AMD Radeon HD 6870 & HD 6850 Video Card Review @ [H]

mhd

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whats power requirement for 6870? I have Corsair 550watt. Can't decide if i should go with 6870 or 6850. I play games on my 22in monitor, what would u guys suggest?
 

nakedhand

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I know I'm stepping into the lions den here, but...

son, I am disappoint.

what's the fuss about? The only great thing seems to be morphAA. The 6870 is closer to the 5850 in most tests apples to apples, costs about the same, uses almost the same amount of power as the 5850, and runs at similar temperatures. I know these chips are making way for the 69 series, but right now it seems like it's a waste of time...

What I'm trying to say is, I have a GTX260 and would LOVE to upgrade my video card. I was holding out for these, but it seems like at ~200, the 5850 is still the best deal unless morphAA is only on the 6 series.

Sure the 5850 is still a good card, and the amount of fuss perceived needs to be put into the context of the position of the buyer. Do you come from a 5850, a GTX460 or like myself decided to skip a generation and staying with 4870 for quite a while?.

But there are quite a few "little" things that accumulates when you look into the differences. I think a lot of them have already been covered here, so no reason to reiterate.

For me it is a huge advantage that the 6xxx series enables you to run up to 6 monitors chained through a hub (from two outputs) and more importantly control each display in a multi display setup, on a "per display" level; everything independently! Refresh rate, resolution, color control and orientation. The only reason I do not own an Eyefinity setup on a 5xxx series is this exact limitation.
 

mdk30

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Looking into CF performance with these cards could be very interesting. I checked over at anandtech and 6870 CF seems to be performing better than even 5870 CF and GTX 470 SLI in a number of games. Looks like AMD may have done some CF scaling improvements with these new cards that would be worth looking into... especially at EyeFinity resolutions.
 

b1m2x3

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Well, the 6870 beats the 5850 in CFX (substantially in some cases), is still cheaper, 5-6% faster; has the potential to be cooler and quieter as more models appear, and it also has the potential to be a better O'C.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/Radeon_HD_6870/32.html

Again, not trying to stir the pot, I really wanted one of these cards but think I'll wait a while longer to upgrade, or maybe just buy a 5850.
5850's can be had for ~195 usd after rebates. 6870's are 240. If it's all about the potential, why is everyone going gaga and buying up the cards released today? The performance so far doesn't justify the response IMO. And cards currently on the market from ATI seem to have a better price to performance ratio for non-crossfire.

If you had a GTX260, you clearly shouldn't be expecting the Mainstream cards to meet your expectations for an upgrade. The 260 wasn't a mainstream card, it was enthusiast.

What AMD has done here is blur the line between mainstream and enthusiast because these cards now perform as well as previous-gen enthusiast (5850-level). For ~$200 these cards offer an amazing amount of performance, and lets face it, if thats your budget, its the best you'll be able to get.

Not sure why you think the 5850 is a better deal than the 6870, all signs point the other way. From what I've read, morphAA will only be on 6xxx.

"enthusiast level" doesn't mean anything to me - It's all about the price not a title. I know the 68 series pushed the price of the 58's down, but I'd be lying if I said I was impressed by the 6850's performance...
 

USMCGrunt

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Again, not trying to stir the pot, I really wanted one of these cards but think I'll wait a while longer to upgrade, or maybe just buy a 5850.
5850's can be had for ~195 usd after rebates. 6870's are 240. If it's all about the potential, why is everyone going gaga and buying up the cards released today? The performance so far doesn't justify the response IMO. And cards currently on the market from ATI seem to have a better price to performance ratio for non-crossfire.



"enthusiast level" doesn't mean anything to me - It's all about the price not a title. I know the 68 series pushed the price of the 58's down, but I'd be lying if I said I was impressed by the 6850's performance...

I think the reason for the hoopla is, obviously not because they push the performance envelope, but because they are able to match the cards they are replacing using the same architecture but with fewer components and low amounts of electrical draw.

I mean, it says something about a company that, instead of just going and building a new architecture, refine and optimize their current stuff to the point that they can reduce the size of their product, add a few capabilities, and still be able to match or beat their current price-level product.

To me, these cards don't necessarily excite me. What is exciting is that, if they were able to do this with their mid-level cards, what do they have planned for their top-end stuff...
 

Astral Abyss

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Personally for me, I was hoping for lower max temps on the new 6800s. I was hoping to replace my space heater, the GTX295, with something I could SLI/XFire with similar performance but cut down on the heat and noise generated. I may still end up going with 2 of the 460s in SLI with aftermarket coolers, like the MSIs, and enjoy the benefits of lower temps.

I'll be honest, I can't tell the difference between a few fps with the aa set to 2x or 4x or 8x, but I sure can tell when my office is 85 degrees vs 78 degrees F.
 

b1m2x3

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I mean, it says something about a company that, instead of just going and building a new architecture, refine and optimize their current stuff to the point that they can reduce the size of their product, add a few capabilities, and still be able to match or beat their current price-level product.

A agree, but then with that mindset they should have just named these 5845 and a 5865 ;)

To me, these cards don't necessarily excite me. What is exciting is that, if they were able to do this with their mid-level cards, what do they have planned for their top-end stuff...

True- I'm looking forward to the 69 series - but I feel like the hype and release of these current cards was a mistake that might hurt the 69 series reception and sales...
 

heflys20

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I'll be honest, I can't tell the difference between a few fps with the aa set to 2x or 4x or 8x, but I sure can tell when my office is 85 degrees vs 78 degrees F.

Well, those are reference 68xx in most of the reviews, so they'll, more than likely, be hotter than a 460 with a custom cooler.
 

PooprScooper

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While the 6870 has helped bring the 470 price down to $220-250, an overclocked 470 has 20% OC room while the 6870 is about 6-10%(Vmod). Not to mention it has CUDA, PhysX and better Tessellation as well.

Also, now that the 460s are super cheap, they'll still compete with a 6870 when overclocked:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6850-6870-review/22
6870oc.png


http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-geforce-gtx-460-cyclone-oc-1024-review/19
460oc.png

You can easily up the 460 to 920-950Mhz with a 1.13V core.

470oc.png
 
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adonn78

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I was planning on buying a system with a 6879 thinking the 6900 series would come out early next year. But now that I have read that the 6970 uis coming out in a few weeks in November I am still waiting. I need a new gaming PC and I need it soon! But I can wait with so much stuff around the corner.
 

Valset

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The 470s average advantage over the 6870 @ 1920x in DX11 is 1.5%. It increases to 7% @ 2560x.

http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/...6850/23/#abschnitt_performancerating_nach_api

It's below the 6870 in DX9 and 10 @ the same res.

People interested in Crossfire really ought to look at the scaling 6870s are putting out in; BC2, FC2, Crysis, AvP and Battle Forge.
be careful here, toms and others put the 6870 as beating the 470, others put the 470 as winning. we need the h review for sure here
 

PooprScooper

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be careful here, toms and others put the 6870 as beating the 470, others put the 470 as winning. we need the h review for sure here

The only problem with comparing reference to reference is that they're put up on OCing sites. Who buys a card and leaves it at reference on here? OC vs OC the 470 is miles ahead of a 6870 and has much better tessellation.
 

PooprScooper

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I think "miles ahead" is a bit of an exaggeration.

Well when a 470 has 20% OC headroom compared to 10% of a 6870 and is priced equally, the choice is pretty obvious. Plus all the Nvidia only features like CUDA/PhysX and better Tessellation.
 

Flyinfinni

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Well when a 470 has 20% OC headroom compared to 10% of a 6870 and is priced equally, the choice is pretty obvious. Plus all the Nvidia only features like CUDA/PhysX and better Tessellation.

So a card that is basically equal in performance OC's ~10% farther, but uses ~double the power and produces significantly more heat for more money is "pretty obvious choice"? Especially for those of us who don't care about CUDA/PhysX, and with no real world advantage from the tessellation engine?
 

spigzone

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if anything it would force nvidia to re-think their architecture.. instead of this bullcrap brute force power hungry attempt to get the same performance as AMD maybe its time to fix the problem like ATI did almost 7 years ago when the developement of the RV870 started and even before that with the HD3k series.. instead of creating a monster gpu like nvidia's been doing for years they went the other route and tried to get as much performance out of the architecture while using as little power as they could... then maybe nvidia will be able to compete with AMD in my opinion..

It's too late for Nvidia to try AMD's gpu stategy. AMD's APUs, Zacate, Ontario, Llano and their successors will permanently destroy Nvidia's OEM thru Midrange AIB markets. This is beyond Nvidia's control. There is no architecture Nvidia can design that will save them in these markets. The profits from these markets subsidized the cost of designing new GPU architectures.

Nvidia is in a world of hurt.

JHH 'bet the house' on a new complex architecture on a new troubled process and threw the dice on Fermi for a reason.

He lost that gamble. There was a cost to that loss.
 
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Jimi_Shuffler

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looks like I found myself a christmas gift... to myself. 6850 here I come. [my aging 3850 just ain't cutting it.]
 

Lord_Exodia

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So it appears that AMD has a WIN but after reading several reviews they do not have a clear win.

To explain what I mean, basically a fully overclocked GTX 460 1gb will beat a fully overclocked 6850 and a fully overclocked 470 will beat a fully overclocked 6870. They are in the same price bracket. AMD still wins for the most part due to efficiency albeit less power draw/less noise/less heat than their competitors. For some this will matter for others it will not.

Just as many dont care about Cuda'PhyX/TWIMTBP etc.. some people dont care that their card is 20c hotter and pulls 80 more watts than yours, raw end result performance is what matters to them. Id say either could be justified as a purchase over another depending on price.
 

TechLarry

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I need to see a comparison of the 4870, 5870 and 6870. That's what will tell me if it's time to update my 4870's/5870's.
 

TechLarry

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It's obvious to me I'll stick with AMD :)

So a card that is basically equal in performance OC's ~10% farther, but uses ~double the power and produces significantly more heat for more money is "pretty obvious choice"? Especially for those of us who don't care about CUDA/PhysX, and with no real world advantage from the tessellation engine?
 

Valset

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The only problem with comparing reference to reference is that they're put up on OCing sites. Who buys a card and leaves it at reference on here? OC vs OC the 470 is miles ahead of a 6870 and has much better tessellation.

it might OC better but at a cost (high heat and noise). and what of the tessellation? it doesn't do a thing in the real world yet. As H has said the better tessellation has not proven to provide any real world benefits. even matching the price its a very hard sell for a few % of extra OC room.
 

kac77

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So it appears that AMD has a WIN but after reading several reviews they do not have a clear win.

To explain what I mean, basically a fully overclocked GTX 460 1gb will beat a fully overclocked 6850 and a fully overclocked 470 will beat a fully overclocked 6870. They are in the same price bracket. AMD still wins for the most part due to efficiency albeit less power draw/less noise/less heat than their competitors. For some this will matter for others it will not.

Just as many dont care about Cuda'PhyX/TWIMTBP etc.. some people dont care that their card is 20c hotter and pulls 80 more watts than yours, raw end result performance is what matters to them. Id say either could be justified as a purchase over another depending on price.

A fully over clocked 460 I could stand the card runs cool overall. A 470? Not on your life I like my ears and I would like to game without suffering from dehydration. The fact that the end user has to overclock in order to beat these cards is quite telling. Especially in the case of the 470. That price is suicide and won't be there for long.
 

PooprScooper

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So a card that is basically equal in performance OC's ~10% farther, but uses ~double the power and produces significantly more heat for more money is "pretty obvious choice"? Especially for those of us who don't care about CUDA/PhysX, and with no real world advantage from the tessellation engine?

Wow, you want to talk about exaggerating? Saying a 470 is using "double" the power?

I use CUDA for video transcoding and love it. Adobe CS4 (Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Cyberlink PowerDVD, Vegas Video, TMPGEnc, Nero, BadaBoom etc. all use CUDA which makes life easier. (and you're getting this for free on one card that's equally priced)

While most game don't use Tessellation very much today, the importance of it can be seen in Unigine Heaven's dx11 benchmark which dramatically improves the video quality making games feel a lot more realistic. Even a 470 smokes a 5970 in extreme Tessellation.

PhysX is something you can definitely live without, but when the cards are equally priced and one has a lot more features, I see no reason to gimp yourself other than having a preference of brand name.
 

Valset

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Wow, you want to talk about exaggerating? Saying a 470 is using "double" the power?

I use CUDA for video transcoding and love it. Adobe CS4 (Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Cyberlink PowerDVD, Vegas Video, TMPGEnc, Nero, BadaBoom etc. all use CUDA which makes life easier.

While most game don't use Tessellation very much today, the importance of it can be seen in Unigine Heaven's dx11 benchmark which dramatically improves the video quality making games feel a lot more realistic. Even a 470 smokes a 5970 in extreme Tessellation.

PhysX is something you can definitely live without, but when the cards are equally priced and one has a lot more features, I see no reason to gimp yourself other than having a preference of brand name.

I didn't know you played Heaven. though it was a tessellation benchmark. in the real world it hasn't worked like that yet. and its not double the power but close http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-radeon-hd-6850-barts,2776-22.html
and if your looking for GPGPU then the 470 is probably better. otherwise not so much.
 

Morphy

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Wow, you want to talk about exaggerating? Saying a 470 is using "double" the power? 6870 consumes more power than 470.

.

heh don't let the facts get in the way of the truth. The 460 consumes more than the 6870 nevermind the 470. At least you caught it.
1287676020VD2xGydP4f_8_1.gif
 

Lord_Exodia

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A fully over clocked 460 I could stand the card runs cool overall. A 470? Not on your life I like my ears and I would like to game without suffering from dehydration. The fact that the end user has to overclock in order to beat these cards is quite telling. Especially in the case of the 470. That price is suicide and won't be there for long.

Assuming the card is using the stock cooler and fan, many aftermarket cards are selling overclocked and with a quiet fan and more efficient cooler. As far as overclocking, it just shows that nvidia used modest clocks on their cards. AMD had a point of reference and clocked their 6000 series very high because they knew what they had to beat and 2 they got swagger like that. Their cards are amazingly efficient and cool. I believe the clocks were more relaxed a few weeks ago and it was announced the 6870 clock was recently bumped up, to every one's surprise they bumped up the 6850 clock too from the rumors and leaks.

I do agree that there is no telling how much longer the GTX 470 will be this cheap

GTX460/GTX470=20-25% more overclocking headroom
AMD 6850/6870 =10%-12% more overclocking headroom

I dont think the 6000 series are bad overclockers, I just think AMD had a 460 1gb and 470 1gb to reference and clocked their 6000 series close to the edge to compete better. It's smart and is a good thing for the consumer.
 
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PooprScooper

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I didn't know you played Heaven. though it was a tessellation benchmark. in the real world it hasn't worked like that yet. and its not double the power but close http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-radeon-hd-6850-barts,2776-22.html
and if your looking for GPGPU then the 470 is probably better. otherwise not so much.

I don't understand what the problem is. If one card is $220 and the other is $239 while the cheaper one has more features and OCs higher giving higher fps, why would you choose the under-performing card, other than because of brand loyalty?

6870oc.png

470oc.png


You may be wrong on 99% of the argument, but that 1%(unigine) is enough for you to keep arguing? Having a better Tessellation performing card now, means that games that make extensive use of it(unlike Dirt2, AVP) during the next 1-2 years that you might keep the card, will perform that much better.
 
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STEM

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Looking at the performance and specs, isn't the HD 6870 what the HD 5830 was supposed to be? Now I know why AMD didn't want to leave the HD 5830 with all 32 ROPs enabled, it would have cannibalized sales of both the HD 5850 and HD 5870.

Great review by the way.

I currently have a pair of GTX 470's in SLI, and I'm happy with them. Not so happy with the power consumption and noise, but the performance is there. Is it worth switching to a pair of HD 6870's in CrossFire?

Also, from what I'm reading on the other sites that have also reviewed the CrossFire version of this, it looks like CrossFire scales really well with this cards, up to 1.9X. Could it be that AMD has reworked their CrossFire Interface?
 

Morphy

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While this crop makes the midrange more interesting, one feature I'm more interested that hasn't been covered yet is MorphAA. If it's as good as advertised then it can make the choice easier for me.

Unlike tesselation, physx etc this is one feature I can use out of the box in any game, not having to rely on driver updates or exclusive vendor/developer relations, or game support for it to work and see the benefits of.
 

Tamlin_WSGF

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I dont think the 6000 series are bad overclockers, I just think AMD had a 460 1gb and 470 1gb to reference and clocked their 6000 series close to the edge to compete better. It's smart and is a good thing for the consumer.

I don't think they are bad overclockers either. :) Here's an overclocking review. They got 1180 core with 1200mhz mem. Pretty good OC on air. :

CONCLUSIONS

I do not think it is very hard to draw a conclusion on the new Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870: Quality and solid construction with huge overclocking potential make him a very successful board, considering that here we saw the layout I see reference what other models from other manufacturers would do differently. For more complex analysis and conclusions complete know where to look.
source
 

Flyinfinni

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Wow, you want to talk about exaggerating? Saying a 470 is using "double" the power?

I use CUDA for video transcoding and love it. Adobe CS4 (Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Cyberlink PowerDVD, Vegas Video, TMPGEnc, Nero, BadaBoom etc. all use CUDA which makes life easier. (and you're getting this for free on one card that's equally priced)

While most game don't use Tessellation very much today, the importance of it can be seen in Unigine Heaven's dx11 benchmark which dramatically improves the video quality making games feel a lot more realistic. Even a 470 smokes a 5970 in extreme Tessellation.

PhysX is something you can definitely live without, but when the cards are equally priced and one has a lot more features, I see no reason to gimp yourself other than having a preference of brand name.

I didn't say double the power- I said approximately or nearly double.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-radeon-hd-6850-barts,2776-22.html
take a look.
 

BallerX

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Nice, makes me want to get one of these and hook my roommate up with my card for X-fire. Need some more frames In MW:LL. 40-60 isn't enough and MRMs bring me down to single digits when I fire them.
 

PooprScooper

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Valset

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I don't understand what the problem is. If one card is $220 and the other is $239 while the cheaper one has more features and OCs higher giving higher fps, why would you choose the under-performing card, other than because of brand loyalty?

You may be wrong on 99% of the argument, but that 1%(unigine) is enough for you to keep arguing? Having a better Tessellation performing card now, means that games that make extensive use of it(unlike Dirt2, AVP) during the next 1-2 years that you might keep the card, will perform that much better.
1. look at the reviews. the 470 trades blows with the 6870. sorry.
2. if Nvidia does in fact keep that price (they are selling at a loss there) then they are still going to deal with using nearly twice the power, not having the 3d HDMI port (gimmick though it is) and having a list of features that are completely irrelevant to 98% of its customer base. lets face it, consumer GPGPU has fallen on its face. This is not a good way to sell cards
3. OCing the 470 makes heat and power worse in major way
4. Nvidia selling point here is not the 470. never was. The GF104 based cards are going to be the 6800 competitors. The high OCed models of the 460GTX are a better value the the 470 even at the same cost.
5. I have little doubt that the 470 will perform better when OCed. having said that I don't see this overcoming the cons of the 470. it will not be that much faster.
6. all of this is subjected to change when the H review comes out. (the 470 vs the 6870). real world results will tell the difference. in the real world the 5850 is more or less on par with the 470 with the edge going to the 470. the 6870 is better then the 5850. you should have no trouble seeing where this is going.
7. There are plenty of OC models of the 470 going around that will probably beat the 6870. Still doesn't make up for the cons.

I think that covers everything here.
 

robble

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What I got from this review - My 5850 still kicks ass in comparison to the newest cards and I have no reason at all to feel the need to "upgrade".
 

Valset

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