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Review AMD Radeon HD 6870 CrossfireX: More Performance for Less

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In our first article on the HD 6870, our discussions revolved around its performance in games. The card did very good in some titles, while in some others, such as Metro 2033, we’re still not quite satisfied by the amount of frames per second produced by this card. It would, therefore, be really nice if we could multiply its processing power.

One logical way to improve performance significantly is by adding another HD 6870 and run the pair in multi-graphics configuration, which is relatively easy to do since the card has native CrossfireX support. How much additional performance can you expect from this multi-card setup anyway? We’ll get to that, but first, let’s examine the technical specs first.

Specification

AMD Radeon HD 6870 AMD Radeon HD 6850
Codename Barts XT Barts Pro
Fabrication Process 40 nm 40 nm
Transistors 1.7 Billion 1.7 Billion
Die Size 225 mm2 225 mm2
Core Clock 900 MHz 775 MHz
Stream Processors 1120 960
Texture Units 56 48
ROPs 32 32
Memory Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Memory Size 1024 MB 1024 MB
Memory Clock (effective) 4200 MHz 4000 MHz
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit
DirectX Version 11 11
Shader Model 5 5
Power Connectors 2x 6-pin 6-pin
Min Recommended Power Supply 500 Watt 500 Watt
Bus Support PCIe 2.1 x16 PCIe 2.1 x16

CrossfireX Setup

You need at least two Radeon cards for CrossfireX setup. While not required, it would be better if both cards are identical. You will also need a motherboard with two PCIe x16 slots. Crossfire support is available on Intel motherboards based on the series 5 and 4 chipset families. It is also supported by motherboards based on more recent AMD chipsets (series 8 and 7).

Connect the two Radeons using a CrossfireX Bridge placed on top of the cards.

You will also need at least a 600 Watt power supply with four, 6-pin PCIe connectors.

When both cards have been properly positioned in their slots, it’s time to install the driver software. CrossfireX will be detected and activated automatically.

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