AMD Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 Video Card Preview

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The AMD Radeon HD 6850 Reference Card

A little over a year ago, AMD released the ATI
Radeon HD 5000 family
of graphics products and by doing so, AMD became the first company to offer DirectX 11 compatibility when Windows 7 was launched. This was a big deal and over the past year AMD has successfully released eleven video cards in the Radeon HD 5000 series and sold more than 25 million DX11 video cards. What is really interesting is that NVIDIA is still releasing more cards in their GeForce 400 series of products. NVIDIA has just five DirectX 11 cards released and the company still does not have a solid top-to-bottom DirectX 11 product stack like AMD does. AMD on the other hand is going to be releasing their next generation of GPUs, the AMD Radeon HD 6800 Graphics Series later this week. The first two cards that will be released will be the AMD Radeon HD 6870 and
AMD Radeon HD 6850 graphics cards. Unlike in past years AMD won’t be starting with their flagship video cards, but rather a pair of cards that are positioned in the “Gamers’ Sweet Spot” as they like to call it.

AMD Radeon HD 6850 and Radeon HD 6870 Video Cards

Today, we have the ability to tell you the product names of the AMD Radeon HD 6800 series only, show you the photos of the AMD Radeon 6800 series cards and give you a peak at an upcoming demo AMD made called Mecha Rampage. Since we have already told you the product names, we’ll skip right to the pictures and let you take a sneak peak of the cards that we will be reviewing in-depth later this week.

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Video Card

The Radeon HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 is the first video card in the new Radeon HD 6000 series that we will be showing you today. The Radeon HD 6800 series has a whole new look too it and while they
kept the red/black color scheme the ‘batmobile’ look of the Radeon HD
5800 series is long gone.

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Video Card

This video card measures 9″ long and is a dual-slot card with a squirrel cage type cooling fan on it.

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Video Card

The back of the Radeon HD 6850 is open and doesn’t have any of the 1GB GDDR5 memory visible on this side of the PCB.  The only thing worth noting here is the GPU support bracket that is also common on the current generation of video cards.

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Video Card

Long ago we heard rumors that the Radeon HD 6800 series would be the first video card to support the PCI Express 3.0 standard, but we haven’t heard that rumor in many months.  It is our understanding that the AMD Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 will support up to PCI Express 2.1.

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Video Card

The 6-pin PCIe power connector on the AMD Radeon HD 6850 is located at the end of the video card on the top corner.  Since the card is only 9″ long, it still should still be able to fit in most of the cases on the market today.

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Video Card

The AMD Radeon HD 6850 has a pair of mini-DisplayPort 1.2 connectors on it that have double the data-rate of DisplayPort 1.1. In addition to the higher data-rate, DP 1.2 also brings support for higher resolution support and support for stereoscopic 3D. The new HD 6800 series has been rumored to  be able to support up to six DisplayPort displays by “daisy chaining” them to two Displayport outputs. To the right of the pair of mini-DisplayPort connectors is a full size HDMI 1.4a output for 3D video (Blu-ray 3D) support and dual-link DVI-I and single-link DVI-I outputs.

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Video Card

You can see that AMD has some ‘vents’ that are located along the top edge of the Radeon HD 6850, but that isn’t for hot air from the cooling fan.  That air is contained within a red ‘tube’ that is exhausted out of the case via the exhaust vent that can be seen on the PCI panel bracket.

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