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AMD Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 details released


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Company looks to cement DirectX11 dominance

AMD has released the specifications for its two latest graphics cards, the Radeon HD 6850 and Radeon HD 6870.

These second generation DirectX11 cards are an update to the HD 5800 series graphics architecture but are priced at $179 (6850) and $239 (6870), a significant reduction considering the improvements in processing the company said.

The new cards feature advanced tessellation handling, more efficient handling of DirectCompute features and better image quality.

“We believe in the value of tessellation,” said Eric Demers chief technical officer of AMD’s GPU Division.

“It adds value and gives screen images a more organic look. It’s also more nuanced, since a brute force approach [to tessellation] is wasteful.”

Both use a 256-bit memory bus and 1GB of GDDR5 RAM, but the 6850 uses 960 stream processors, 48 texture units and runs at 775MHz compared to the 1,120 stream processors, 56 texture units and a 900MHz clock for the 9870.

In terms of hardware connections the cards come with two DVI ports, two mini-DP sockets in line with DisplayPort 1.2 specifications and an HDMI 4.1a port. The cards can support up to three displays from a single port.

AMD is hoping the company will extend its lead in the DirectX11 market; something the company has had since the standard was launched.

“Every major game developed for DirectX11 was built on AMD hardware,” Matt Skynner general manager of the company’s GPU Division said.

“We’ve shipped 12 million DirectX11 chips in the first year, giv ing us around 90 per cent of the market. We’ve also got a ton of momentum, as the best just got better.”

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AMD Radeon HD 6870 Review

Today marks an overhaul with AMD launching two new graphics cards designed to tackle the GTX 460. The Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 are being presented as the new mid-range offerings on AMD's line-up with a suggested retail of $239 and $199.

Given the naming scheme, you'd expect the new cards to replace the existing Radeon HD 5870 and 5850, but that's not the case. The year-old Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 will be axed next month when AMD launches the Cayman-based Radeon HD 6970 and 6950 graphics cards. While the existing Radeon 5700 series is expected to take over the lower-end affordable graphics sector.

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We expect the Radeon HD 6870 to be slightly slower than the 5870, while the Radeon HD 6850 should be slower than the 5850, just don't pay attention to the tricky naming. The new cards supposedly improve upon Radeon HD 5000 series with better DirectX 11 and enhanced display support, but perhaps most importantly they are set to offer a better value than Nvidia's GTX 460.

Read: AMD Radeon HD 6870 Review

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