Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Overclocking Benchmarks

AMD Radeon HD 6870 And 6850: Is Barts A Step Forward?
By , Chris Angelini

Built on the same 40 nm process as their predecessors, the new Radeon HD 6800-series cards should have similar overclocking headroom as their Radeon HD 5800-series predecessors, and that means 1 GHz is an achievement, even with a voltage increase.

The Radeon HD 6850 turns out to be quite the overclocker, which is not much of a surprise when you consider its stock 775 MHz core clock. This card manages to go all the way to 900 MHz (core), which requires the use of MSI's Afterburner utility. AMD's Overdrive utility caps the Radeon HD 6850 at 850 MHz. The card's memory isn't nearly as accommodating, allowing a mere 50 MHz increase.

On the other hand, the Radeon HD 6870 is a relative overclocking miser, restricting stable running to a mere 50 MHz boost (core). This results in a 950 MHz clock speed, quite close to the 1 GHz ceiling we mentioned earlier. It would be interesting to see what a voltage increase would allow. As for the memory, the card was completely unhappy with anything but the stock 1050 MHz speed.

Note that we've included the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW Edition card in these benchmarks to show what a highly-clocked GeForce GTX 460 1 GB can do. Again, we've allowed the Radeon HD 5870 to strut it's stuff as well. 

Aliens vs Predator is an ideal benchmark for an overclocking test because its performance is decidedly GPU-limited. In this test, we see a notable gain from the Radeon HD 6850 overclock, but not much from the Radeon HD 6870's best effort.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW edition card gives a very strong performance compared to the regular GeForce GTX 460, suggesting that this is, indeed, an overclocked card to be reckoned with.

The $350+ Radeon HD 5870 walks away with an easy win, showing exactly what 1600 shader cores bring to the game.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 314 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    cangelini , October 22, 2010 6:02 AM
    forcesnice but... where is Crysis!!!? they can play Crysis i know but how well can they play it? everyone has Crysis and have played Crysis and will play it... , its a nice game to compare perfomance...


    We actually discussed Crysis, but I'm honestly really damn tired of Crysis. When Crysis 2 comes out, I'll be all over it like Rosie O'Donnell on a $5 pie sale at Marie Callender's. For now, we're going to phase that one out, though :) 
  • 34 Hide
    Poisoner , October 22, 2010 5:47 AM
    I think AMD did a great job with these cards. Its just sick at what performance you can get for 200 bucks.
  • 33 Hide
    TheRockMonsi , October 22, 2010 5:44 AM
    I like where AMD is going with the 6000 series, not so much with naming, but pretty much everything else about it. Can't wait for the 6900's, those are going to be beasts!!!!!
Other Comments
  • 30 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , October 22, 2010 5:42 AM
    Yeah I agree. I don't get AMD's marketing on the 6000 series. One would think that the 6870 would obv performan better then the 5870 at first glance but instead it yelds less performance then the 5870. That just doesn't make any sense from a consumor standpoint.
  • 33 Hide
    TheRockMonsi , October 22, 2010 5:44 AM
    I like where AMD is going with the 6000 series, not so much with naming, but pretty much everything else about it. Can't wait for the 6900's, those are going to be beasts!!!!!
  • 34 Hide
    Poisoner , October 22, 2010 5:47 AM
    I think AMD did a great job with these cards. Its just sick at what performance you can get for 200 bucks.
  • 21 Hide
    Anonymous , October 22, 2010 5:49 AM
    Super review. but i think HD6850 is faster than 1gb gtx 460....
  • 7 Hide
    duk3 , October 22, 2010 5:52 AM
    Nice benchmark suite!
    I am looking forward to the 6900 series and 22nm gpus later on for some real performance improvements.
  • 14 Hide
    takeapieandrun , October 22, 2010 5:52 AM
    Not exactly powerhouses, but I do believe they will be great for market competition.
  • 21 Hide
    forces , October 22, 2010 5:53 AM
    nice but... where is Crysis!!!? they can play Crysis i know but how well can they play it? everyone has Crysis and have played Crysis and will play it... :( , its a nice game to compare perfomance...
  • 34 Hide
    cangelini , October 22, 2010 6:02 AM
    forcesnice but... where is Crysis!!!? they can play Crysis i know but how well can they play it? everyone has Crysis and have played Crysis and will play it... , its a nice game to compare perfomance...


    We actually discussed Crysis, but I'm honestly really damn tired of Crysis. When Crysis 2 comes out, I'll be all over it like Rosie O'Donnell on a $5 pie sale at Marie Callender's. For now, we're going to phase that one out, though :) 
  • 6 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , October 22, 2010 6:03 AM
    So I guess AMD has no plans to replace the Radeon 5700 series on down then according to the chart in the first page for a while to come.
  • 22 Hide
    L0tus , October 22, 2010 6:04 AM
    Sorry but I'm disappointed. Decent cards but VERY misleading names. I don't like being misled.
  • 8 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 22, 2010 6:04 AM
    Well, I think we can finally agree that the so called "illegitimate" Barts/HD68xx rumors have been confirmed. In retrospect, it really is quite interesting what some people were trying to claim, and how confident they were while doing it.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/11395-55-report-launching-radeon-6000

    Great cards, giving some fierce competition to the upper mid range segment.
  • 14 Hide
    shura4ever , October 22, 2010 6:05 AM
    "The MSRP of the Radeon HD 6870 is $40, a bit less than the Radeon HD 5850"
    $40? sell it to me :D 
  • 3 Hide
    winner4455 , October 22, 2010 6:07 AM
    shura4ever"The MSRP of the Radeon HD 6870 is $40, a bit less than the Radeon HD 5850"$40? sell it to me


    Exactly what I was thinking when I read it xD

    It's actually $240 though... D:
  • 7 Hide
    dogman_1234 , October 22, 2010 6:12 AM
    These are great cards...being for price compared to their 400 dollar counterpart.
  • 24 Hide
    buzznut , October 22, 2010 6:13 AM
    very smart to release a card that can compete with the GTX460. Looks like a win for AMD.
Display more comments