Sapphire 6870 1GB DiRT 3 Edition
As you’ve already surmised, the Sapphire Radeon 6870 1GB DiRT 3 Edition is not a stock reference card. We often see custom cards from Sapphire, with their Vapor-X and Toxic being popular lineups, and this card continues that trend, though it’s not part of a specific lineup. The most significant visual feature of the card is its cooler, featuing dual fans rather than a single one found on the reference design. The cooler is rather angular and industrial, going with the recent trend of Sapphire’s stealthy all-black products.
Functionally speaking, the heatsink has copper heatpipes to help reduce the GPU temperatures, and is vented along the length of the shroud. Since the shroud doesn’t fully cover the PCB, not all warm air will exhaust out the rear of the case, so some internal case airflow will be necessary to accomplish that. As we’ve come to expect from Sapphire, however, they normally produce excellent cooling results with their custom heatsinks, so we’ll check the temperatures a bit later in the review.
Sapphire has gone with a blue PCB rather than a red or black one, as we often see from other companies. The 6870 1GB DiRT 3 Edition design includes only a single CrossFire bridge, which means only two cards can be connected, so unfortunately no tri- or quad-CrossFire benching runs for the diehard enthusiasts out there.
The card requires two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors. If you have any plans on going Crossfire then you should probably go with at least a 650W power supply, and we’ll check the power consumption a bit later in this review as well. Thankfully the power connectors are side-mounted on the card rather than end-mounted, so this should avoid clearance issues for those of you who have a mid-tower case with tight space around the hard drive cage.
The rear of the card sports two DVI connectors, an HDMI, and two mini-DisplayPort connectors. It is this wide range of connectivity options that allows you to connect three monitors and run Eyefinity, though an actively powered cable is necessary if you don’t have a monitor with native DisplayPort input.
Let’s move along to the test setup and take a look at the benchmark results.