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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

VGA Testing Methodology

The Microsoft DirectX-11 graphics API is native to the Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System, and will be the primary O/S for our test platform. DX11 is also available as a Microsoft Update for the Windows Vista O/S, so our test results apply to both versions of the Operating System. The majority of benchmark tests used in this article are comparative to DX11 performance, however some high-demand DX10 tests have also been included.

According to the Steam Hardware Survey published for the month ending September 2010, the most popular gaming resolution is 1280x1024 (17-19" standard LCD monitors). However, because this 1.31MP resolution is considered 'low' by most standards, our benchmark performance tests concentrate on higher-demand resolutions: 1.76MP 1680x1050 (22-24" widescreen LCD) and 2.30MP 1920x1200 (24-28" widescreen LCD monitors). These resolutions are more likely to be used by high-end graphics solutions, such as those tested in this article.

In each benchmark test there is one 'cache run' that is conducted, followed by five recorded test runs. Results are collected at each setting with the highest and lowest results discarded. The remaining three results are averaged, and displayed in the performance charts on the following pages.

A combination of synthetic and video game benchmark tests have been used in this article to illustrate relative performance among graphics solutions. Our benchmark frame rate results are not intended to represent real-world graphics performance, as this experience would change based on supporting hardware and the perception of individuals playing the video game.

Cost to Performance Ratio

For this article Benchmark Reviews has included cost per FPS for graphics performance results. An average of the five least expensive product prices are calculated, which do not consider tax, freight, promotional offers, or rebates into the cost. All prices reflect product series components, and do not represent any specific manufacturer, model, or brand. The median retail prices for each product were obtained from NewEgg.com and current as of 25-October-2010:AMD-Radeon-HD-6870-Video-Card-GPU-Z.gif

  • $167 GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $180 Radeon HD 6850 1GB
  • $220 GeForce GTX 460 1GB
  • $240 Radeon HD 6870 1GB
  • $260 EVGA GTX 460 FTW 1GB
  • $262 Radeon HD 5850 1GB
  • $292 GeForce GTX 470 1GB

Intel X58-Express Test System

DirectX-10 Benchmark Applications

  • 3DMark Vantage v1.02
    • Extreme Settings: (Extreme Quality, 8x Multisample Anti-Aliasing, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, 1:2 Scale)
  • Crysis Warhead v1.1 with HOC Benchmark
    • Extreme Settings: (Very High Quality, 4x AA, 16x AF, Airfield Demo)

DirectX-11 Benchmark Applications

  • Aliens vs Predator
    • Extreme Settings: (Very High Quality, 4x AA, 16x AF, SSAO, Tessellation, Advanced Shadows)
  • BattleField: Bad Company 2
    • Extreme Settings: (Highest Quality, HBAO, 8x AA, 16x AF, 180s Fraps Single-Player Intro Scene)
  • BattleForge v1.2
    • Extreme Settings: (Very High Quality, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Auto Multi-Thread)
  • Lost Planet 2
    • Extreme Settings: (2x AA, Low Shadow Detail, High Texture, High Render, High DirectX 11 Features)
  • Mafia II
    • Extreme Settings: (Antialiasing, 16x AF, High Shadow Quality, High Detail, High Geometry, Ambient Occlusion)
  • Metro 2033
    • Extreme Settings: (Very-High Quality, AAA, 16x AF, Advanced DoF, Tessellation, 180s Fraps Chase Scene)
  • Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
    • Extreme Settings: (High Quality, Normal Tessellation, 16x AF, 4x AA)

Video Card Test Products

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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