Sapphire Radeon 6670 Ultimate
The Sapphire Radeon 6670 Ultimate is certainly a budget graphics card, geared to consumers who occasionally do some light gaming; the 6670 is not a graphics workhorse. Further, it is designed to be frugal in terms of power consumption, not requiring a separate PCI-E connector and instead drawing power directly through the motherboard itself. It is a silent, low-power card that is a good upgrade option for people with an older system that want to easily improve their graphics performance.
In terms of performance, gaming at 1280 resolution is the limit for this card in achieving playable framerates with antialiasing turned on in today’s popular games, and it will struggle at 1680 resolution on modern game titles unless you disable the antialiasing or lower the image quality settings. Without a fan, obviously, the heat produced during gaming sessions will need to be dissipated with good internal case airflow.
There’s also a consideration that this card could be a great opportunity to Crossfire with AMD’s new LLano APU. Llano has an excellent on-die GPU that would benefit from a 6670 to give it an impressive pairing.
It’s important to note that the 6670 Ultimate comes with a free copy of DiRT 3, a $50 inclusion, which considerably boosts the value being offered here and makes the package extremely attractive. However, what’s interesting is that the 6670 is marginally capable of running DiRT 3 at playable framerates, so you’ll have to dial down the image quality settings. It’s kind of like getting a new car but you can’t take it on the highway.
There are really only a couple detractions to this card. The first is that it has a dual slot heatsink, (it’s really dual-and-a-half since the rear fins protrude and can interfere with a large CPU heatsink) so it does require more space inside an HTPC case than a typical budget card with only a single slot cooler. Second, the card runs hot when under load if there is no airflow across the passive heatsink. Obviously internal airflow is critical, and having a quiet 120mm fan blowing across the card will certainly keep the temperatures in check.
When viewed overall though, Sapphire has produced a good card for a select market and it serves its purpose, running silent, power-frugal, and offering some modest gaming capabilities.The free game is a fantastic value-added bonus, but the card’s horsepower can’t fully take advantage of the fun. However, the Sapphire 6670 Ultimate is well suited for an HTPC setup, provided you have some good airflow across the passive heatsink, and can get the job done quite nicely.