Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 LP Review

Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Friday, December 30th, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/s/sapphire_HD_6670_LP/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

AMD's Radeon HD 6670 uses the value-oriented Turks GPU, but with 480 streaming processors, 24 texture units, 32 ROPS and a 1GB GDDR5 memory buffer, it is no lightweight contender. To be sure, the HD 6670 is not designed to push as many pixels as possible, but rather to enhance general computing via the card's support for technologies like parallel computing, Eyefinity, OpenGL 4.1 and UVD 3.0. All of these along with the card specifications allow the HD 6670 to be an extremely versatile offering that can play games at medium settings, and still have noteworthy features like expanded monitor real estate and support for full 1080p video.

The HD 6670 in the spotlight today is from Sapphire and while it sticks with the reference specifications for the GPU, the overall design has been tweaked. Most HD 6670 graphics cards currently on the market utilize a full-sized PCB which should suffice for most users, but limits its support for most small form factor cases. Not so with the Sapphire HD 6670 Low-Profile, as the smaller PCB allows this board to fit into virtually any small form factor and HTPC case. Additionally, at just $89 USD, the Sapphire HD 6670 LP also fits into nearly any budget, making it a good fit for multimedia and home theater users looking to save a few extra bucks.

Specification
Output 1 x D-Sub(VGA)
1 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI 1.4a
GPU 800 MHz Core Clock
40 nm Chip
480 x Stream Processors
Memory 1024 MB Size
128 -bit GDDR5
4000 MHz Effective
Dimension 190(L)x62(W)x23(H) mm mm Size.
Software Driver CD

The Sapphire HD 6670 LP comes packaged in a small rectangular box that has an image of the iconic AMD "Ruby" on the front and lists the main features and specifications of the card. The box is similar in design to the other Sapphire products Neoseeker has reviewed throughout 2011. Sapphire still deserves a lot of credit for using 100% recycled materials to make both the inner and outer packaging of their products.

The rear panel includes detailed descriptions of the technologies supported by the graphics card, and the various product awards Sapphire has picked up over the years. Since this graphics card supports HyperMemory, a reference table just above the awards lists the amount of HyperMemory that will be available in a system. The packaging also includes a brown inner box that houses the graphics card and accessories. In all the bundle includes a drivers and a large full-sized bracket that allows the graphics card to be installed in a standard chassis.

The Sapphire HD 6670 LP features 480 stream processors, 24 texture units, 8 ROPs and a GPU clock speed of 800Mhz. In addition, the card includes a 1GB GDDR5 frame buffer that comes clocked at 1000MHz (4Gb/sec effective) and runs on a 128-bit memory interface, giving the card a total 64GB/s of memory bandwidth. As mentioned earlier, this model supports HyperMemory, giving the card additional memory bandwidth depending on the amount of RAM available in both the system and graphics card.

Below is a table listing the amount of Hyper Memory that will be available in different systems. For instance, if you are using this 1GB model in a system with 4GB of system memory, the total HyperMemory available would be 3480MB, or 3.4GB. This feature gives the board additional power and should help it perform better than the reference models that don't feature HyperMemory support.

System
Memory
1 GB 2 GB 3 GB 4 GB
Graphics
Memory
HyperMemory HyperMemory HyperMemory HyperMemory

64 MB

320 MB

832 MB

1280 MB

1792 MB

128 MB

384 MB

896 MB

1344 MB

1856 MB

256 MB

512 MB

1024 MB

1536 MB

2048 MB

512 MB

768 MB

1280 MB

1792 MB

2304 MB

1024 MB

1280 MB

1792 MB

2304 MB

2816 MB

2048 MB

2304 MB

2816 MB

3328 MB

3840 MB

As the name suggests, the HD 6670 LP uses a low-profile design that should allow it to fit into any SFF case. The graphics card also uses a single slot thermal solution that extends across the rear and middle portions of the graphics card. Just above the heatsink is an additional heatspreader for more efficient cooling, and a connection point that allows the VGA  port to be manually removed from the PCB.

The available video outputs include an HDMI 1.4 port, VGA port, and a DVI port. This gives this model a excellent expansion options. The card also has Stereoscopic 3D support, and the HDMI port supports both HD audio/video signals and Dolby 7.1 surround sound.

Unlike most other HD 6670 cards, the video output configuration can be adjusted. By default the video options are divided into two, with the HDMI and DVI connector connected to one bracket and the VGA port connected to another. In this configuration the bracket can fit into dual slots in a SFF case. However, if only one slot is available, the VGA port can be completely removed, leaving just the HDMI and DVI ports. Sapphire has also included a full sized bracket for anyone using this graphics card in a standard sized case.

Hardware Configuration:

Drivers:

Benchmarks DX11:

Test Settings:

Usage:

Specifications:

(Note: All models might not be included in this review. The table below is to be used for comparison purposes)
AMD Specifications
Model
Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 LP
AMD Radeon HD 5830 AMD Radeon HD 5870 AMD Radeon HD 6950 AMD Radeon HD 6970
Processing Cores
480 1120 1600 1408 1536
Core Clock
800MHz 800MHz 850MHz 800MHz 880MHz
Memory Clock
1000MHz 1150MHz 1200MHz 1250MHz 1375MHz
Memory Interface
128-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Type
1GB GDDR5 1GB GDDR5 1GB GDDR5 2GB GDDR5 2GB GDDR5
Fabrication Process
40nm 40nm 40nm 40nm 40nm
NVIDIA Specifications
Model
Nvidia GTX 460 Nvidia GTX 470 Nvidia GTX 480 Nvidia GTX 570 Nvidia GTX 580
Processing Cores
336 448 480 480 512
Core Clock
675MHz 607MHz 700MHz 742MHz 782MHz
Memory Clock
1100MHz 837MHz 924MHz 1250MHz 1002MHz
Memory Interface
256-bit 128-bit 320-bit 320-bit 384-bit
Memory Type
1GB GDDR5 1.25GB GDDR5 1.5GB GDDR5 1.25GB GDDR5 1.5GB GDDR5
Fabrication Process
40nm 40nm 40nm 40nm 40nm

Futuremark's latest 3DMark 11 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 DirectX 11 features including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.

For an entry level graphics card the Sapphire HD 6670 does well. However, all the other models feature stronger internal specifications, so Sapphire's HD 6670 is left at the bottom of our charts.

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 other cards in our testbed demonstrated stronger scaling in Unigine 2.5, but with only 480 streaming processors the Sapphire HD 6670 LP still did pretty well to reach 14FPS at 1680x1050, especially considering the x4 AA and x16 AF settings we used.

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.

Aliens vs. Predator shows the same story. The HD 6670 was just not able to reach a comfortable frame rate at or above 1680x1050. However, the card can more easily play most games above 30FPS if settings are reduced to medium.

Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to the smash hit, Batman: Arkham Asylum. The game was created with the Unreal 3 Engine, and includes areas with extreme tessellation, high res textures and dynamic lighting. Batman, also includes native support for PhysX and is also optimized for Nvidia 3DVision technology.

Here Sapphire's HD 6670 LP continues to demonstrate the same level of perfomance we have been seeing thus far.

Battlefield 3 is designed to deliver unmatched visual quality by including large scale environments, massive destruction, dynamic shadows. Additionally, BF 3 also includes character animation via ANT technology, which is also being utilized in the EA Sports franchise. All of this is definitely going to push any system its threshold, and is the reason so many gamers around the world are currently asking if their current system is up to the task.

Unlike the other games we benchmark, the performance of Battlefield 3 is tested during online game play. We ensure our results are accurate by running through each resolution four times before averaging the results.

The Sapphire HD 6670 was able to run Battlefeld 3 up to 20FPS at 1680x1050. That's pretty damn impresive for a graphics card that costs less than $100.

Crysis 2 is a first-person shooter developed by Crytek and is built on the CryEngine 3 engine. While the game was lacking in graphical fidelity upon its release, Crytek has since added feature such as D11 and high quality textures. This improved the in-game visuals substantially, which in turn pushes even high-end hardware to the max.

For a low-end graphics card to achieve nearly 20FPS in Crysis 2 with high-res textures enabled is actually quite impressive. So even while this graphics card is better geared toward playing games at low to medium settings, it is still putting up a relatively decent fight at the highest settings compared to the intended competition.

DiRT 3 is the third installment in the DiRT series and like it's predecessor incorporates 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.

Again, the HD 6670 LP couldn't reach 30FPS, but this is to be expected. Upper single digit framerates is about the best the card can hope for when the resolution is set around 2560x1600.

Metro 2033 puts you right in the middle of post apocalyptic Moscow, battling Mutants, rivals and ratio-active fallout. The game is very graphics intensive and utilizes DX11 technology, making it a good measure of how the latest generation of graphics cards perform under the latest standard.

The card did not remain completely stutter-free in any of the tested resolutions for Metro 2033, but at 1680x1050 our run through of the game was smooth enough to not annoy most gamers.

Total War: Shogun 2 is a game that creates a unique gameplay experience by combining both real-time and turn-based strategy. The game is set in 16th-century feudal Japan and gives the player control of a warlord battling various rival factions. Total War: Shogun 2 is the first in the series to feature DX11 technologies to enhance the look of the game, but with massive on-screen battles it can stress even the highest-end graphics cards.

Here the Sapphire HD 6670 LP demonstrated performance similar to the previous tests. However, much like we observed in Metro 2033, the in-game run was mostly smooth at 1680x1050.

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

The Sapphire HD 6670 LP's single slot thermal solution performed well. The LP tends to have a higher idle temperature than average, but at load it still only reached 76°C, well under the GPU's threshold.

Power Consumption:

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 power requirements for the HD 6670 are extremely low. In our system the Sapphire HD 6670 LP topped off at 174W, which is well below any of the other graphics cards in our testbed.

We weren’t expecting the Sapphire HD 6670 LP to take the lead when it came to gaming performance, so it came as no surprise that it trailed behind the other graphics cards we pit it against. However, the HD 6670 is around $40 to $50 cheaper than even NVIDIA's GeForce GTS 450, so it is definitetly the most cost effective graphics card out of the bunch. In addition, the Sapphire HD 6670 comes loaded with features including, dual-stream HD video playback, app acceleration, UVD 3.0 support, and it also has a lower power rating than any other card in the Neoseeker testbed. So when looking at the HD 6670 as a whole, it's still a good graphics card that can easily handle standard computing tasks while also playing DX11 games at low to medium settings.

What really makes the HD 6670 LP stand out though is the low profile design. This gives the graphics card a small foot print, allowing it to fit into virtually any small form factor case which is a very good thing for the HTPC and multi-media markets. Sapphire achieved this not only by using a low profile PCB, but by also using dual brackets for the video out ports which allows the connector configuration to be adjusted to fit the needs of individual small form factor cases. Additionally, at $89 USD the Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 LP is a relatively cheap graphics card that's small in size but still offers plenty of bang for the buck..

While the HD 6670 is not the strongest graphics card on the market, its ability to easily playback HD video, run games at medium settings and still have a low power envelope make it a great choice for multiple markets. However, the Sapphire HD 6670 LP is able to offer all of this at a much smaller PCB size, making it ideal for anyone using a smaller case.

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