Price: ~£169 inc VAT
Best Price: http://pricebomb.co.uk
The Radeon HD 6870, contrary to its somewhat confusing name, is not the successor to the Radeon 5870. Instead, it acts as an almost direct replacement for the Radeon 5850, both in terms of performance and in price. Today we are looking at the Asus variant which has some exclusive features including the Voltage Tweak functionality we have come to particularly enjoy when overclocking.
The EAH6870 comes in a fairly modest sized box by video card standards, with a decent bundle of cables and accessories. There are no full games included this time, but this is reflected in the price which is very aggressive, even by the standards set by the more value-centric brands.
The Asus card itself deviates considerably from the AMD reference design, instead employing the manufacturer’s tried and tested “DirectCu” cooler. It delivers cool and quiet cooling and also looks good – although we would prefer a design that encourages more of the warm air to be ejected from the case. As standard the clock speeds are 913 MHz for the core and 4.2GHz for the GDDR5 memory. This is a 13MHz overclocked on the core compared to the stock cards which is a little conservative, but better than nothing we suppose. At the rear of the card you will find dual DVI ports (one of which can be converted to an HDMI port) and two Display Ports, allowing the card to drive up to 4 monitors at once, providing two of them are native display port models.
The Barts GPU under the hood of the EAH6870 is built using a 40nm process, which is the same as the 5800 series that came before. Within the GPU beats 1120 stream processors, 56 texture units and 32 ROPS. This is less complex than the 5850 which had 1440 stream processors, 56 texture units and 32 ROPs, but is made up for by more aggressive clock speeds. The 6870 also sports an overhauled tessellation engine which brings its performance in this metric close to NVIDIA cards.
The 6870 and 6850 cards were originally designed to counteract NVIDIA's GTX 460, with the latter forming the GeForce card’s direct competition and the 6870 replacing the 5850 in a product position all of its own. The GeForce GTX 560 Ti has since come along and spoiled the party. This has seen the 6870 drop in price to around £169 inc VAT, while the GTX 560 Ti occupies its previous £200 price slot. The question is, how do these solutions compare?