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XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB Dual Fan Edition Review: Page 2 of 7

The XFX Dual-Fan HD 6870 is one of the quietest video cards I’ve seen in a long time. Even at full 100% fan speed the card was subjectively quieter than the reference HD 6870 card was at normal operating speeds. By Elric Phares


  • 900MHz Engine Clock
  • 1GB GDDR5 memory
  • 1050MHz memory clock
  • 134.4 Gbps memory bandwidth
  • 2 TeraFLOPs compute power
  • Double slot form factor
  • TeraScale 2 Unified Processor Architecture
  • 1120 Stream Processors
  • 56 Texture Units
  • 128 Z/Stencil ROP units
  • 32 Color ROP units
  • PCI Express 2.1 x16 bus interface
  • Eye-Definition graphics
  • DirectX 11 support
  • Shader Model 5.0
  • DirectCompute 11
  • Programmable hardware tessellation unit
  • Accelerated multi-threading
  • HDR texture compression
  • Order-independent transparency
  • OpenGL 4.1 support
  • Image quality enhancement technology
  • Up to 24x multi sample and super-sample anti-aliasing modes
  • Adaptive anti-aliasing
  • Morphological anti-aliasing
  • 16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
  • 128-bit floating point HDR rendering
  • AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology
  • Independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlay
  • display grouping
  • AMD EyeSpeed visual acceleration
  • AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing technology (APP)
  • OpenCL 1.1
  • DirectCompute 11
  • Accelerated video encoding, transcoding and upscaling
  • UVD 3 dedicated video playback accelerator
  • MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
  • VC-1
  • MPEG-2
  • Multi-View Codec
  • MPEG-4 part 2
  • Adobe Flash
  • Enhanced Video Quality features
  • Advanced post-processing and scaling
  • Dynamic contrast enhancement and color correction
  • Brighter whites processing (Blue Stretch)
  • Independent video gamma control
  • Dynamic video range control
  • Dual-stream HD (1080p) playback support
  • DXVA 1.0 and 2.0 SUPPORT
  • AMD HD3D technology
  • Stereoscopic 3D display/glasses support
  • Blu-ray 3D support
  • Stereoscopic 3D gaming
  • 3rd party Stereoscopic 3D middleware software support
  • AMD CrossfireX Mutli-GPU technology
  • Dual GPU scaling
  • Cutting-edge integrated display support
  • DisplayPort 1.2
  • max resolution 2560x1600 per display
  • Multi-Stream Transport
  • 21.6 Gbps bandwidth
  • High bit-rate audio
  • HDMI 1.4a with Stereoscopic 3D Frame Packing Format, Deep Color, xvYCC wide gamut support and high support and high bit-rate audio
  • max resolution 1920x1200
  • Dual-link DVI with HDCP
  • Max resolution 2560x1600
  • VGA
  • Max resolution 2048x1536
  • Integrated HD audio controller
  • output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI or DisplayPort with no additional audio cables required
  • AMD PowerPlay power management technology
  • Dynamic power management with low power idle state
  • Ultra-low power state support for multi-GPU configurations
  • AMD Catalyst graphics and HD video configuration software
  • Unified graphics display drivers
  • Certified for Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP
  • AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Software application and user interface for setup, configuration, and accessing special features of AMD Radeon products

The XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB card is based upon AMD’s Barts architecture which was their 2nd generation DirectX 11 architecture after their HD 5xxx series launched in late 2009.  The Barts architecture is a chip composed of 1.70 billion transistors on TSMC’s 40nm fabrication process. The HD 6870 is codenamed Barts XT and is the higher-end of the two cards in the family.

The Barts XT chip has 1120 Stream Processors split into 14 SIMD engines each with 16 SPs capable of doing a 5D operation in a single clock.  The SP can do four simple and one medium operation each clock. You might notice that the 6870 has less SP than a HD 5870 or HD 5850, but that is because the replacement for those cards is the 6970 and 6950, not this card.

The Radeon HD 6870 has a feature called AMD PowerPlay technology. Just as the CPU doesn’t need to run at full speed 100% of the time, the graphics card also doesn’t need all of the power required under the TDP all of the time. With PowerPlay the HD 6870 only takes a maximum of 19W at idle, compared to the 151W under full load. If you don’t need the power you can save a lot on energy costs.

When AMD launched the HD 5870 in 2009, they touted the ability of the card to do 3-monitor gaming on a single card regardless of the cost. They also released an Eyefinity 6 version of the HD 5870 which allowed up to six monitor gaming from a single card but required six mini-DisplayPort connections to use all six monitors. With the launch of the Barts chips, AMD has taken it a step further by allowing up to six monitors to be used with a MST hub.

AMD has supported DirectX 11 since its inception in 2009. DirectX 11 brings solid features like Tessellation support, Multi-threaded support, and support for DirectCompute 11 to AMD’s graphics cards. Tessellation breaks up polygons into finer pieces. The easiest way to think about it is if you take a square and cut it across the diagonal, forming two triangles. You haven’t actually changed the data but can make coarse models smoother. Once you apply displacement mapping you can come up with much more realistic characters and terrain. A perfect example of Tessellation occurs in HAWX2 where the mountains and valleys all have higher degrees of detail with it enabled (up to 1.5 million polygons/second).

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