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Sapphire Radeon 6870 FleX Edition

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Posted February 21, 2011 by Jake in Video Cards

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by Jake
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Summary

Sapphire has created a truly innovative product here. The 6870 FleX has the one of the best temperatures of any 6870 we’ve seen, second only to the Sapphire Vapor-X version. The FleX also runs quieter than most of the other cards as well, not to mention there’s some very respectable overclocking headroom available here, leaving us quite impressed with the performance, noise levels, and temperatures overall.

The notion of making Eyefinity’s DisplayPort or an active adapter obsolete is extremely attractive. For anyone that has three DVI monitors, this is far less hassle, not to mention cheaper as well. Priced at $225 USD, the 6870 FleX costs only $5 more than other non-reference cards, and is an excellent value against the competition.

So what are the downsides? Well, our gaming results showed a bit of a mixed bag, with a few instances where the AMD cards were trounced by Nvidia. There is also the lack of PhysX and CUDA which can be a factor, particularly if you’re into Folding @ Home. The real issue here, however, is the Eyefinity horsepower under the hood. Unfortunately, the 6870 FleX is underpowered for extreme resolution gaming, and the 1GB of memory is abysmal. You really need at least a 6950 with 2GB of memory to think about Eyefinity gaming with decent framerates. The 6870 FleX can cope with a few older game engines such as Unreal and Source varieties, Crysis 2 in Eyefinity? Forget it, don’t even think about going there.

The Sapphire 6870 FleX is a great competitor against the other 6870 models on the market, offering good performance and overclocking headroom, excellent temperatures, and low noise. But those alluring features are unfortunately tempered by the reality that a 6870 is underpowered for Eyefinity gaming at extreme resolutions. And Eyefinity is the main selling point of this card; this technology should be on a 6950 and then we’d have a whole new ballgame in play. The Sapphire 6870 FleX features some outstanding innovation but it really needs to be implemented on a flagship Radeon card. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Sapphire Radeon 6870 FleX

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