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AMD Radeon HD 6870 & HD 6850
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by Rob Williams on October 22, 2010 in AMD-Based GPU

It’s been a long time coming, but gamers can finally relax… AMD’s Radeon HD 6800 graphics cards are finally here. They may still be built upon a 40nm process, but AMD has brought a lot to the table here. We set out to see how the HD 6850 and HD 6870 compare to their closest competition, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 460 and GTX 470.

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

It’s not that often that faithful PC gamers get a proper racing game for their platform of choice, but Dirt 2 is one of those. While it is a “console port”, there’s virtually nothing in the game that will make that point stand out. The game as a whole takes good advantage of our PC’s hardware, and it’s as challenging as it is good-looking.

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

Manual Run-through: The race we chose to use in Dirt 2 is the first one available in the game, as it’s easily accessible and features a lot of GPU-pounding effects that the game has become known for, such as realistic dust and water effects, a large on-looking crowd of people and fine details on and off the track. Each run-through lasts the entire two laps, which comes out to about 2.5 minutes.

As was to be expected, the HD 6870 doesn’t quite compare to the HD 5870, but it doesn’t fall too far behind. Compared to NVIDIA’s GTX 470 and GTX 460, AMD’s latest cards perform exceptionally well in this title, but it should be stressed that Dirt 2 has always favored Radeons a bit more than GeForces, so in the end, the results aren’t all too surprising.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
NVIDIA GTX 480 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
53
61.850
AMD HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
52
60.85
AMD HD 6870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
42
53.592
AMD HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
42
50.325
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (Reference SLI)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
44
53.584
NVIDIA GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
42
49.032
AMD HD 6850 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
39
45.135
AMD HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
24
40.385
NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
38
44.090
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, 4xAA
44
58.439
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Sapphire FleX)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, 4xAA
42
57.654
AMD HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, 4xAA
39
50.327
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Medium Detail, 4xAA
35
45.422

Dirt 2 might have come out last fall, but the game is still mighty good-looking, and thankfully for gamers, pretty well any recent PC configuration you have will allow you to play the game at high detail levels, even with anti-aliasing. In the case of AMD’s latest cards, 2560×1600, “Ultra” and 4xAA is no problem at all.