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Written by Bruce Normann   
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
PowerColor Radeon HD 6870 PCS+ Video Card
Closer Look: PowerColor PCS HD 6870
PowerColor PCS HD 6870 Detailed Features
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis
DX10: Just Cause 2
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Aliens vs. Predator
DX11: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DX11: DiRT-2 Demo
DX11: H.A.W.X. 2
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: METRO 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
PowerColor PCS HD 6870 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
AMD Radeon HD 6870 Final Thoughts
PowerColor PCS HD 6870 Conclusion

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Test Results

The Battlefield franchise has been known to demand a lot from PC graphics hardware. DICE (Digital Illusions CE) has incorporated their Frostbite-1.5 game engine with Destruction-2.0 feature set with Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 features destructible environments using Frostbit Destruction-2.0, and adds gravitational bullet drop effects for projectiles shot from weapons at a long distance. The Frostbite-1.5 game engine used on Battlefield: Bad Company 2 consists of DirectX-10 primary graphics, with improved performance and softened dynamic shadows added for DirectX-11 users. At the time Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was published, DICE was also working on the Frostbite-2.0 game engine. This upcoming engine will include native support for DirectX-10.1 and DirectX-11, as well as parallelized processing support for 2-8 parallel threads. This will improve performance for users with an Intel Core-i7 processor.

In our benchmark tests of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the first three minutes of action in the single-player raft night scene are captured with FRAPS. Relative to the online multiplayer action, these frame rate results are nearly identical to daytime maps with the same video settings.


Both the GTX 460 SLI and the HD 6870 CrossFireX rise above their immediate neighbors, and provide the best bang for the buck in this game. In the single-GPU arena, the PowerColor PCS+ HD6870 sits about halfway between the GTX460 and the Radeon HD 5870. This is not as tough a benchmark as some others; the developers trod a fine line between juicing up the visuals and keeping the performance levels up. As much as people may Oooh and Aaah over some newer titles like Mafia II that have more exacting graphics, no one is complaining about the look and feel of BF:BC2. This benchmark does not utilize tessellation, so as in our DX10 testing, the strength of the newest GPUs in this area are not having an impact here. Don't worry; we'll see some results later that will show clear differences between the generations with some tessellation-heavy titles.

The little-documented feature in the basic game setup, which allows the application to choose which DirectX API it uses during the session, is not a factor here. All of the tested cards here are DX11-capable, and the game was running in DX11 mode for all the test results reported here. Even though this is primarily developed as a DX10 game, there are DX11 features incorporated in BF:BC2, like softened shadows. That one visual enhancement takes a small, but measureable toll on frame rates. It doesn't have as big an impact as aggressive use of tessellation would, either from the visuals standpoint or the computing perspective.

In the next section we use one of my favorite games, DiRT-2, to look at DX11 performance. Life isn't ALL about shooting aliens; sometimes you just need to get out of the city and drive...!

Graphics Card


Core Clock

Shader Clock

Memory Clock



MSI GeForce GTX 460 (N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC)





1.0 GB GDDR5


PowerColor PCS+ HD 6870 (AX6870 1GBD5-PP2DH)





1.0 GB GDDR5


PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 (PCS+ AX5870 1GBD5-PPDHG2)





1.0 GB GDDR5


Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 (GV-N480SO-15I Super Over Clock)





1536 MB GDDR5



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