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Written by Hank Tolman   
Thursday, 03 March 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics Card
Closer Look: MSI R6870 Hawk
MSI R6870 Hawk Detailed Features
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Aliens vs. Predator
DX11: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DX11: DiRT-2 Demo
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
MSI R6870 Hawk Temperatures and Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

AMD Radeon HD 6870 Features

The AMD Radeon HD 6870 GPU contained in the MSI HD 6870 PCS+ video card has all of the major technologies that the Radeon 5xxx cards have had since last September. AMD has added several new features, however. The most important ones are: the new Morphological Anti-aliasing, the two DisplayPort 1.2 connections that support four monitors between them, 3rd generation UVD video acceleration, and AMD HD3D technology. In case you are just starting your research for a new graphics card, here is the complete list of standard GPU features, as supplied by AMD:

Radeon HD 6870 Summary:

  • 900MHz Engine Clock
  • 1GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 1050MHz Memory Clock (GDDR5)
  • 134.4 Gbps memory bandwidth (maximum)
  • 2 TFLOPs compute power
  • Double slot form factor
  • TeraScale 2 Unified Processing Architecture
    • 1120 Stream Processors
    • 56 Texture Units
    • 128 Z/Stencil ROP Units
    • 32 Color ROP Units
  • PCI Express 2.1 x16 bus interface
  • "Eye-Definition" graphics
    • DirectX 11 support
      • Shader Model 5.0
      • DirectCompute 11
      • Programmable hardware tessellation unit
      • Accelerated multi-threading
      • HDR texture compression
      • Order-independent transparency
    • OpenGL 4.1 support
    • Image quality enhancement technology
      • Up to 24x multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing modes
      • Adaptive anti-aliasing
      • Morphological anti-aliasing (MLAA)
      • 16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
      • 128-bit floating point HDR rendering
  • AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology1
    • Independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays
    • Display grouping
      • Combine multiple displays to behave like a single large display
  • AMD EyeSpeed visual acceleration2
    • AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology3,4
      • OpenCL 1.1
      • DirectCompute 11
      • Accelerated video encoding, transcoding, and upscaling
    • UVD 3 dedicated video playback accelerator
      • MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
      • VC-1
      • MPEG-2 (SD & HD)
      • Multi-View Codec (MVC)
      • MPEG-4 part 2 (DivX, Xvid)
      • Adobe Flash
    • Enhanced Video Quality features
      • Advanced post-processing and scaling
      • Dynamic contrast enhancement and color correction
      • Brighter whites processing (Blue Stretch)
      • Independent video gamma control
      • Dynamic video range control
    • Dual-stream HD (1080p) playback support
    • DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support
  • AMD HD3D technology5
    • Stereoscopic 3D display/glasses support
    • Blu-ray 3D support
    • Stereoscopic 3D gaming
    • 3rd party Stereoscopic 3D middleware software support
  • AMD CrossFireXTM multi-GPU technology6
    • Dual GPU scaling
  • Cutting-edge integrated display support
    • DisplayPort 1.2
      • Max resolution: 2560x1600 per display
      • Multi-Stream Transport
      • 21.6 Gbps bandwidth
      • High bit-rate audio
    • HDMI 1.4a with Stereoscopic 3D Frame Packing Format, Deep Color, xvYCC wide gamut support, and high bit-rate audio
      • Max resolution: 1920x1200
    • Dual-link DVI with HDCP
      • Max resolution: 2560x1600
    • VGA
      • Max resolution: 2048x1536
  • Integrated HD audio controller
    • Output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI or DisplayPort with no additional cables required
    • Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio formats
  • AMD PowerPlayTM power management technology4
    • Dynamic power management with low power idle state
    • Ultra-low power state support for multi-GPU configurations
  • AMD CatalystTM graphics and HD video configuration software
    • Unified graphics display drivers
      • Certified for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
    • AMD Catalyst Control CenterTM
      • Software application and user interface for setup, configuration, and accessing special features of AMD Radeon products

MSI R6870 Hawk Specific FeaturesMSI_bluelogo_400px.png

  • Propeller Blade on Twin Frozr III
    - The special blade design generates 20% more airflow than traditional design.
    - The airflow covers wider area for the better heat dissipation.
    - 21? cooler & 7dB quieter than reference design!!!
  • Triple Over voltage by Afterburner
    - World's first HD 6870 graphics card supporting voltage adjustment of GPU/Memory/VDDCI.
    - The performance can be boosted up!! World's first HD 6870 graphics card supporting voltage adjustment of GPU/Memory/VDDCI.
  • 8+2 Phase PWM Design
    - 8+2 Phase PWM design provides extra 80A current output power to GPU for better overclocking power capability.
  • Military Class II Components
    - SFC (Super Ferrite Choke) has higher current for better overclocking ability.
    - Hi-C CAP for GPU provides more precise voltage.
    - All Solid CAPs have longer lifespan.

AMD Radeon HD 6870 Specifications

GPU Engine Specs for MSI R6870 Hawk:

  • Fabrication Process: TSMC 40nm Bulk CMOS
  • Die Size: 255mm2
  • No. of Transistors: 1.7 Billion
  • SIMD Engines: 14
  • Stream Processors: 1120
  • Texture Units: 56
  • ROP Units: 32
  • Engine Clock Speed: 930 MHz
  • Texel Fill Rate (bilinear filtered): 52.6 Gigatexels/sec
  • Pixel Fill Rate: 30.1 Gigapixels/sec
  • Maximum board power: 151 Watts
  • Minimum board power: 19 Watts

Memory Specs:

  • Memory Clock: 1050 MHz - DDR
  • Memory Configurations: 1 GB GDDR5
  • Memory Interface Width: 256-bit
  • Memory Data Rate: 4.2 Gbps

Display Support:

  • Maximum DVI Resolution: 2560x1600
  • Maximum VGA Resolution: 2048x1536
  • Maximum Display Output: 4x - 1920x1200
  • Standard Display Connectors:
    • One Dual-Link DVI
    • One Single-Link DVI
    • One Mini HDMI v1.4a
    • Two Mini Display Port v1.2

Standard Graphics Card Dimensions:

  • Height: 115 mm
  • Length: 255 mm
  • Width: 38 mm (Dual-slot)

Source: AMD.com and MSI.com



 

Comments 

 
# RE: MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics Carddev 2011-03-06 22:47
It's rather baffling how you got the 450 and 460SEs specs wrong. Also given the 6870 price I don't think a comparison with the 560Ti would've been so far off.
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# Open PlatformRealNeil 2011-03-07 07:41
I've been reading on the web about many people who are buying newer Radeon cards that are reference design, and then flashing the BIOS of their card to the BIOS of a more expensive overclocked brand and model.
Yeah, they're flashing across brands too. They claim that they get the benefits built into the higher priced cards for less money. The BIOS on this card is popular. I expect to see cards come with unique identifier chips built-in in the future to prevent this.
I like MSI's cooler design and have it on two Fermi based cards now. They do run quieter and certainly much cooler too.
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# RE: MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics Cardhcforde 2011-03-07 07:55
Nice review of the 6870. I have been a fan of ATI/AMD cards for years unless I needed another brand for a specialized purpose. I am currently running 2-2gb ASUS Eyefinity6 cards in Xfire. However the comparison cards used in the review don't make sense to me. Why not a full GTX 460 rather than the dumbed down 'SE' version. Why not a 560ti as their price points are more similar. I have to give credit to Nvidia for the 560ti and 570. They appear to be the price performance leaders when it comes to full value (S-3D added value capability). If you could upgrade this review to include the GTX460 and the GTX 560ti I think this review would have more relevant significance.
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# Relatively easy to compareBruceBruce 2011-03-07 08:15
One of the advantages of the way we do video card testing, is that all the results on this site are pretty consistent, across different reviewers. Feel free to look around at some of our other video card reviews to get test data on other cards.
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# RE: Relatively easy to comparehcforde 2011-03-09 04:57
But if the test bed is different it will not be a true comparison. Most people that I know want to see how cards that are similar in price stack up together in a given system. Trying to compare 'Card A" in a system with 4 cores and 4 threads with "Card B" in another system with 2 cores and 2 threads doesn't make me feel comfortable with the results.
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# RE: RE: Relatively easy to compareBruceBruce 2011-03-09 05:43
Most of the reviewers on this site are using Quad-core Intels for their video card test bench. I'm using an i5-750, OC at 4.0 GHz on a P55 mobo and Hank here is using the Intel Core i5-2500K at 3.3GHz on a P67 mobo. We're both using 4GB of DDR3-1600MHz. For most video games, that's going to give you identical performance. The exceptions are GTA4, Crysis, and one or two others that are not inclded in our test suite. The biggest differences you tend to see between sites is caused by the different settings for visual quality. Eveyone seems to do it differently, 4x AA here and 16x AA there. That has a major impact on frame rates.
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# RE: MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics CardHank 2011-03-07 10:34
I pointed out at the beginning of the article that this was more about what's new and different with the R6870 Hawk than other Radeon HD 6870 cards. Feel free to check out the reviews of the 560Ti cards and other 6870 cards to see where this one falls into place. Unfortunately, you can't accomodate everyone with their desires of what to see compared in a review. Your best bet is to check out multiple reviews.

Also, @dev, thanks for pointing out that I forgot to change the GPU cores for the GTS 450 when I changed the chart, it should be 192 instead of 240. The GTX 460SE specs are right though, even if I didn't round them up like a lot of sites do.

##evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=01G-P3-1366-TR&family=GeForce%20400%20Series%20Family&sw=

Next time, try to look past a single typographical error, there are many in this review, to be sure.
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# RE: MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics CardPinakio 2011-03-09 12:52
Fine effort by BMR once again. MSI is surely looking good with their innovative designs like Twin-Frozer, which is very effective and getting all the positive feed back that it deserves throughout the net. Even more interesting is Afterburner, it's good to see a leading board manufacturer putting resources in the right direction.
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