At first glance the AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB GDDR5 video card looks identical to the Radeon HD 6850 video card.
It is only when you take a tape measure to the card that you notice
this dual-slot card is actually more than one inch longer. The AMD
Radeon HD 6870 PCB measures 10.5″ in length.
The back of the Radeon HD 6870 is very similar to the Radeon HD
6850, but notice the GPU coolers fan shroud hangs over just a bit at the
end of the card. The Radeon HD 6870 doesn’t have any GDDR5
memory visible on this side of the PCB either.
Notice at the end of the video card the Radeon HD 6870 has no power
connectors along the butt of the graphics card. This is because they are
located along the top edge of the card.
This picture better shows the two 6-pin PCIe power connectors that are located along the top edge of the video card. AMD says the Radeon HD 6870 also needs a 500W or greater power supply for single card operation or a 600W or greater for CrossFire.
The video connectors on the card are the same as the Radeon HD 6850.
Enough of looking at the outside let’s take it apart also!
Once you remove the screws you’ll notice that the GPU cooler on the AMD Radeon HD 5870 is much larger. In fact the fan is larger and the copper heat sink has three large heat pipes on it along with a bunch off a aluminum cooling fins. I wonder if we can get this fan shroud apart…
No screwdriver needed! Just push the little plastic tabs and the CPU cooler comes easily apart! Notice that the Radeon HD 6870 has a heat sink that makes some older retail boxed CPU coolers look cheap!
The heat sink has a very nice appearance to it and it is no wonder in our temperature testing that the Radeon HD 6870 has better cooling temperatures.
Here is a better look at the copper base that sits directly on the GPU.
Speaking of the GPU, here is a closer look at the core that was on the AMD Radeon HD 6870. They used plenty of thermal paste on this one! The Hynix GDDR5 memory IC’s were identical to the ones used on the Radeon HD 6850.
XFX also sent out a Radeon HD 6870 for testing, but since it was identical to the reference design we won’t go into much detail on that. We did want to show you this picture of it though with the custom designed XFX Radeon HD 6850 sitting above the XFX Radeon HD 6870 to give you an idea of the size difference.
Our good friends at Sapphire and Diamond sent over some factory overclocked cards, but since they arrived yesterday we didn’t have enough time to benchmark them and include them in this review. We’ll post a review of these overclocked cards as soon as we get a chance to benchmark them all!