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AMD's New Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 Cards Debut

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the when-last-month's-card-just-won't-do dept.

Graphics 153

MojoKid writes "AMD has officially launched their new Radeon HD 6800 series of graphics cards and the company has managed to drive cost and power consumption out of the product, while increasing performance efficiencies in the architecture. The Radeon HD 6870 and Radeon HD 6850 are new midrange cards that offer similar performance to previous generation high-end offerings, but at significantly lower price points and with an enhanced tessellation engine for better support of next generation DX11 game engines. The cards compete well with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 470 and 460 products, besting them in some scenarios but trailing in others. Word is AMD is readying their flagship high-end Radeon 6900 family for release in Q4 as well."

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153 comments

Oh wow! New graphics cards! (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983058)

I can't wait to see these things in the store! Graphics cards are so cool. You can of course play graphics on them, but you can also do cool stuff like encryption and supercomputer type of stuff.

Man, I can't get enough of these graphics cards stories! Oh yeah!

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983112)

You must run an integrated graphics chipset... :P

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (2, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983164)

Not everyone just gets their kicks out of drooling after graphics cards. Like e.g. I've got HD 4800 and still all the games I play run perfectly well at about 60 fps at max. details. There simply is no benefit in buying yet another card.

But alas, each to their own.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (4, Interesting)

Zuriel (1760072) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983300)

I've got a 4870 and I've been eyeing these cards. Not for performance, but for power consumption. Particularly idle power consumption. I believe the 6870 uses about the same power under full load as my 4870, but 70% less at idle. Should be almost silent when I'm using Firefox and Word.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (3, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983550)

According to Wikipedia, both use about 150W under full load. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_AMD_graphics_processing_units [wikipedia.org] for a comparison table.
But at the same time, the 6870 is of course faster. So if you don't need the extra performance, what about a 6850?
Should still be an upgrade in performance, have at least the same power advantage as the 6870 at idle, and uses only 127W under load.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984354)

The 6000 series cards offer little or no performance gain over the 5000s, and are in fact slower in some games. They are really just a refinement of the 5000s rather than an upgrade. They use less power and cost less to produce while giving similar performance in most games.

I am waiting for some computing benchmarks like Folding@Home and WPA cracking. The 6000s have fewer stream processors (hence lower cost, with the performance made up by architectural changes and improved algorithms) so I have a feeling they might be significantly slower than 5000 series cards for that kind of thing.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984434)

Well, I was responding to Zuriel who considered one as replacement for his "too noisy in idle" 4870, but said he is happy with the performance.

So the 6850 would be suitable for him. Even the 5770 might work for reducing idle noise while keeping the performance level of the 4870 (but I'd prefer the 6850 over the 5770).

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (4, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984124)

From what I read at [H]ard|OCP today, the 6850 is an upgrade for a 5830 and below, while a 6870 is an upgrade for a 5850 and below.

source [hardocp.com] .

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983318)

You must not have played Final Fantasy XIV yet then. :)

(not that it's actually worth playing...)

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983342)

Not everyone just gets their kicks out of drooling after graphics cards. Like e.g. I've got HD 4800 and still all the games I play run perfectly well at about 60 fps at max. details. There simply is no benefit in buying yet another card.

But alas, each to their own.

I have a HD 4850x2 and I don't get enough FPS.

But since the prices are dropping maybe I can by myself another 4850x2 and CF them together.

GPU's are lagging behind games right now, not like the Intel CPU, when you o/c them there is no game yet to need all that power.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (2, Insightful)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983472)

Erm... You do realise that games don't scale well past two GPUs, don't you?

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983506)

Erm... You do realise that games don't scale well past two GPUs, don't you?

Depends on the drivers, the 4850x2 are so exotic there are virtual no benchmarks in CF mode for modern games. But you can get a used one for 120E now, hopefully will be well under 100E once the 6xxx series comes out. The power consumption and case space might be a problem tho.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

SirMasterboy (872152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985054)

One game that comes to mind is Starcraft 2. Even my 4.2Ghz Core i7 930 drops down to 30-40fps in games where there are several hundreds of units on the screen at once. It's not my GPU, thats a 480GTX and its under 50% utilization when this CPU bottleneck occurs.

But other than that, 4Ghz on an i7 is enough to keep any game above 60fps given enough GPU power.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983356)

Not everyone just gets their kicks out of drooling after graphics cards.

What is this, I don't even.

We're on /.

This is a place full of geeks and nerds who *should* be slobbering over the most nonsensical bits of hardware that shows up. Saying "Meh, it's just a graphics card" is going against the very essence of /.

Would you go to a car expo and go "Meh a Ferrari. My Nissan Cube gets me places fine so I don't need that."

Also FUCK the Cube. That car looks horrible. [ridelust.com]

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (4, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983442)

Meh a Ferrari

Well... yes.

I can appreciate the engineering, even be interested in test driving one, but OWNING one? Too much extra cost for too little extra value.

The same goes for graphics cards ; I have an nVidia GTS8800, which is getting pretty long in the tooth, but it plays most of the games I own pretty reasonably (could be a bit faster on Crysis, I suppose ;-) ), largely because I haven't been buying new games with heavy 3D needs recently.

Why not? Well, partly because I'm less interested in playing games as I age ; playing with ideas seems to be more interesting. Partly because the games that do appeal to me are increasingly indie titles that don't need much in the way of graphical grunt. And partly because most of the big titles that do need a powerful GPU are marred by either being a total pile of arse, an MMO game for which I don't have the time, or encumbered with such offensive DRM that I'd rather not let the box near my computer.

A platform only has value so long as it has a killer app - in the case of new GPUs, I don't have a game that I want to play, or a large set of numbers I need to crunch. I'm guessing that some time next year when Deus Ex : Human Revolution comes out, I might feel a small urge to upgrade.

I'm guessing that Slashdot attracts a substantial proportion of engineers who also see no practical reason for getting a new GPU beyond the "OOh, shiny!" factor, so I'm not surprised to see so many "Meh." responses to this article.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983716)

could be a bit faster on Crysis, I suppose ;-)

When will this joke ever die?

A little while after Duke Nukem Forever comes out!

*rimshot*

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here until Duke Nukem Forever comes out!

*rimshot*

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here until Duke Nukem Forever comes out!

*rimshot*

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here until Duke Nukem Forever comes out!

Ad nauseum (as if you weren't nauseous already)

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (5, Funny)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983858)

So you don't buy games, don't use high-end graphic cards and don't particularly see the benefits of improved performance and lower power consumption (and cost), yet admire the engineering. Congratulations, you're now an adult.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983958)

I'm just like you, I still have a GeForce 8800 GTS with 384MB memory. It runs most games very well, even Starcraft 2. I hardly see much difference between medium and ultra quality(I can only see the difference clearly with still images side by side). Medium quality is good enough and the game still has plenty of atmosphere. I might upgrade for Deux Ex: Human Revolutions when it comes, but only if it is a good game and there is a huge difference between the PC and console version.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983998)

meh. I am an engineer that solves problems. If a GPU solves that problem faster for only a few hundred dollars more, I am going to get it.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985146)

Agreed on most points but my old GTS6800 didn't hold up to Dragon Age. So it's upgrade time on March 11.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984294)

Hell I'm running an HD4650 and for games like Bioshock II, Wolfenstein, etc it cranks out the pretty as nicely as my 1600x900 max screen size will show. The sweet spot in monitors is 1600x900, and it just don't take nearly as much ooomph to drive a screen at those resolutions. Regardless I'll probably be picking either one of these or the 5xxx series come Feb when I put the liquid cooler in my PC, so I'm all for these new releases as they always cause some seriously nice chips to drop below $100, which is MY sweet spot for GPUs. Go AMD!

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

gid (5195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984602)

I picked up a 5770 a while ago, nice card and pretty quiet. My first ATI^H^H&^HAMD card actually. I mostly had to upgrade so I could drive this bigger monitor. The deciding factor in my case was what card would work with my current PSU... All NVIDIA cards were power hungry, so it kind of made it a no brainer.

Although there is one rather annoying bug, which admittedly hasn't showed up in quite a while. Every once in a while the mouse cursor would get all corrupted when shown on my secondary display--making it rather difficult to tell where the arrow is supposed to be pointing. Disabling and Re-enabling the the secondary display fixes it, or rebooting does as well.

At any rate, AMD cards definitely give more bang for the buck at the moment. And I'm a sucker for lower power/quieter cards.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

SirMasterboy (872152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33985010)

That's great it works for you, but not everyone jsut plays old games. Any new game will bring a 4870 to its knees at the highest detail settings.

Just check out the benchmarks if you don't believe me:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3987/amds-radeon-6870-6850-renewing-competition-in-the-midrange-market/6 [anandtech.com]

The 4850 is in a few tests, but you can look at the 5770 for the rest, it's quite close to the 4870.

Also, keep in mind a lot of gamers play in 1920x1200 and now 1920x1080, but even in 1680x1050, the 4870 or 5770 fails to exceed 30-40fps average in any recently game.

I've got a GTX480 and at 1920x1200 4xAA, it can be brought under 60fps in the newest games which is why some gamers have 2 of them in SLi.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

gizmod (931775) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983166)

I do tons of research before I start buying components for a new rig, especially gfx cards. Last time I checked, their erm, pretty expensive. It might be valuable to hear what the ./ crowd has to say about the new shiny x y or z before making final decisions. I read slashdot for the comments mostly anyway. In my opinion this is "News for Nerds, Stuff that matters".

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

uuddlrlrab (1617237) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983674)

Yeah, it would be interesting to see what the dotslash crowd has to say. Wonder if it'd be anything similar to what the /. crowd has to say.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984010)

I dunno, the ./ crowd seems to follow me wherever I go. It's almost like they represent my current location.

Where is your sense of adventure? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983732)

*start sarcastic attempt at humour*
Oh dude, you NEED one of these cards, like yesterday, man.
I pre-ordered one, stood in line last night, and today am the proud owner of one of these new shiny cards!

I'm just finishing the benchmarks now...wait a second...HAH!
Eleventy gajillion fps in Tuxracer! W00t!
And only for a $buck three-eighty!
*end sarcastic attempt at humour*

All joking aside...
I started my 'gaming' experience[semi-hardcore] around 1999-2000 with a PIII 800mHz w/ 512 MB RAM, and a nVidia TNT2-64(32 MB VRAM) AGP card.
For whatever reason, I had a lot of trouble caused by the gfx card. I switched to an ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon 7000(64 MB VRAM) and loved it.
I stuck with that setup for Battlefield 1942, and all of the expansion packs.
I had to upgrade again for Battlefield Vietnam...ATI 9550, 128 MB. When that failed 2 years later[in the meantime, I had went from Win98SE, to a PIV, 3 GHz/2 GB RAM w/Win XP Pro, and dual-booting into GNU/Linux], I replaced it with another ATI 9550 card, only this time with a whopping 256 VRAM!

By now, I had learned the drill.
Think as far ahead with the motherboard/cpu socket/RAM slots and type/expansion slots as your budget allows.
Second priority...the hard drive. %00 GB minimum nowadays.
Fill in the blanks with lower to medium price components-these can be upgraded piecemeal as your finances allow.
ALWAYS look at 'bang for the buck' for all of the above. Here YMMV, depending on your own definition of best 'bang for buck'. Different needs/desires/goals change the definition.

Now I recognise your /. UID when I hit 'preview', you are not a stupid fscker...think it through.
Currently I am running an AMD Athlonx2_64 5200 w/ 4 GB 1066 DDR2 RAM, and an ATI 5670 1 GB VRAM PCIe-16 gfx card, and dual boot Win7_64 Ultimate, and Kubuntu 10.10, and found no unsatisfactory behavior.
Keep in mind though, that I am currently frantically searching my surplus pile for a machine of PII or PIII vintage that will run Win 98SE, has hardware drivers still available, will run Connectix Virtual Game Station(Sony PS1 emulator) and Front Mission 3.
My taste in PC games is old!

Look at the 'minimum required' spec's, look at the 'recommended spec's', then form some sort of comparison/ratio.
That is all I can say, as the vodka is taking over. You know, quit while y...

Re:Where is your sense of adventure? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984158)

Think as far ahead with the motherboard/cpu socket/RAM slots and type/expansion slots as your budget allows.
Second priority...the hard drive. %00 GB minimum nowadays.
Fill in the blanks with lower to medium price components-these can be upgraded piecemeal as your finances allow.
ALWAYS look at 'bang for the buck' for all of the above. Here YMMV, depending on your own definition of best 'bang for buck'. Different needs/desires/goals change the definition.

Specifically for CPUs, I'd like to add a that a medium price CPU ("medium" defined as half the price of the fastest on the market) often offers more than 80% of the performance of said fastest part.

In GPU cards, the performance seems a bit more in proportion to the price. But even there, you tend to get more "bang for the buck" if you go for one step below the maximum performance parts. The current AMD release (yes we get back on topic ;-) is a bit special as AMD did not release the high end parts first, despite the 68xx version number.
These are more like "upper midrange" parts that count as cheaper alternative to the 58xx cards of the previous generation.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (0, Redundant)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983192)

You amd bro?

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983216)

Sarcasm appreciated. (Really, you should get yourself a sarcasm sign)

A co-worker has stated on numerous occasions that it is time for hardware makers to go on vacation for at least a year. Software is not catching up with the advances in hardware. Further, these advances are without any need. Nothing runs slowly on yesterday's hottest new thing.

Microsoft has already updated beyond any need as can be demonstrated by nearly everyone's reluctance to go beyond Windows XP. MS Office demonstrates the same point. No one wants these advancements and upgrades and it has demonstrably harmed Microsoft's image and business model.

People are now beginning to realize that they don't simply need the newest whatever there is. They didn't need Vista and don't presently need Windows 7 and certainly don't appreciate the option to stay where they are eroded away from them.

I predict similar doom on hardware makers who insist on charging even more for the next increment in polygon count. We are reaching a point where a new thing is needed. All we are doing now is updating the old things.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (3, Informative)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983250)

If you actually RTFAd, would realize this is actually an "efficiency" launch for AMD, with quite lower costs (and prices) for only slightly lower performance.

Nice rant, though.

Modest price/performance improvement in Germany... (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983574)

Looking at the specs, it seems the 6870 might be about equal to the 5850 in performance. Also, power consumption under load is the same.

Looking at the prices at alternate.de, the 6870 is about 10-20% cheaper than the the 5850. So we have a 10-20% improvement in performance/price. Better than nothing, but no spectacular improvement.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983456)

It's nice to know that you are happy with your computer. On the other hand, some of actually run CPU-bound tasks. Often. I have access to clusters to off-load very intensive ones to, but I could make good use of some faster CPUs (admittedly, I am not running super-expensive top-of-the-line hardware, but today's top-of-the-line is tomorrow's affordable).

Captcha: boycotts...

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983710)

Microsoft has already updated beyond any need as can be demonstrated by nearly everyone's reluctance to go beyond Windows XP. MS Office demonstrates the same point.

So then are you saying that you are satisfied with Microsoft's products? To quote a commercial I saw recently: "Really?"

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983922)

Further, these advances are without any need. Nothing runs slowly on yesterday's hottest new thing.

Pov-Ray runs slow on today's hottest new thing. So do various physics simulators. And just try to run a physics simulator and AI on a same machine (to do robot research without having to build actual robots)! In fact, even Dwarf Fortress [bay12games.com] , and ASCII game, still slows down occasionally!

Simply because you use a modern computer as a glorified typewriter doesn't mean that we all do.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983222)

I'm honestly not sure whether you're serious or not - it could be both.

Especially as I was thinking "why aren't these stories in the games section?". I mean who uses dedicated graphics cards, other than hardcore gamers, when nowadays all motherboards come with integrated graphics that proved you with more than enough rendering power for normal office work, web browsing and watching videos.

The only applications I can think of are games (and only the latest and most demanding ones that are not handled well enough by integrated graphics yet), and maybe some specialised CAD or so that require very high resolutions.

I can also very much imagine that the rest of us start thinking about other uses of that massive graphics computing power that is most of the times lying idle, actually just like most CPUs.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983330)

Try a decent dedicated card and you'll be amazed at how much better windows 7 runs...

Certainly the high end cards are not fully utilized unless you are playing games, but a decent mid range card runs circles around integrated graphics in normal everyday applications in my experience.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983346)

I'm running Linux, not Windows (except XP in VirtualBox for e-banking).

Makes me wonder why one would need a dedicated graphics card just for an OS. Then the OS is taking up too many resources.

In line with that: computer hardware has become hundreds if not thousands of times more powerful over the last decade or so. I still have the feeling that the software I'm running is working slower than 10 years ago.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (2, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983482)

It's because Aero uses composited textures to draw the screen, so it's reliant on GPU performance. Compiz does much the same thing, so Linux can do a similar resource-eating trick.

Turn off the pretty and Win7 will look a little plainer but run a little snappier. I still do this with WinXP, just because the Fischer-Price theme has really chunky title bars that take up extra screen estate.

I remember when graphics cards sold on their ability to accelerate 2D drawing operations to make Windows go faster...

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983644)

A little snappier!? You ever logged the number of WM_PAINT messages to the client windows when using different compositor? Aero doesn't need to send as many re-paint messages since it knows that the HWND haven't been touched, so it can just blit whatever is cached in the texture. THAT is way more efficient than application re-generating the image just because you expose a few pixels of a window, you see, applications rarely respect the RECT parameter of WMP message.

The "wasteful" part of Aero is that it does blend, which means not-so-good use of the GPU's *internal* memory bandwidth, since it's read-modify-write instead of just write. But this doesn't tax the main CPU, so in my point of view NOT using the GPU is wasting it. The hardware is there, let it do something for ya'. It drains battery faster? That's a good concern.. let's focus on that more; the snappier argument won't fly.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984152)

And yet OpenSUSE seems to do just fine with an integrated graphics card and moderate graphic effects. Just because MS screws it up doesn't mean that you can't have something that's pretty and snappy.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983604)

Try a decent dedicated card and you'll be amazed at how much better windows 7 runs...

I run Windows 7 on both my Intel powered laptop and my ATI powered desktop. The dedicated graphics does nothing for Windows 7 that the Intel one can't do just as well.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984302)

For everyday desktop usage, that may be true. I'd wager that the Radeon is non-trivially better for DirectX Video Acceleration.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984360)

The Intel one plays 1080p H.264 with no issues. CPU usage is higher, but unless you're watching task manager while watching your movies you'd never know.

It's an Intel GMA 4500MDH vs an ATI HD 5670 for those that are interested.

fantastic side effects. (1)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983256)

ok, I do some CUDA code. So watching ATI make Nvidia up their pace rocks... I like crysis for the exact same reason, I find the gameplay a bit dull, but it sure makes people buy primo video..

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (-1, Redundant)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983396)

I have a HD 4850x2 and I don't get enough FPS.

But since the prices are dropping maybe I can buy myself another 4850x2 and CF them together.

GPU's are lagging behind games right now, not like the Intel CPU, when you o/c them there is no game yet to need all that power.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983558)

Man, I can't get enough of these graphics cards stories! Oh yeah!

Just because you're not interested, it doesn't mean someone else isn't. It's like you were driving your car down a highway and you see an exit for a road that's not on your route. You might not care about that exit. But for someone who needs gas at the station on that intersection, that exit is very well timed. That doesn't mean you need to take the exit either. Unless you're just curious and you want to drive around a bit. Then you better fill up anyway because you never know where the next gas station will be.

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983658)

Would you rather have yet another story about some new stupid iPhony "app"? Seems that half of the stuff on /. these days is in some way related to Crapple. (Wasn't this supposed to be news for nerds, not news for hipsters?)

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984912)

Try playing the just-released Civilization V without a DX11 card, and you'll be signing this tune for real. I have a pretty good non-DX11 card, and its painful (for a frigging turn-based strategy game!). Pretty much every PC gamer is going to need one of these cards the next time they buy a new game.

Right now the cheapest decent DX11 cards are Nvidia's 960 series, which tend to go for $200 or so. Perhaps that's no big deal to some, but I have a family to support, so $200 is kinda painful. I've been eagerly awaiting the release of these mid-range AMD cards because the competition is guaranteed to drop the prices for the NVidia cards too.

So this is really big news for myself and just about any other PC gamer whose last name isn't "Rockafeller".

Re:Oh wow! New graphics cards! (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984944)

Oops. Meant NVidia 460. Doh!

Price (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983098)

"The Radeon HD 6870 and Radeon HD 6850 drop in at $239 and $179 MSRP, respectively. "

up to six LCDs (4, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983144)

This is what I'm interested in: [techpowerup.com] "....six display controllers offering six TMDS links. This lets users connect up to six displays to as independent display heads, or span display heads across multiple physical displays using the Eyefinity technology. The new HDMI 1.4a connector standard is made use of, which gives you support for stereoscopic 3D standards such as Blu-ray 3D, the two mini-DisplayPort 1.2 connectors support Multi-Stream technology that let you daisy-chain 3 physical displays per connector, letting you wrap up a 6-display Eyefinity array using just those two connectors."

Sounds great! Tired of selling an old monitor to buy a new one that's 2" larger and a few hundred more pixels, much rather just get a second (or third, or fourth, etc) same-sized LCD and double the pixels.

Re:up to six LCDs (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983236)

No matter what that A4-sized page still doesn't fit in a readable manner on the monitor(s)...

Re:up to six LCDs (2, Insightful)

espiesp (1251084) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983328)

Actually by the time you get into the 22+" size (non-widescreen) you can fix two A4 side-by side at 1:1 ratio. However, this isn't accounting for tool-bars and the like so my preference is a 20-22" non-widescreen or 22+ widescreen, rotated 90". I've used this in Electronic Document Imaging applications, real world, with a lot of seat time and it's a VERY workable solution. Gives plenty of room for a single A4 page with toolbars on top and side.

The one catch is that some monitors have asymetrical and or narrow vertical viewing angles which with the monitor 90 degrees rotated means that is now your horizontal viewing angle range and in worst case you can't get a clear picture out of both eyes at once. Good monitors don't have this problem and they look identical no matter the orientation.

Re:up to six LCDs (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983352)

It would be great if my desk is that big... space comes at a premium in this part of the world.

Re:up to six LCDs (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984624)

Ok, I'm curious where you are located.

Also, for about double the cost of the monitor, you can get a nice vesa mount stand that gives you the entire footprint of your desk back. It was one of those purchases that felt very silly and wasteful, to show off... and then ended up being practical and a great use of the money.

Re:up to six LCDs (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983622)

Another problem is with subpixel rendering of fonts - the rendering engines are optimised for the pixels in their horizontal configuration and it doesn't quite look right when aligned vertically.

Re:up to six LCDs (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984138)

Indeed. I tried keeping a monitor in pivot at work, but couldn't stand the rendering of text. And the viewing angles of the monitor weren't too good either, which didn't really help.

Works somewhat well if used to examine scanned documents though.

Re:up to six LCDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33984008)

Go 16:10. One of the reasons it was designed was for two A4s to fit side-by-side,

Re:up to six LCDs (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983320)

I was a bit concerned by the large variety of ports, could they all work at the same time or was I stuck using buying a not-yet-available DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport hub?

Seems this image [pcper.com] clears that question right up: two monitors are connected to DVI and 4 are connected through a hub, so I see no reason why I can't purchase two cheap DisplayPort to DVI adaptors [ebay.com] and have up to four monitors connected by the very common DVI port.

one $180 video card, one PCI-E 16x slot, 4+ LCDs. Sounds good.

Re:up to six LCDs (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984122)

I'm running three monitors now. A large central, plus two old-school 4:3 20" turned portrait, one on either side. In fact, I'm reading/posting on /. on the right portrait monitor right now. 1200 pixels is wide enough for practically every reading application, so the sides are for web, email, documents, calendar, note taking, task management, etc. My center monitor is for CAD, two page document editing, engineering analysis, and large format PDFs (architectural drawings).

It _is_ awesome, though when it's warmer in the office, the heat coming off the screens is a bit disconcerting (~300W TTD +/-).

Does not compute. (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983176)

These cards don't have nearly the computational ability I'd hoped for. Even the 5800 series is faster! Fermis are definitely faster for my applications, especially for 32-bit integer multiplication.

Re:Does not compute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983194)

They changed the naming scheme, these are supposed to be mid-range parts rather than the high-end card we've come to expect.
The HD5870's successor will be named HD6950 or something.

Re:Does not compute. (2, Informative)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983196)

The replacement of 5870 will be the 6900 series, not 6870. This is confusing as the x900 series used to be dual gpu cards, but this time it isn't.

Re:Does not compute. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983614)

There has been exactly one "x900" card and it's the 5970. Historically, the dual cards used to be called X2 like in 4870 X2 but the 5970 wasn't fully a 5870 X2 (would break the ATX spec) so they gave its own name and series. What is worse is that the 5870 is performing better than 6870 and same for 5850 and 6850. The price reduction is nice, but in all honesty they should have been named either as the 6700 series or as 6850 and 6830 respectively.

Re:Does not compute. (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983280)

Price wise, at least in sterling, the 6850 is the replacement for for 5830 @ £150 ish, and the 6870 replaces the 5850 @ £200. Mid-range cards with a moderate performance bump (and cooler and thus quieter).

As already stated, the 6900 series will be the high-end performance cards, though single gpu. Confusing, though not as bad as intel, yet!

Re:Does not compute. (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983312)

Though now I look at the price drops for fermi based nvidia cards; the 460 1GB is @ £150 and beats the 6850 handily, and the 470 @ £200 definitely out performs the 6870 at the same price. So on bang for buck, the fermi's definitely win this round! I imagine the prices will drop for the 68xx series, or they're going to take a bit of a kicking this time round.

Re:Does not compute. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984388)

It would be interesting to do a price/performance matrix for computational GPUs. At some point it has to be better to start buying more cheaper GPUs instead of one or two expensive ones. The real limit might be the availability of motherboards with multiple PCI-E slots. Even though 16x cards work in 1x slots most of them physically will not accept 16x cards.

hmmmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983220)

I thought AMD was dropping the graphics card line?

Re:hmmmm (3, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983266)

No, what you probably heard about was that they are dropping the ATI branding of the graphics cards. The cards themselves are alive and well, just AMD branded.

Re:hmmmm (1)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983286)

Nah, they just dropped the name "ATI" from their graphics cards. Previously, they released their graphics cards under the ATI brand, but I believe this release actually marks the retiring of the name.

Re:hmmmm (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984902)

Think about that one for a moment. AMD spent $5.4bn to acquire a graphics card manufacturer only to drop the graphics card line :-)

Driven Out Costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983252)

cool - they've driven out costs, so like are they free?

Re:Driven Out Costs? (2, Funny)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983738)

And they have driven out power consumption! These must be great in netbooks and the sort!

I don't get it... (1)

GeekHang (1926104) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983310)

Why would anyone pay full price to upgrade their graphics card for small improvements like the one this provides? I thought I was a nerd but these 'hardcore gamers' take their names seriously.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983334)

Hardcore gamers aren't buying these.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983344)

Nobody would, but if you have an older card and want something reasonably quite and low powered that won't break the bank while playing most current games at 1080p and above resolutions then the HD6850 and the GF 460 1GB are probably your best bets. I don't game as much as I once did so my recent upgrade went to an "underpowered" HD 5750, but mostly because it was passively cooled and hence silent not because I saved $50 vs one of those cards.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

vistapwns (1103935) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983386)

| There are 4 boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order. Starting now.

I've seen this sig of yours for years now, am I supposed to reset to 'soap box' each time I read it then? I smell a gimmick...

Re:I don't get it... (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983780)

What don't you get? If you have any 2 year old card or a low-end 1 year old card, these cards will give you a big improvement at a price that is considered "mid-range". In fact, thanks to this release you can now get for $180 (HD 6850) a bit better performance than $230 gave you up to 2 days ago (GTX 460 1GB). If you already have a good card, I guess you have to wait for next month's high-end release, but that comes with a price.
Since it is always about price/perf, all reviews correctly state that this launch was very beneficial to the consumer (look at nVidia's price drops).
Of course if you are like me and only play Civilization 5 on an otherwise HTPC (it being the only Windows machine in the house), the good ole' HD4650 is fine and will be until you want to e.g. check out a 3D blu-ray in a couple of years when 3D projectors/displays are better priced, which is when you will pick up something like an HD6650 or HD7650 for $50...

Classic Index? (-1, Offtopic)

Ezel (249772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983446)

Ok. So how do I get back to the classic index in slashdot? It has changed the last few days and I can't get it back even with the tickbox set for "Use Classic Index". :-/

Re:Classic Index? (0, Offtopic)

Ezel (249772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983468)

Sorry for the offtopic. Didn't know what I was talking about it seems. I have the classic index but the discussions where messed up.
I unchecked somthing about "Dynamic" under Discussions in the preferences (can't see exactly what since that page now doesn't look the same) and I got slashdot back to the way I wanted.

Re:Classic Index? (0, Offtopic)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983794)

Just so you don't feel like a complete idiot, the same thing happened to me :)

Also, unchecking "Dynamic" under discussions didn't work for a period after it happened. It just turned itself on again :(
But, its back to the way it should be now!

Nice card shame about the price. (1)

awjr (1248008) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983454)

Review is here [techradar.com]

And for those who don't want to rtfa, the author did a cost per fps evaluation:
"Somewhat surprisingly, it's the 5850 that trips up being the worst offender here – effectively costing you £5.06 for each frame per second on average across our tests at 1,920 x 1,080.

The new cards, the Radeon 6870 and 6850 meanwhile roll in at £4.35 and £3.86 respectively, which looks pricey compared to the GTX 460's £3.36 per fps."

Personally I was going to hold fire on the purchase of a new machine [chillblast.com] to see if these cards are worth considering, but I might as well get on with buying it with a GTX 460 configuration.

Re:Nice card shame about the price. (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983568)

FPS is over-rated. Cards are so fast now days they have to throw everything at them plus the kitchen sink just to get them down to 30fps.

Here's the 5850 still pulling off 23fps at 1920x1200 4x AA 16x Aniso [hothardware.com] running the newest game possible (released Feb 2010), Aliens vs Predator [wikipedia.org] . I'm a mild gamer and I'm even sure what the 4x AA and 16x Aniso is, does something with making it look nicer, turn them off and the fps improves significantly. If you're like me and you're stuck playing a game released way back in Nov 2009 [wikipedia.org] then enjoy 58fps [hothardware.com]

I'm more interested in the ability to run half a dozen monitors. That I'll use every day, that 23 or 58fps, maybe a few hours a week.

Re:Nice card shame about the price. (1)

awjr (1248008) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983686)

But isn't that the point. This card is aimed at the gamer who wants run 23 or 58fps for 4 hours every day and wants to make an investment that will be good enough for the next 2 years.

What the new 68 series cards indicate is that they don't cut the mustard or more precisely are expensive for what they do and that there are better cheaper cards out on the market. That is a real shame.

You are right however. I am particularly interested in is cards capable of running 3 screens.

Re:Nice card shame about the price. (5, Insightful)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984098)

This seems to be one of the worst reviews out there, looks like it comes directly from the nVidia PR department. The main reason, apart from the benchmark selection and lack of any methodology details, is that it only pits the new cards against an OC card that nVidia strategically priced yesterday and had EVGA send it to the reviewers asking for this to be the AMD competition. Also, I don't see the prices that the article uses, because even the sites that did try out the EVGA card (along with others of course, unlike this site here) stated it is competitive but did not notice a price/perf advantage.
The point is that while the OC cards vary in price and availability (since the good ones use hand picked GPU's, at their introduced price points the AMD cards have the best price/performance, and absolute performance over the regular 460 versions. In fact, all other reviewers seem to say that even at yesterday's price cuts the regular GTX 460 is a bad buy, while interestingly if you can go to the GTX 470 price that is the only point nVidia now leads.
Unless in Great Britain there is some weird pricing going on hence the article...

Power consumption and Gbps vs GB/s (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33983510)

I am at a total loss for understanding when a firm releases a new power effecient graphics card that draws 19 watts of energy continuously when doing absolutely nothing at all. Something is fundementally wrong with the industry here not just AMD.

Also what the hell is with the consistant Gbps vs GB termonology for memory bandwidth throughout the entire article. It is so totally wrong it leaves one to question their own sanity.

"4Gbps data rate or 128GB/s"

This just is not a typo...They use the same terms throughout everywhere even in the fancy graphics.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_rate_units [wikipedia.org]

Gbps = gigabits per second
GB/s = gigabytes per second

How can a lower number of Gbps equal a higher number of GB when each GB is 8 times more than the equivalent Gb?

Re:Power consumption and Gbps vs GB/s (4, Informative)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983562)

That's 4Gbps per bus line, apparently. The card has a 256bit bus, which works out at exactly 128GB/s.

I've worked for SGI, ATI, and nVidia (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983814)

I've worked on some of the most cutting-edge GPU designs on the planet, from the low-level software stack down to the design changes needed to accomodate die shrinks. After looking at the HD 6870's design, one thing is clear. It needs more cowbell.

Re:I've worked for SGI, ATI, and nVidia (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984332)

Well, the HDMI port carries audio, so that's pretty easy.

Quick highlights of this 6870 launch (2, Informative)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33983904)

1. This is a midrange; high end parts come next month
2. $239 for the 6870, $180 for the 6850
3. 5870 > 6870 > GTX 470 > 6850 > 5850 > GTX 460
4. Crossfire scaling (for those who are dual-GPU inclined) is around 90%+ in most games
5. Brand-new Anti-Aliasing filter: ATI has invented some edge-smoothing shader that looks incredible in most games and even works where in games that don't have AA or where AA would give a huge performance hit. This "morphological AA" costs almost nothing in framerate.

Not "invented", "implemented" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33984086)

ATI hasn't invented MLAA. Intel recently made it popular with a paper, but image-space anti-aliasing techniques have been aroung since at least the early 90s.

Please don't casually use the word "invented".

Status of linux drivers (3, Interesting)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984142)

Does anyone know what the status of the Linux drivers are(Both open and closed). Do I still have to buy a nvidia card if I hard to use OpenGL with Linux, or did Amd finally release drivers with performance as good as the ones on Windows?

Re:Status of linux drivers (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984662)

Guess it's been a few years for you and ATi? Since about the middle of 2007 I haven't had any real issues with ATi's closed source driver. I don't recommend the open source driver for the most recent cards (FGLRX does a much better job).

Re:Status of linux drivers (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984694)

That sounds about right. I don't switch graphics card that often :}

But is the performance for ATI's closed source drivers as good as the windows version? (And can they be installed on Fedora 13 without wasting to many hours)?.

Re:Status of linux drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33985092)

For desktop use, open-source drivers beat the official ATI drivers. There are issues with the official drivers where you get screen corruption like leftover letters when scrolling in a browser, and flicker while playing flash video in a window. The open-source drivers show a cleaner image, and are also faster. For OpenGL, wine, games, just get an NVIDIA like everyone else, the framerates with ATI are horrible.

Drivers stable yet? (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984268)

Honestly, when I can't even keep my 4870's working reliably, why would I bother shelling out any money for these things? Call me when they hire folks who can create a driver set that works without having to purge and upgrade every month or so.

[John]

Re:Drivers stable yet? (1)

moeluv (1785142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984610)

I was having that issue with the newest drivers as well. I found that rolling back to the 10.5 driver version on my 4870 fixed all the stability issues for me.

Wow (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33984652)

I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but I was kinda interested when I read that these are now uber-efficient and such. Then I open the article and both are the massive structures that I'm not sure will even clear the hard drive bays in my case, and the 6870 requires not one but TWO dedicated graphics card power leads with a 151W power draw under load.

"Efficient" just don't mean what it used to.

New AA mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33984658)

Forget the haters here, if you're an image quality freak like me, you know there are some games that simply WILL NOT use antialiasing where supersampling is the only possible option, and even then, that doesn't always work. Nvidia doesn't even support SSAA officially (though it can perform it) and performance-wise it will bring almost any card to its knees.

AMD's new Morphological AA sounds awesome, a cure-all for games where AA doesn't work properly. I'll have to see it to believe it though, can't wait to see some more screenshot comparisons.

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