Conclusion: A Good HTPC Option, But A High MSRP
In our final analysis, let’s consider average gaming performance across our benchmark suite at 1680x1050, the most common resolution for this class of card:
The Radeon HD 6670 performs a little better than AMD's 5670, and the GDDR5-equipped 6570 performs a little worse.
At the bottom of the stack, we see AMD's Radeon HD 5570 DDR3. For $60 online, this is a good baseline gaming card capable of handling 1280x1024 and sometimes 1680x1050, so long as detail settings are lowered. The GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 performs about 20% faster, but it's priced in the $80 range. That's about the same as the Radeon HD 5670—a card that doubles its performance increase. The only card in this review limited to DirectX 10, the GeForce GT 240 doesn’t have much going for it.
Next up is the new Radeon HD 6570. Equipped with GDDR5, it’s not quite as fast as the Radeon HD 5670. However, its $79 MSRP is very similar to the 5670’s online retail pricing. You could argue that the Radeon HD 6570 GDDR5 has better overclocking potential, but we can't be sure until we get our hands on actual retail samples, rather than cherry-picked reference cards. In any case, the older Radeon HD 5670 remains a viable option at $80. It's certainly not obsolete yet.
Although we didn't have one to test, a 512 MB DDR3-equipped Radeon HD 6570 could be a more interesting card. Frankly, we’re not sure that the GDDR5-equipped 6570 will have a significant retail presence, since manufacturers have been free to make a GDDR5 version of the 5570, but continue to keep it saddled with slower DDR3 memory. The Radeon HD 6570 could end up in the same situation, though only time will tell. A 512 MB DDR3-based card might not have shown better than the Radeon HD 5570 in game benchmarks, but at a lower price point, it would make a very compelling option for HTPCs. Assuming it can handle HD video in the same manner as the cards we've tested (and we all know what assumptions do), a Radeon HD 6570 with DDR3 could introduce compelling video playback for less than $80. That remains a guess until we see proof otherwise.
How about the premium Turks-based model, Radeon HD 6670? Performance is better than the Radeon HD 5670 to be sure. But the $99 MSRP is terribly close to the street price of powerful options like Radeon HD 5750 and GeForce GTS 450 (a card we've seen as low as $100 over the past few weeks). Prior to publishing, the cheapest GTS 450 we can find is $115. That just goes to show how volatile the graphics card market really is. A $99 Radeon HD 6670 is simply too expensive, particulalrly with the Radeon HD 5750 and GeForce GTS 450 priced a few dollars more.
Over time, the street price of AMD's Radeon HD 6670 will go down to the $80 level where it belongs, replacing the Radeon HD 5670. Remember, its MSRP was $99 at launch, too. For the latest in pricing, be sure to check our monthly Best Graphics Card For The Money column.