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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

DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1

The Unigine "Heaven 2.1" benchmark is a free publicly available tool that grants the power to unleash the graphics capabilities in DirectX-11 for Windows 7 or updated Vista Operating Systems. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode, emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

The distinguishing feature in the Unigine Heaven benchmark is a hardware tessellation that is a scalable technology aimed for automatic subdivision of polygons into smaller and finer pieces, so that developers can gain a more detailed look of their games almost free of charge in terms of performance. Thanks to this procedure, the elaboration of the rendered image finally approaches the boundary of veridical visual perception: the virtual reality transcends conjured by your hand.

Although Heaven-2.1 was recently released and used for our DirectX-11 tests, the benchmark results were extremely close to those obtained with Heaven-1.0 testing. Since only DX11-compliant video cards will properly test on the Heaven benchmark, only those products that meet the requirements have been included.

  • Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
    • Extreme Settings: (High Quality, Normal Tessellation, 16x AF, 4x AA

Unigine_Heaven_DX11_Benchmark.jpg

Heaven 2.1 Extreme Quality Settings

Cost Analysis: Unigine Heaven (1680x1050)

  • $167 GeForce GTX 460 768MB costs $6.12 per FPS
  • $180 Radeon HD 6850 1GB costs $7.03 per FPS
  • $220 GeForce GTX 460 1GB costs $7.59 per FPS
  • $240 Radeon HD 6870 1GB costs $7.95 per FPS
  • $260 EVGA GTX 460 FTW 1GB costs $7.26 per FPS
  • $262 Radeon HD 5850 1GB costs $10.08 per FPS
  • $292 GeForce GTX 470 1GB costs $8.23 per FPS

Test Summary: Reviewers like to say "Nobody plays a benchmark", but it seems evident that we can expect to see great things come from a graphics tool this detailed. For now though, those details only come by way of DirectX-11 video cards. Our 'extreme' test results with the Unigine Heaven benchmark tool appear to deliver fair comparisons of DirectX-11 graphics cards when set to higher quality levels. Heaven 2.1 is a very demanding benchmark tool, which is why tessellation is set to normal levels and antialiasing is reduced to 4x.

Unigine's Heaven 2.1 benchmark delivered performance results similar to 3dMark Vantage, Aliens vs Predator, and BattleForge. Using Heaven 2.1, the Radeon HD 6850 trails behind the 768MB GeForce GTX 460 and really fails to match the value. The VisionTek Radeon HD 6870 surpasses the 1GB GeForce GTX 460 by a small margin, costing it more the value rating, but outperforms the older Radeon HD 5850 and offers a much better value. In this test, the GeForce GTX 470 was actually outmatched by the less-expensive EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW video card.

Graphics Card GeForce GTX460 Radeon 6850 GeForce GTX460 Radeon HD6870 EVGA GTX460 FTW Radeon HD5850 GeForce GTX470
GPU Cores 336 960 336 1120 336 1440 448
Core Clock (MHz) 675 775 675 900 850 725 608
Shader Clock (MHz) 1350 N/A 1350 N/A 1700 N/A 1215
Memory Clock (MHz) 900 1000 900 1050 1000 1000 837
Memory Amount 768MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1280MB GDDR5
Memory Interface 192-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 320-bit



 

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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