Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 Are Now Shipping

Posted by at 12:01 am on October 22, 2010

AMD last night launched a new graphics core generation by launching the Radeon HD 6850 and 6870. The designs are roughly on par with the performance of the outgoing 5850, but due to a new architecture, are considerably cheaper at $179 (6850) and $239 (6870) while still being more power efficient. Boards will be shipping from ASUS, Diamond, Gigabyte and XFX. AMD claims a performance edge of as much as 30 percent over the GeForce GTX 460; NVIDIA has dropped the GTX 460’s average price to $199 .

The designs are still focused on DirectX 11 (OpenGL 4.0) graphics and general-purpose DirectCompute or OpenCL. They now add new morphological antialiasing that should smooth out edges even in difficult scenes and improved anisotropic filtering that smoothes the transitions between textures. Hardware tessellation is now on board to automatically reduce detail for distant objects, and the universal video decoder has been increased to reduce the workload on the main processor during Blu-ray movies and other HD videos.

Some boards will also be the first anywhere to support both the newer DisplayPort 1.2 spec as well as HDMI 1.4a, letting them carry audio over DP and 3D over HDMI. Most boards based on the reference designs will be ready for multi-monitor viewing with dual DVI ports, dual Mini DisplayPorts and an HDMI connector.

Either card has a 256-bit memory bus and 1GB of GDDR5 RAM, but the two are separated broadly by the number and speed of processing units. The 6850 starts with 960 stream (effects) processors, 48 texture units and a 775MHz core clock. A 6870 scales up to 1,120 stream processors, 56 texture units and a 900MHz clock rate.

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