AMD Radeon HD 6870 Review

By Julio Franco · 74 replies
Oct 21, 2010
Post New Reply
  1. Today marks an overhaul with AMD launching two new graphics cards designed to tackle the GTX 460. The Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 are being presented as the new mid-range offerings on AMD's line-up with a suggested retail of $239 and $199.

    Read the full review at:

    Please leave your feedback here.
  2. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,714   +855

    Excellent review.

    I love the fact that nVidia and AMD are butting heads, putting out great cards and engaging in price cutting. For a while there, I thought AMD was going to bury nVidia with their new DX11 cards, but nVidia came through with the GTX460. Now it's a war again and we as consumers get to reap the rewards of their fight.
  3. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    So wait, they are axing most of the 5xxx series cards? I was hoping for price gouging on those cards. :(

    Also, totally agree with what TomSEA wrote.
  4. grvalderrama

    grvalderrama TS Enthusiast Posts: 194

    Bad time to buy a 5770 lol! Well, I really don't care. Consumers win. I love when that happens.
    Impressive review for an impressive card. Thanks TS!
  5. stan4

    stan4 TS Rookie Posts: 34

    The only thing left to see is the SLI vs CrossFire performance.
  6. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Great review Steve :)

    I am not so sure about that Tom. I was reading the Guru3D benches of not only the 6870 but the 6850. The 6850 beat up pretty good on the GTX 460 (see here)
    Nvidia had only one viable card that made sense to purchase, (the GTX 460) now they don't. If you extrapolate conservatively from this round of releases, the 6950&6970 will have 1440 & 1600 SPU's. That potentially leaves lots of headroom for the Cayman's in about 25 days. They almost surely will take over as the fastest cards as well. That leaves Nvidia without a hold on any segment of the market, at least as far as price/performance goes. You have the GTX 480 that is expensive, appeals only to a small segment anyway, and has its stigma abut heat and power. The 465 that makes absolutely no sense at all ( not sure if they are even producing it anymore) The 470 that now has been beaten by the 6870. And the GTX 460 that appears to be beaten by the 6850 and the 6850 . I think this may have quite the opposite effect as far as competition goes. I realize that Nvidia cut prices today, however, If the reports of the margins being razor thin , or selling at a loss are true, how long can they keep that up? AMD has no reason to cut prices now. So unless ya like the prices at the opening bell, this may be it for quite a while. And this is before the 'big ones ' are released.

    *** edit just snagged this off Tom's
  7. Chazz

    Chazz TS Evangelist Posts: 679   +75

  8. I really wanted to know how the new HD6870 compares to an SLi GTX 460 setup. :)
  9. Lokalaskurar

    Lokalaskurar TS Enthusiast Posts: 544

    Amazing card, it consumes more than all of my PC and weighs more, aswell! But it's a bit sad that the Radeon-rating i.e. 6870 doesn't mean anything any more. If the mainstream card got named 6870, and not 6550 or alike, then the name-rating where the second number tells us about the performance-rating, is pretty much useless.
  10. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,668   +988

    All due respect, not sure how useful that SLI review is when they don't include GTX 460 SLI numbers.

    That said, I imagine that two GTX 460s on SLI will be more powerful or at least equally as powerful than two Radeon 6870 boards based on the fact that SLI scales considerably better, or at least that used to be the case until the previous generation 5x00 boards. On this review we see that two GTX 460 cards can battle it out with Crossfire'd 5870 boards:
  11. SilverCider

    SilverCider TS Rookie Posts: 71

    I don't know about the scaling thing, the Radeons looked like they scaled a lot better than previous generations! But I agree, it would be nice to see the 460 sli's side by side with them :).
    As for single card performance, what can Nvidia bring next?
  12. SilverCider

    SilverCider TS Rookie Posts: 71

    *It would be great to see if AMD have upped the ante in tessalation performance too - the metro 2033 bench was impressive against the 5870 and nvidia cards!
  13. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Man. I can't wait to see the 6990 in action when it's released.
  14. Nice review!

    Is there a minor error on page 10?
    First graph you have high-lighted the 5870 and not 6870?
  15. red1776, I read the Guru3d review, and other reviews as well. The consensus I see is that the 6870 is a good card, but generally is equal to/a little better than the GTX 460, not its obvious superior in performance. So, yeah, I think TomSEA had it right. Only own Radeon cards here, but give Nvidia their props, they made a good card and are pricing it aggressively. We, the graphics card-buying public, are the benefactors.
  16. Regenweald

    Regenweald TS Rookie Posts: 143

    Why are poeple making such big stink over nothing ? Just use some common sense, if fusion products are going to be equivalent to or better than the lower end and mainstream. Then to differentiate Fusion from discreet, AMD bumped the naming scheme up to give themselves room for fusion naming. Same name-rating applies, the numbers just increased by one. The human beings' tenacity when resisting simple change is truly awe inspiring.
  17. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    A Die shrink in attempt to answer the 6xxx series small footprint on the PCB while keeping almost everything from the F100 series the same.

    Which with Nvidia's timing will happen when the 7xxx series is announced officially, and will likely base it off of the 106. *rolleyes*

    Nvidia, do something to make me love you again. :(

    Random thought before I reply, I think Techspot should do a prank review when the 7xxx series, by reviewing the original Radeon 7000. I have one I'd be willing to sacrifice for such a review lol.
  18. Omnislip

    Omnislip TS Rookie Posts: 91

    Did AMD ask you not to OC it? As far as I can tell, the only website to OC their sample was Guru3D, and they got hardly anything extra out of it (

    Would a better comparison now be to compare the MSI N460GTX Hawk Overclocked to around 925 core to this, overclocked? (I should add that this 925 overclock is effortless on this card: I own one and this is the first graphics card I have overclocked and the temperture never even gets over 40C.)

    People are saying how it beats the GTX 460 hands down, but don't you think that this comparison is hardly fair, since you are not comparing the best of the 3rd party boards vs. the best of the 3rd party boards? (I should probably have said other manufacurers there but nvm). Obviously those cards aren't out yet, so you can't really do it, but these are the features which people would like most, and are invaluable for someone buying parts.

    Dont you think that, when the difference between the 460 and the 6870 is so small, still easily beats out (also the other 6870s are priced £20 over that one - is this one a pricing error?)

    Anyway, apologies for this comment's sloppiness, but I hope it wasnt too difficult to read it.
  19. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    what reviews are you reading? The 6870 and the 460 are not even close. Lets use the review you cited (Guru3D) the 6850 is faster in every bench except Far Cry2.

    in fact guru numbers show that:

    The 6870 is 18.5% faster than the GTX 460
    The 6850 is 7% faster than the GTX 460 (this is the review you cited)

    Hardocp has the 6850 faster by 9%
    Hardocp has the 6870 faster by 16%

    Tech powerup has the 6850 faster by 3%
    Techpower up has the 6870 faster by 18%

    and of course you can see the TS review of the 6870

    So I don't know how you are attempting to parse this, but those are not 'equal to/a little better" numbers. and with the pricing that is showing up in the US and abroad, This will be tough for Nvidia, and may not be good for driving prices down.
  20. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,714   +855

    red1776 - I'm reading that Guru3D (an excellent review website by the way - I check it all the time) comparison you posted.

    I guess I'm not seeing the big blow-out of the GTX460 that you are. Yes, the 6870 does. But it also runs (in some cases) nearly $100 more than a 460 - a quick Google product search will verify that. I would expect a card costing that much more to win the comparisons race. It appears to me that the 6870 is more appropriately compared with the GTX470, not the 460.

    As far as the 6850, yes it very moderately outperforms the GTX 460. I mean in most of those side by side comparisons, we're talking 5 fps or less difference. When you're already running a game at 60+ fps, that really means nothing. And the 6850 loses the battle in noise, power consumption and price.

    Like a lot of other posters, I'd like to see a GTX460 SLI comparison. Not only is SLI superior to Crossfire (check Tom's Hardware for that comparison), but the 460's are cheaper now.

    These cards are no doubt a nice move by AMD. But I don't see them by any stretch of the imagination as intimidating nVidia, and believe most enthusiasts building/upgrading at this time will still go with the 460 SLI set-up.
  21. HaMsTeYr

    HaMsTeYr TS Guru Posts: 379   +6

  22. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    who said "blow out"? the numbers are the numbers.

    Let me try this again:
    in fact guru numbers show that:

    The 6870 is 18.5% faster than the GTX 460
    The 6850 is 7% faster than the GTX 460 (this is the review you cited)

    Hardocp has the 6850 faster by 9%
    Hardocp has the 6870 faster by 16%

    Tech powerup has the 6850 faster by 3%
    Techpower up has the 6870 faster by 18%

    Thats an average of 17% over the 460, that's a wide margin for the 6870
    the 6850 as you say "moderately outperforms" the 460, but all of this is my point.
    Nvidia had their only sweet spot with the they do not, and it may not be conducive to 'price wars ' as so many think. Next month in all likelihood, AMD will take over the top end with the 6900 series. So back to my original point. Where is Nvidias sweet spot? and where is AMD's motive for cutting prices?

    You have to work awfully hard to find a $100 spread between a 6870 and a 460. you can have a wide variety of 6870's for 239.00 and the average price of a 460 is $210. Not to mention that if you looked at the Guru3D review, you no doubt saw that the 6870 beat the 470 in every bench except the Far cry2 test. Then you have the 6850, which the reference cards are "slightly beating the 460" for the same price to 10-20$ less (which was the card that was going after the 460 in the first place)
    as far as SLI vs Crossfire, i would like to see that comparison as well, but CF for the 6800 is improved, that has been demonstrated. But lets say that you are correct about SLI being superior. The problem with that is that you and I are in the vast minority. the last numbers i saw showed that CF/SLI users are less than 2%. its like physx or eyefinity, its not a consideration for most. You and I look at this stuff from an enthusiast point of view, and read reviews on an enthusiast sites, where they do enthusiast things like crossfire and SLI. most people don't know AMD launched a new line of graphic cards until they show up in best buy. there is a reason that AMD and Nvidia are working so hard on the "mainstrean segment" its because its where most of the cards are purchased and not by people who wait up to read the launch benches.
    The fanboys can scream red and green at each other until they are blue in the face. this about market share, placement, and competition. i think that you can get within $20 of the 460 with a 6870, a card that was not even aimed at the 460 is compelling, and does not bode well for Nvidia.

    I agree with this from Tom's:
    Just an opposing view to all of the drooling over the upcoming price wars, but AMD has Nvidia surrounded, and not much reason to cut prices....and it doesn't appear that Nvidia can afford it.
  23. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Review is probably flawed. If a single HD 6850 is hotter,louder and uses more power than a GTX 460. Then there is no way that two of them can run at "power levels lower than a GTS 450 SLI setup"
  24. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    of course it doesnt show what you want it to be. I just looked up 4 more reviews showing what Hamstyer said... are they flawed as well?
  25. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    How would that work? Do cards in SLI really need to draw that much more power?

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...