ASUS Radeon EAH6870 1GB
There’s quite a bit of information to process with the launch of the 6800 cards, but there are a few major ones to note. The first is that the 6870 technically isn’t a successor to the 5870, even though we saw the performance is almost identical. The reason is that the 5870 was the flagship model, but the 6870 isn’t. Believe it or not, it’s much lower on the performance ladder of the new 6000 series cards. While some may scoff at the same performance displayed, it must be remembered that this "mid-range" gaming card actually matches the previous flagship model. That’s pretty impressive when you think about it. We are still baffled, though, by AMD’s decision to name the cards so similar and yet they are not the successors to the previous models. It will be confusing to consumers in our opinion.
There are also some other appealing new features brought into the mix, notably 3D and tessellation, though these really do appeal to a very small niche market at this point in time. Our gaming results showed a bit of a mixed bag where a couple game titles were concerned; likely new drivers will hopefully fix that, as it’s not uncommon to see this with the initial launch, particulary of a whole new generation of products.
Against the GTX 470, the EAH6870 does reasonably well but stumbles in a few games, so there’s some consideration to take into account there, plus the lack of PhysX and CUDA obviously can be a factor, particularly if you’re into Folding @ Home. Where things get really interesting is regarding price. Nvidia has announced considerable price reductions in the GTX 460 and 470 cards, in an apparent effort to deflect attention from this AMD launch. Regardless of the motive, the reality is that consumers are always looking for great value. The 6870 is set to launch around $240, while a GTX 470 will be about $260, only $20 more. So the price difference is rather minimal. The question then becomes what does each card bring to the table? Well, it depends on your preferences and criteria: temperatures, noise, PhysX, triple screen gaming, are factors that can influence your decision since the prices aren’t much different. With these price reductions from the Nvidia camp, the decision just got a whole lot more difficult.
We do have some information and questions left unanswered today. Due to extremely tight timelines (we actually received two cards just today!), we were unable to fully explore the overclocking performance increases, and particularly how the 6870 stacks up against the 5870 and GTX 470 when pushed to their limits. There’s also the question of Crossfire and SLI comparisons, and as more cards arrive in the lab we’re hoping to explore that more fully.
However, we do know that this ASUS EAH6870 has voltage tweaking ability and a minor factory overclock out of the box. It also has some very good overclocking headroom. That bodes well for ASUS against the competition. But given ASUS’ history, we’re eagerly awaiting to see what comes out of their design and production facilities for non-reference designs. That being said, the EAH6870 performs rather well against the competition. though there’s certainly no knockout punch here today.
ASUS Radeon EAH6870 1GB