AMD has been on a roll lately with their video card releases. Last year they released their first DirectX 11 video cards in the form of the Evergreen family of video cards. The high-end last year was taken up by the Radeon HD 5870 and Radeon HD 5850 video cards. These two cards represented the pinnacle of video cards on AMD chips until today.
AMD decided to launch a second series of DirectX 11 video cards in the form of an architecture called Northern Islands. Every one of the cards in this new architecture is named after a series of islands. The first cards that launched today are the Barts XT and Barts Pro chips which are the RADEON HD 6870 and RADEON HD 6850 respectively.
Sapphire cards have generally been well received, as they have been partners of AMD since the early RADEON 9700 Pro days. Today, they are launching their HD 6870 card and that is the card on the review bench a reference board based upon the new HD 6870 card, which was codenamed Barts XT. As this is a launch review also check out the HD 6850 review.