AMD HD6800 Series + Tech Day in LA

The Silent Front
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AMD's Radeon 6000 series graphics cards launch will already have unrolled en-masse on the web by the time you read this. Today is the official launch date, and at least a handful of the hundred or so tech journalists flown to LA last week and feted at AMD's expense for two nights at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza will have posted reviews of the HD 6870 and HD 6850 cards.

The LA Stock Exchange. Really.

The AMD Tech Day took place at the LA Stock Exchange Niteclub.

The LA extravaganza was AMD's biggest PR event in recent memory, with about half the hundred tech geeks writers coming from across the Atlantic and the rest from the Americas, including Latin America, with about as many AMD and partner personnel on hand to manage the event. More about that in a moment while we tackle a summary of the new cards

A quick morning search around the web coughed up this preliminary list of articles in the 6000 series launch; many more will surely appear in the next few days:

These reviews will inundate you with benchmarks and gameplay comparisons against Radeon HD 5000 series as well as competitor nVidia 400 series cards. Even if we wanted to, we could not add to the fray at the moment. Our sample cards are delayed, somwehere in transit — hopefully not lost, as the initial run of reviewer samples was limited. We leave our performance-obsessed colleagues to fill in all the details, but we can summarize simply...

HD 6870 -

  • Performance-wise, the $239 MSP HD 6870 is not quite up to the HD 5870 but above HD 5850, and the closest nVidia card is the GTX470.
  • Power at idle has been lowered, to just 19W, compared to 27W for the 5870. The TDP of 151W is much lower than the 5870's 188W and the same as the 5850. The nVidia GTX470 fares worse at both idle and load.
  • Outputs are SL+DL DVI, HDMI, and 2x mini DisplayPorts. Up to six monitors can be connected: Four via a mini DisplayPort, with a standalone hub, plus two off the DVI ports. You can hook up the more common gamer-friendly tri-monitor setup directly.
  • The $239 market price is competitive with all of the existing cards, but you will definitely see discounts.

There are five ports, but up to six monitors can be driven from a 6870 or 6850 card.

HD 6850 -

  • Performance-wise, the $180 HD 6850 is very close to the nVidia GTX460.
  • Power is modest at 19W idle and 127W peak. The idle level, especially, is excellent.
  • Same outputs as the 6870.
  • Market value at $180 is very good.

A surround-screen tri-monitor racing game experience at the AMD Tech Day in Oct 2010. This can be done with a single card.

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