossFire configurations could benefit by such a design, as the competition has done to tame their much warmer products for several generations now.

VisionTek_Radeon-HD-6870_Video_Card_PCB.jpg

The VisionTek Radeon HD 6870 requires two 6-pin PCI-Express power connections for normal operation. AMD suggests that the TDP power demands are less than 151 watts for the Barts GPU, but we confirm this with our own power testing (discussed later in this article).

VisionTek_Radeon-HD-6870_Video_Card_Side.jpg

As a result of using AMD's reference design, the VisionTek Radeon HD 6870 lack intake vents at the end of the video card behind the blower fan. Some readers might recall the 'Bat mobile' appearance of the last generation, which has been replaced with a less-exciting look. Additionally, there's a small outlet (shown above) which allows a small portion of the heated exhaust to be expelled back inside the computer case.



 

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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