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Written by Olin Coles   
Friday, 22 October 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
AMD Radeon HD 6870 Barts Video Card
Radeon HD 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
Radeon HD 6870 Conclusion

AMD Radeon HD 6870 Video Card Review

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

The Radeon HD 6870 is AMD's latest DirectX-11 video card, and uses an updated Cypress back-end to offer 'Barts' GPU architecture. Built to deliver improved performance to the value-hungry mainstream gaming market, the $180 AMD Radeon HD 6850 and $240 Radeon HD 6870 video cards supplement their 5800-series counterparts. 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.

In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the AMD Radeon HD 6870 video card, a DirectX-11 graphics solution that doesn't really have direct competition at the $240 price point but costs less and still performs better than the Radeon HD 5850. 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, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and PCMark Vantage are all included, in addition to DX11 titles such as Aliens vs Predator, BattleForge, Lost Planet 2, Mafia II, Metro 2033, and the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark.


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 AMD 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 AMD Radeon HD 6850 and Radeon HD 6870 video cards offer 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 AMD Radeon HD 6850/6870 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: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Product Name: Radeon HD 6870
Suggested Tested: $240 MSRP

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



# RE: AMD Radeon HD 6870 Barts Video CardBen 2010-10-21 19:09
Thanks for the super quick review. Only would have like it if the 5770 was on here as it is basically its replacement. Looks like a fairly good card, nothing like the 4000 and 5000 were for releases. Will have to see how they do when they start coming out with upgrades to the reference designs.
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# RE: RE: AMD Radeon HD 6870 Barts Video CardServando Silva 2010-10-21 19:24
5770 replacement? I don't think so. I've heard the 5700 series will remain the same for now (without replacements).
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# 6870 Does Not Replace 5770Olin Coles 2010-10-21 19:24
Thank you for your feedback. I think there's a misunderstanding about Radeon HD 6000 series, because it's not intended to replace anything in the 5000 series lineup. The $240 Radeon 6870 does not replace the $140 5770, and their performance profiles are completely different.
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# RE: 6870 Does Not Replace 5770Ben 2010-10-21 19:38
Hmm well what I mean is that in the 5000 range you have 5770 being the high mid, and in this range I understand with the expected 6900 series release the 6870 is meant to be high mid as well. Placed to run vs the 460 which is also in this bracket. From a basic consumer standpoint I am going to compare it to cards priced about the same was done in the review. So if I'm looking at a 5770 vs 6850 or 460 vs 6870 I would expect them to be eventually phasing out the previous gen in the bracket. Making it effectively its replacement.
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# RE: RE: 6870 Does Not Replace 5770Olin Coles 2010-10-21 19:59
True, the Radeon 5770 will eventually be retired. The $180 Radeon HD 6850 could also be used to fill that price point. Suffice it to say that the 6850 is about 30% faster than the 5770 based on my test results. I'll go back into the article and add some notation.
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# RE: RE: RE: 6870 Does Not Replace 5770Avro Arrow 2010-10-22 06:26
The Radeon HD 5770 was an abortion from the beginning. Why would anyone pay almost DOUBLE the price of an HD 4780 for a card that performs as well or worse in almost all games than the 4870, yet isn't powerful enough to properly tessellate DX11 graphics even though that's supposed to be its marquee feature? Thanks, I'll stick to my 4 Radeon HD 4870s for a good while longer! LMAO
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# New AMD 6870 Refernce ReviewJohn Darcy 2010-10-22 04:04
I wanted to thank you for another great review, concise, complete-with regard to time of test and release- and accompanied by your astute observations and opinions. I am a novice with this stuff but still enjoy building and using practical and up to date equipment. I was very pleased or happy to see the inclusion of this model in the market place position you described. I bought 2 of the 5870s one immediately and a 2nd at the v2 mark. I find them great but were a huge dent in my budget. It is refreshing to see all the editorial space devoted to conservation or power usage. It is an important issue and one easily minimized, particularly by me or friends from my era who still labor under the misconception that power resources are unlimited and cheap. It is a major consideration now as you intimated by the amount of hype you get on the green subject matters. I look forward to your articles agree or not-your expertise and experience provides me information i can usually understand.
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# RE: AMD Radeon HD 6870 Barts Video Cardaberkae 2010-10-22 04:47
Yes the barts chips is a juniper spin of and not a cypress one. I'm glad and surprised the 6870 beats the gtx 470 ( I guess nvidia got scared and dropped the prices permanetly) better prices, better performance all benefit the end user!
I love this review ( but would have likes multi gpu setup test)
With sandibridge around the corner, the entrylevel gpus will be dimineshed, AMD is stepping up its game in the mid level gpu section. ( because it will soon be entry level and not midlelvel)
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# RE: AMD Radeon HD 6870 Barts Video CardRealNeil 2010-10-22 05:52
I was glad to see the announcement of price reductions from NVIDIA Yesterday. Price wars are good for the ones buying these cards.

I don't like that ATI and NVIDIA cards are so far apart as to how they do Phys-X and other newer game technologies. I'd like to see them both cleave to standards so we could rate them in a better and fair way against one another. ATI says that Phys-X is closed by the other guy, and NVIDIA say's it isn't,..........what a crock. They should both do it all.
Not knowing if Phys-X and Cuda will take off and be a part of every game makes me lean towards buying the cards that have it built-in to them just to ensure that I don't have to buy all over again later just to be able to play the next new wazoo games that developers are dreaming up. Thanks for the considered look at these new AMD Cards.
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# RE: RE: AMD Radeon HD 6870 Barts Video CardOlin Coles 2010-10-22 06:58
I agree with you on this, Neil. You've got one manufacturer who builds a strong product, but it lacks high-end antialiasing, has a broken anisotropic filter, doesn't support PhysX, and has very limited 3D support. The other manufacter does offers a product without these problems, but they cost more. It's not an easy choice, if all you want to do is play a video game and not concentrate on market technologies.
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# RE: AMD Radeon HD 6870 Barts Video CardBorg 2010-10-22 07:23
ok...for those who like to push alot a card with oc then buy a 460 1gb
thats what i get, cause with the new prices 460 worth more and better tesselations VS non
otherwise ati boys stay with the 5850
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# RE: RE: AMD Radeon HD 6870 Barts Video Cardaberkae 2010-10-23 05:41
Actually the gtx 460 FTW is a pretty good card too!
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# WowSiliconDoc 2010-10-24 15:12
Good luck Olin.

So the 5830 doesn't exist anymore !

ROFLMAO - It's a hoot seeing so many geeks claiming to know something, and the entire red rooster set of intertards cannot bring themselves to type 5 8 3 0 .
What card has 1120 shaders ? LOL
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# RE: WowOlin Coles 2010-10-24 15:17
Much like the GTX 465, the 5830 was a filler part that was offered in limited supply. Now that yields are much better, the salvaged GPUs that were used in these two models are no longer in quantity supply.
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# The memory hole.SiliconDoc 2010-10-26 16:21
Right, but does any of that matter ? NOPE.
There are no less than 8 different 5830's available on the egg right now, exceeding a few other " quantity models".
Out of the 20-30+ reviews, I've seen ONE that logically and honestly claimed one of the cards "being replaced" was the 5830.
We have 5870, 5850, 5830 - not like it's easy to miss the 3rd card. You really have to work at it.
Those the masses and the two competing companies rely on for releases, affect the market quite substantially, yet they miss the single 1120 shader card ATI had on the table, when the 2nd 1120 shader hits ? Widely IT'S NOT EVEN MENTIONED NOR CHARTED IN ENTIRE ARTICLES.
"It's low in production" is a joke.
I have no idea if it's pressure or brainwashing or incompetence, but in any case no excuse will satisfy, period. I'm certain you understand that.
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# RE: RE: WowSiliconDoc 2010-10-26 16:55
Yet the GTX465 was included front and center and in the benches and GPU charts in the GTX460 release article here, , quite unlike the now already gone from reviews 5830.
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# RE: RE: RE: WowOlin Coles 2010-10-26 17:07
SiliconDoc, you might have missed it but we've already updated all of our Radeon HD 6850 review articles with 5830/5770 results and charts. I don't believe the 5830 has anything to do with the 6870 review.
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# OkSiliconDoc 2010-10-26 21:01
Thanks. Glad to hear an update was applied.
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# Ah, the untouchable subject.SiliconDoc 2010-10-26 16:37
The 5830's price was reduced publicly by AMD upon the 460's release, as it's competitor.
Now that AMD has released another set of competitors to the 460 in very short order, the 5830 falls into the amnesiac category. 8 different 5830's are currently available on one of the very popular online purchasing sites.
I've seen just one review actually mention the 5830 when reviewing the Barts 6000 release.
Those of us who are awake, obviously in the minority, have reason to be disturbed.
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# RE: Ah, the untouchable subject.Olin Coles 2010-10-26 17:12
It's not untouchable at all. I just don't see how a $170 Radeon HD 5830 has anything to do with a $250 Radeon HD 6870. Maybe the 6850, but certainly not the 6870.
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# RE: RE: Ah, the untouchable subject.SiliconDoc 2010-10-26 20:54
Ok, so on the VGA POWER CONSUMPTION page, this article, the 5830 is conspicuously missing, even though all those other cards that have "nothing to do with a $250 6870" are in fact, listed.
26 cards in total.
No 5830.
I'm not here to criticize you, but your last response is quite surprising to say the least. I don't suppose any card other than the GTX460 1gig "has anything to do with a $250 6870" , or perhaps we could just have a review with the 6870 compared to the 5850 or just the 5870, whichever the 6870 happens to be closest to. I suppose by your statement that's the 5850.
I will find more than the 5850 in the bench charts won't I.
I am sorry logic and comprehension and honesty isn't in the mix, all too often.
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# RE: RE: RE: Ah, the untouchable subject.Olin Coles 2010-10-26 21:04
The power consumption table is the same on every single video card article it is used on. We update the table, and it replicates to every article. The only reason it's not in there is because we only received the ATI engineering sample, and not a retail card. If you'll recall, 5830 engineering samples game in a 5870 package with the correct cores and speeds. It wouldn't be appropriate to use this package for power consumption testing.

Believe me, it's not a conspiracy. I don't think it could be even if we really, really tried.

While you're at it, go back and re-read the 6850 review. It was re-written to compare against the 5770 and 5830.
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# RE: AMD Radeon HD 6870 Barts Video Cardsmith 283 2010-11-28 03:10
hey ppl.
i wanna play crysis2 on max settings so... which graphic card sholud i bu.
plzzz help me :(
ma budget is around 350-400$
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# crysis 2 system requirementsaberkae 2010-11-28 09:20
The system requirements aren't out yet. I can't recommend aything especially at that price point that can even maximize crysis 1 and warhead @ 60+ fps @ least 1080p, you can go with 2 gtx 460s ( 1gig) in sli, or if you wait till AMD's Cayman chips will cause prices to drop! Currently Asus gtx 480 sells for $370 @ and used EVGA one for $350 @ amazon. If the prices of the gtx 470 falls to $200 I would recommend 2 of those. Or buy a gtx 480 now and when crysis 2 will come out the prices will fall again, so you can buy another one and put it in sli.
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# That is what neededworld of warcraft gold 2010-12-09 00:14
I think that the shebei is needed and they are strong to make the energy going,i think so.
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