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AMD Radeon HD 6870 & HD 6850 in CrossFireX
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by Rob Williams on October 25, 2010 in AMD-Based GPU

We took a hard look last week at AMD’s Radeon HD 6870 and HD 6850, and in the end, were left impressed. The FPS/$ ratio was superb, as was the feature-set. How do things look when the same cards are tossed into a CrossFireX setup? Well, AMD claims an up to 1.99x gain in certain games, so let’s see how reliable that figure is.

StarCraft II

Of all the games we test, it might be this one that needs no introduction. Back in 1998, Blizzard unleashed what was soon to be one of the most successful RTS titles on the planet, and even as of today, the original is still heavily played all around the world – even in actual competitions. StarCraft II of course had a lot of hype to live up to, and it did, thanks to its intense gameplay and superb graphics.

StarCraft II

Manual Run-through: The portion of the game we use for testing is part of the Zero Hour mission, which has us holding fort until we’re able to evacuate. Our saved game starts us in the middle of the mission, and from the get-go, we build a couple of buildings and concurrently move our main units up and around the map. Total playtime lasts about two minutes.

It’s clear that StarCraft II loves NVIDIA cards, as the GTX 480 kept up quite close to the CrossFireX’d HD 6870s. In the end, all of our single card configurations handled the game just fine even at 2560×1600. This is a game where ~30 FPS is playable, so anything more than that, and you’re golden.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
AMD HD 6870 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
48
81.989
NVIDIA GTX 480 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
25
72.674
AMD HD 6850 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
40
71.905
AMD HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
31
57.28
NVIDIA GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
20
55.961
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (SLI)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
32
52.565
AMD HD 6870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
34
52.115
AMD HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
32
48.787
AMD HD 6850 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
26
44.456
NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
25
41.306
AMD HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
20
32.986
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
19
32.561
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
17
30.515
AMD HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
23
37.297
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
22
33.331

If you wish to do so (and I recommend it), you can force anti-aliasing through the AMD control center and still get some great performance. I run the game without it in our tests simply due to the fact that it’s not a native option found inside of the game, and there’s too great a chance of mixed results between vendors.


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