AMD Radeon HD 6670 & HD 6570 Review

Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/s/amd_hd_6670_6570/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

AMD has graphics cards based on the Northern Island platform in the high-end and mid-range markets, but to date they have yet to extend the new architecture into the entry-level segment. That is changing as of today with the release of the Radeon HD 6670 and HD 6570 series graphics cards. Both of these new mainstream graphics cards include robust specifications for the entry-level market with advanced features such as Eyefinity, GPU acceleration and DX11.

At $99 and $79 respectively, the HD 6670 and HD 6570 are positioned at very attractive price points, and are effectively the replacements for the current HD 5670 and HD 5570 graphics cards. To improve the performance over the previous generation, AMD has increased the number of available stream processors for both GPUs up to 480 and also adjusted the clock speeds accordingly. This gives both the new models additional performance in comparison to the 5000 series models, increasing their value.

With such a low MSRP and inclusion of most features typically found in higher-end models, the HD 6670 and HD 6570 could potentially increase the performance and feature set found in the mainstream market. Today, we will be looking at both the new cards released by AMD and gauge them according to their pricing, performance and features.

The HD 6570 is a single slot low-profile graphics card that features a small thermal solution at the back of the PCB.  Since both the new models have a TDP below 75W, they do not require an additional PCIe power connector.  The card's size makes it an ideal solution for HTPC use. In this review we are only looking at the reference model, which will be different than the cards produced by AMD's AIB partners. Each partner will adjust the card according to their own design, so the products on the shelves will differ in both size and included thermal solution.

This only applies to the outer design of the board though, as the different manufacturer's cards will feature the same specifications. For the HD 6570, this means a board using a 40nm Turks based graphics processor that includes 480 stream processors, 24 texture units and 8 ROPs. The GPU also has a clock speed of 650MHz, which gives the HD 6570 a total compute power of 724 GFLOPS.

The memory sub-system of the HD 6570 can consist of either 512MB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 900~1000MHz, or 1GB of DDR3 memory clocked at 900MHz. Regardless of the type of memory the AIB partners will choose, both cards will feature a 128-bit memory interface, but note the boards that use the DDR3 memory will have a substantially lower memory bandwidth and data rate than the GDDR5 models.

The HD 6670 also uses a low-profile design, but since this model has a higher TDP the board requires a larger thermal solution which will make the card occupy two expansion slots on motherboards. Like the HD 6570 though, this is just a reference design and the models that ultimately hit the market should have a different design. Still, we really prefer what AMD has done here, mainly for the fact that the low-profile design will still allow it to be used in small HTPC cases.

As the older sibling of the HD 6570, the HD 6670 uses the same Turks based GPU, but it is able to pack pack more power in the same die space. This is mostly done by increasing the GPU clock speed to 800MHz and including a larger 1GB GDDR5 frame buffer. Both of these account for the bulk of changes found between the two models, as the HD 6670 like the HD 6570 includes 480 stream processors, 24 texture units and 8 ROPs. While there isn't a lot of difference between the HD 6570 and HD 6670, the larger memory capacity and faster GPU clock speed will help the latter model perform better across the board.

The rear video outputs on the HD 6670 and HD 6570 include an excellent array of options for mutli-display support. The HD 6670 can support up to four monitors via Eyefinity while the HD 6570 can support up to three. This makes both these models low-cost graphics solutions that can increase everyday productivity via AMD's Eyefinity technology. In addition, both the Turks based graphics cards can support technologies such as 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D playback.

Another aspect that makes these graphics cards ideal for HTPC use is that the VGA port is connected via removable extension cable. This will allow owners of these graphics cards to remove the VGA port and attach a low-profile bracket to the board. With a smaller bracket attached, both the HD 6670 and HD 6570 will be able to fit into even the smallest form factor cases.

Hardware Configuration:

Drivers:

Our AMD graphics cards were tested using the early release of the 11.4 driver, while we are using Nvidia's 266.58 driver for testing.

Benchmarks DX11:

Benchmarks DX10:

Test Settings:

All in game benchmarks were performed at resolutions of 1280x1024, 1680x1050, 1920x1200 and 2560x1600. Vsync is disabled in the control panel, the AA is set to x2 with AF set to x8 and all the in-game settings are turned up to high.

Usage:

To gauge the power requirement and temperature of the graphics cards, MSI's Kombuster will be used. The program applies a very heavy load to the GPU and as such will push the cards beyond that of a game or benchmark. For the minimum temperature and power consumption the system will be left in an idle state for 15 minutes and for load Kombuster will be left on for 15 minutes.

 

Comparison Specifications:

 
Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate
Sapphire HD 5550 OC
ATI HD 5570
ATI HD 5450
NVIDIA GT 240
NVIDIA G 210
 
Processing cores
400
320
400
80
96
16
 
Core Clock
775MHz
650MHz
650MHz
650MHz
550MHz
589MHz
 
Memory Clock
1000MHz
1000MHz
900MHz
800MHz
800MHz
500MHz
 
Memory Interface
128-bit
128-bit
128-bit
64-bit
12-bit
64-bit
 
Memory Type
1GB GDDR5
512MB GDDR5
1GB DDR3
1GB DDR2
512MB GDDR5
512MB DDR2
 
Fabrication process
40nm
40nm
40nm
40nm
40nm
40nm

3DMark Vantage is the stunning sequel to 3DMark 06. Futuremark's benchmarking programs have always been at the center of every bragging match. The best way to show that you've got the greatest gaming rig, is to show that you've got the highest 3DMark score. Vantage does just that. It puts your system through a series of strenuous tests, and provides you with a score to brag about!

The HD 6670 and HD 6570 are able to perform better than all the other entry-level graphics cards we tested in our first benchmark.

Futuremark's latest 3DMark 2011 is designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista the benchmark includes six all new benchmark tests that make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.

The performance results in 3DMark 11 were not quite as good as the DX10-based 3DMark Vantage, but the new entry-level cards are still faster than those of the previous generation.

Unigine Heaven became very popular very fast, because it was one of the first major DirectX 11 benchmarks. It makes great use of tessellation to create a visually stunning...heaven.

The results again show the new cards performing better than the previous generation, but the overall performance increase was minimal. The results in large part are due to the memory bandwidth limitations of the HD 6670 and HD 6570.

Aliens vs Predator is a DX11 Benchmark that runs though a scene straight out of the classic 80’s movie, Aliens. Since it uses DX11, it can often be more than a graphics card can handle.

The memory bandwidth did not effect the performance in Aliens vs Predator as much as it did in our synthetic tests, and both the HD 6670 and HD 6570 performed considerably better than the cards in the 5000 series. Still, both the graphics cards had a hard time achieving a smooth frame rate even at the 1280x1024 resolution.

DiRT 2 is the sequel to Colin McRae: Dirt and it was one of the first games to incorporate DX11 features such as tessellation, accelerated high definition ambient occlusion and Full Floating point high dynamic range lighting. This makes it a perfect game to test the latest DX11 hardware.

The results in DIRT 2 are consistent with what we have been seeing thus far. It is impressive that both graphics cards managed to maintain a smooth frame rate up to 1050p.

F1 2010 is a video game based on the 2010 season of the Formula One world championship and is a mutli-console port. It was developed by Codemasters and released released in September 2010 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, with the PC version including DX11 features.

The results in F1 2010 were similar to the previous DX11 tests, but in this game both the graphics cards seemed to prefer settings at or below 1280x1024.

Batman: Arkham Aslyum mixes extraordinary visuals with great gameplay, making for an excellent benchmark. It's not a stressful as Crysis, but it can still push cards to their limits.

Batman Arkham Asylum is our first DX10 benchmark, and right off you can see the memory bandwidth is not impacting performance in the same way as our DX11 titles. This allowed both graphic cards to achieve a playable frame rate all the way up to 1920x1200.

Crysis Warhead is one of the most graphically intensive games on the mainstream market. It's graphically breathtaking, and can bring any system crashing to it's knees.

Crysis Warhead is a DX10 title that requires a massive frame butter to perform at its best, so the overall performance takes quite a hit with the HD 6670 and HD 6570. Still, for graphics cards in the sub $100 market the results are quite good.

Just Cause 2 places you in Panau, Southeast Asia as Agent Rico Rodriguez. The game is a third-person shooter that pits you against countless enemies with the opportunity for plenty of environment destruction. With explosions and gun fire galore, this game is perfect for testing out the latest hardware.

Just Cause 2 is another DX10 title that requires a substantial amount of graphics horsepower to run optimally, but in this benchmark both the HD 6670 and HD 6570 were able to perform well up to 1050p.

Temperature:

To measure core GPU temperature, MSI's Kombustor was used. The idle temperature was taken after leaving nothing running for up to 15 minutes. The load temperature was taken 15 minutes after starting Kombuster for Multi-Core graphics cards

Both the HD 6670 and HD 6570 maintained good thermal performance in both our idle and load tests, but they still ran hotter than the majority of the other cards we tested.

Power Usage:

To measure power usage, a Kill A Watt P4400 power meter was used. Note that the above numbers represent the power drain for the entire benchmarking system, not just the video cards themselves. For the 'idle' readings we measured the power drain from the desktop, with no applications running; for the 'load' situation, we took the sustained peak power drain readings at the end of a 15 minute run of  Kombuster.

The overall power consumption of the HD 6670 and HD 6570 is higher than all the other tested graphics cards, but since each card requires under 75W of juice, the total power draw is not that bad especially when compared to higher-end cards that have a TDP of 150W or above.

 

Conclusion:

At $79 and $99 respectively, the HD 6570 and HD 6670 do their jobs quite well by offering entry-level DX 11 graphics cards that can deliver at resolutions up to 1050p. In many of our benchmarks, both the graphics cards managed to maintain frame rates of around 30FPS at the 1050p resolution. However, the best performance was observed during our DX10 benchmarking due to the higher memory bandwidth requirement of DX11 games. So, while the cards can play many games at relatively higher graphical settings, they are both bound to run slower in DX11 titles.

The real value of these cards though is found not in the gaming performance, but rather in their ability to enhance everyday computing tasks. This is due to the inclusion of technologies such as Eyefinity, Accelerated Parallel Processing (formally known as Stream) and of course support for Microsoft DirectX 11. Supporting these technologies, the HD 6670 and HD 6570 both offer excellent performance when it comes to tasks such as Blu-ray playback, video editing, and internet browsing. Both cards also support Blu-ray 3D playback, which along with their low-profile makes them an ideal choice for HTPC use.

While entry level graphics cards don't draw the same attention as offerings found in the higher-end, they do give mainstream consumers an excellent and affordable option to enhance their general computing experience. In this regard, the HD 6670 and HD 6570 deliver on what they are intended for. Just don't expect to have the same gaming horsepower as graphics cards based on the Barts and Cayman graphics processors.

Along with the HD 6670 and HD 6570, AMD is also releasing a HD 6450. This model will include the same support as the graphics cards we looked at in this review, but will have reduced performance due to scaled back architecture and memory sub-system to fit a price point of around $50.

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