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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.

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 might not belong to a well-established series of games, but with its launch, it looks like that might not be the case for long. The game offers not only superb graphics, but an enormous world to explore, and for people like me, a countless number of hidden items to find around it. During the game, you’ll be scaling skyscrapers, racing through jungles and fighting atop snow-drenched mountains. What’s not to like?

Just Cause 2

Manual Run-through: The level chosen here is part of the second mission in the game, “Casino Bust”. Our runthrough begins at the second-half of the level, which requires us to situate ourselves on top of a car and have our driver, Karl Blaine, speed us through part of the island to safety. This is a great mission for benchmarking as we get to see a lot of the landmass, even if some of it is at a distance.

Continuing our theme from the last game, Just Cause 2 also seems to favor AMD’s Radeons, and as such, the performance crown goes to them.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
AMD HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
27
38.29
NVIDIA GTX 480 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, SSAO Low, 0xAA
29
39.137
AMD HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, 0xAA
27
38.468
AMD HD 6870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, 0xAA
26
40.787
NVIDIA GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, SSAO Low, 0xAA
33
37.932
AMD HD 6850 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
31
48.391
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (Reference SLI)
2560×1600 – Max Details, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
39
46.988
AMD HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
31
38.230
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Sapphire FleX)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, SSAO Medium, 0xAA
32
42.781
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, High Water, High Objects, SSAO Medium, 0xAA
31
42.332
NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB (EVGA)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Low, 0xAA
43
48.724
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
39
45.059
AMD HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
1920×1080 – Max Detail, Medium Shadows, Medium Water, Medium Objects, High-Res Shadows Off, SSAO Off, 0xAA
35
43.306

Unlike Dirt 2, where maxed-out graphic detail will work on a lot of recent configurations, that’s not the case here. The only exception is on the HD 5870, and even that’s cutting it close. On our HD 6870, we had to cut down on the water and objects detail just a tad, while also disabling AA, and for the HD 6850, we decreased the detail even further, completely disabling high-res shadows and ambient occlusion.