AMD/ATI Radeon 6800 series

…so AMD’s new GPUs are out this week. Apparently they are less powerful than the 5870 (but are still scheduled to replace that card) and are more aimed at the mid-priced market. Here’s Anandtech’s piece:

Surprising? I guess I’m happy my 5970 isn’t immediately obsolete, heh. Are there faster versions of this generation expected?

6870 is barely faster than a 5850 and slower than a 5870.

There is going to be a 69XX line of cards with a larger, more powerful chip. As Jason Cross notes in his article for PC World, the X8XX cards have traditionally been ~$200 price/performance leaders, it was the 58XX line that was an aberration into the higher end price range. It was always something of a fluke that the 4870 and 4850 were so dominant from a pure performance perspective. Their design philosophy was to aim for the midrange with an efficient design. It was just good luck they caught nVidia in a bad way.

Yeah, the 6900s, code named Cayman, will be out later this year. They’ll be representing AMD’s high end.

Still, the 6870 is a pretty impressive card. 18W at idle, for one thing, and better than 5850 performance at lower than 5850 prices. My review of the XFX card here.

Also, CrossfireX performance has improved – at least in the dozen or so benchmarks I ran at 1920x1200 (4xAA), I saw nearly perfect scaling with a second card – something the earlier 5000 cards couldn’t manage.

It’s the ~$200 pricepoint that really matters. That’s why they keep battling over it. Competition is fierce, so this is a great time to be looking for an upgrade. I’d buy that 6870 in a second if I needed a new card.

So the 6870 would be a decent upgrade from the 5770?

yes. 456.

A great upgrade, yes. The 6870 is slightly faster and cheaper than the 5850. It’s certainly what I would buy.

Yeah I did some research and it looks like the Retail for the 6870 is about 250 ish on newegg thats not bad at all. I am going to have to wait to see if more people start to carry them.

So…still no compelling reason to look to upgrade the 5870 I installed last year.

Are you relieved…or disappointed?

Check in again in one month.

Looking at getting the 6850 or 6870.
My power supply is only 400W though. Good enough to handle full load? I don’t plan to overclock (more likely when my processor isn’t cutting it I’ll move the card over to a new system and add another one)
Other things in system:
4 Sticks of DDR3 Ram
1 Combo Drive
Intel i5 650
About four to five things plugged in USB wise (TV tuner, headset, keyboard, mouse, and external HDD though that last one has it’s own power source)
No idea about the fans.

It’s a cheap CG5275. There’s so much room in there that I figure they planned for a card.

Eh. I enjoy tinkering with my computer rig. It’s a fun hobby, and over the past 3-4 years it finally became something I can afford to do. I’m very happy and satisfied with the 5870, but I enjoy seeing what new sexy computer stuff can do, too.

What you describe sounds like it would consume around 250W with a 6870, with most of that being on 12V. 400W in itself shouldn’t be a problem anyway.

Thanks for the additional information - and the reviews Loyd and Jason. Are those the regular sites you write for now?

Jason’s a senior editor now at PC World. I’m freelancing for a number of pubs, but I’m the main graphics guy for Maximum PC.

I’m seriously thinking that, given the lower power draw and the improved CrossFireX scaling, that two 6870s may be what I go for next. I’ll wait until the Cayman release to be sure, though.

What would you do with the power though? You have to sympathise with ATI & Nvidia. ATI want us to run 6 screens and Nvidia want us to produce 2x60 fps streams to drive their 3D… to cover up the fact that we only need the power to run console ports that are comfortable on 2007 hardware.

Since I’m running three 30-inch displays, I like having the better performance. I run most of my games at 2560x1600.

You are an edge case, of course. It’s been amazing how much performance you can get for sub-$200 these days. For typical users with a ~21 inch screen It’s hard to justify spending more than like $150 on a card. And that buys you an astounding amount of power right now. I’m still on the 4850 and I’m usually CPU limited more than anything else. Hoping to pick up a Phenom II X4 next week to help there.

Jason, Llyodd, have you guys played around much with the MLAA on the new Radeons? Saw on NeoGAF that there’s a hacked driver to get it working on 5XXX cards and I’m hopeful it’ll make it to the 4XXX cards as well, eventually.