AMD Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 Review Roundup

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While most of our counterparts released AMD Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 reviews at 10 p.m. EST this evening, one website just could not wait a second longer and published earlier today. Now that the official release date has arrived, reviews are cropping up all over the internet. Unfortunately,’s sample is still in the mail, but stay tuned for our review coming soon. To tide you over, I.M.O.G. shared what he learned about the new architecture at AMD’s release party in Los Angeles last week: Official AMD Radeon HD 6850/6870 Performance Specs Released.

HD 6870 (Courtesy TweakTown)
HD 6870 (Courtesy TweakTown)

After reading several reviews, it appears as though the 6800 series does not provide a major performance boost over its 5800 series predecessors. The consensus seems to be a more efficient, cost-effective option providing a moderate increase in performance in some applications/games.

How do these cards perform? Are their significant enhancements in image quality? How do these stack up to NVIDIA offerings? Once gets our hands on a review sample, we will have more concrete answers to these questions. For now, check out some reviews from around the internet:

PC Perspectives:

“The Radeon HD 6800-series didn’t bring a drastic change to the GPU market like the HD 5800 series did; the architectures are just too similar for anything like that to have happened.  AMD should be proud of the release though and now that they finally have a solid answer to the $200 question, I am sure product managers there will sleep better at night.”

Legit Reviews:

“The AMD Radeon HD 6800 series of video cards retains Radeon HD 5800-class performance, but brings new features and better efficiency to the table.”

Hot Hardware:

“One word aptly describes AMD’s latest Radeon HD 6800 series GPUs: Refinement. AMD’s goal was to drive cost and power consumption out of their architecture, along with enhancing its capabilities, features and image quality in next-generation DX11 gaming engines. To that end we’d say the company has succeeded masterfully.”


“While not as strong as the HD 6850 when it comes to overall value, the HD 6870 hits the spot by performing in between the HD 5850 and HD 5870 at that mid $200 pricce point. AMD are no doubt working hard to lay the smack down on NVIDIA.”

More reviews will be published over the next few days, including one right here at


Update 10/22/10 9AM: JMKE from has a more complete roundup prepared this morning. If looking for more, refer to his links in the comments below or head over to their roundup article.

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  1. I.M.O.G.
    I'm not sure whats going on over at Guru3D with publishing prior to the official embargo lifting - maybe they had some arrangement or exclusive deal.
    Of course, it does remind me of other stuff I've read in the past few months which I wouldn't expect a site of their status and history to do:

    I can wait a few days to get my info from a source I trust. Of all the forums and websites out there this is one that truly lacks "fanboism" when it comes to hardware. There are roughly the same amount of people who love/hate Intel/AMD & Nvidia/ATi around here. Franky it's refreshing.
    I'm not sure whats going on over at Guru3D with publishing prior to the official embargo lifting

    I think it was an error, nothing more, nothing less.
    here are a few more reviews:
    I agree entirely. My point wasn't that there is any sort of scandal, my point is just that it is an incredibly careless/amateur error to commit. A lot like borrowing images and editing them poorly before passing them off as their own without giving any credit to the site they got them from. Let's face it... This isn't defusing a nuclear weapon here. G3D has been around for over a decade with the same ringmaster leading their circus and they've been through MANY product launches like this one. Maybe after another decade they'll get the kinks straightened out in their system.
    Thanks for the linkage!
    Here are all the reviews I found on launch day of the AMD 6870
    I'm sure there is more but thats should be enough. So tell me are you guys happy with the results and what the 6970 could be when the 6870 is mid-ranged. I'm impressed because remember it only has 1120 stream processors and it's almost better then the 5870. Imagine the 6970 with 1600 or even more. To the cost, it kicks the GTX 460's ass and a little of the 5850 so hopefully prices will come down.
    I am very pleased. I saw some reviews were the 6870 in CF beat the 5870 in CF as the
    6xxx cards are scaling much better then previous generations. I am considering two 6870 in CF to replace my gx295.
    I want a HD6990 / HD69970 CF setup for my upgrade, unless I hear news of Nvidia's next "generation" of cards. Solid cards, they manage to beat their competitors (The GTX460 768 and 1GB variants) well whilst using less power.
    @Zantal: No they are not the top of the 6000 series. After the 58XX were out, ATI brought out the 59XX. AMD is comparing the 68XX cards against GTX 460s because thats the market they are targeting with these.
    Which would be better? 2x 5770 CrossfireX or 6870?

    6870 imo.
    Define "better".
    So wierd seeing the x870 / x850 named as "not top of the line" anymore.
    Though at that price nice. Might have to see how the new top of the line branch sits guessing with x970 / x950 numbers but the 6870 looks like a very nice card I could enjoy, low power consumption, nice speeds, and probably can OC very nicely.
    Some other places have implied the naming adjustments were made to make room for fusion at the lower/budget end of the market. I did not get that out of the AMD press thing last week, but it could be true... I mean the timing does fit.
    @Zantal: No they are not the top of the 6000 series. After the 58XX were out, ATI brought out the 59XX. AMD is comparing the 68XX cards against GTX 460s because thats the market they are targeting with these..
    which they both beat handily! Problem is, Nvidia dropped their 470 price to $250 now which in the eyes of consumers (or maybe just me) pits those two against each other...
    Agreed, and it doesn't matter what AMD compares against except that it shows their intent. Other than showing intent, its coming from the manufacturer so it can be taken with a grain of salt (I would expect they would show you a card their stuff beats before they'd show you a card they are almost as good as, or are exchanging blows with).