A First Look At The AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series

Every year or two, ATI/AMD and Nvidia release their newest range of graphics cards in what is always a fairly competitive battle between the two graphics cards companies.

In the previous 'round' (when the ATI Radeon HD 5000 series was released around the same time as the Nvidia GTX series), many people agreed that ATI 'won the battle' since the average 5000 series video card provided more 'bang for their buck' compared to their Nvidia GTX rivals.

And hot on the tails of its success, we started hearing leaks about the newest AMD graphics card range: the AMD Radeon HD 6000 series. And then on 21st October 2010, the two main cards of the 6000 range (the 6850 and 6870) were released for retailers to be able to order in.

Now before we get into specifics, it's worth pointing out that you may have noticed how we referred to ATI with regards to the 5000 series, but AMD when it comes to the 6000 series.

In short, this is because AMD purchased ATI a few years ago and have now completed the merge - hence AMD are taking over the ATI brand name, starting with the launch of the Radeon HD 6000 series.

Hence whilst you might hear people and websites talk about the 'ATI Radeon HD 6000 series', it's actually now the AMD series and brand. Okay, with that cleared up: onto the information about the 6000 series!

Pictures of the cards which have currently been announced are directly below, then a table with detailed specifications for each card are below those pictures:

AMD Radeon HD 6850

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Box

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Graphics Card

AMD Radeon HD 6870

AMD Radeon HD 6870 Box

AMD Radeon HD 6870 Graphics Card

AMD Radeon HD 6870 Back Of Card

AMD Radeon HD 6950

AMD Radeon HD 6950 Graphics Card

AMD Radeon HD 6970

AMD Radeon HD 6970 Graphics Card

AMD Radeon 6300 (Low-end 'Caicos' card)

AMD Radeon HD 6300 Caircos Graphics Card

AMD Radeon 6770 ('Barts XT' card)

AMD Radeon HD 6770 Barts XT Graphics Card

The Detailed Specs

Name Released Transistors (Million) Die Size (mm2) Memory (MB) GPU Core (Mhz) Bandwidth (GB/sec) Memory Type
Radeon HD 6850 October 21, 2010 1700 255 1024 775 134.4 GDDR5
Radeon HD 6870 October 21, 2010 1700 255 1024 900 134.4 GDDR5
Radeon HD 6950 December 15, 2010 2600 255 2048 800 160 GDDR5
Radeon HD 6970 December 15, 2010 2600 255 2048 880 176 GDDR5

And to put the 6850 and 6870 scores into perspective, here are their 3DMark benchmarks:

Leaked benchmarks - Radeon HD 5000 vs 6000 Compared

As can be seen, the 5830 is comparable to the 6850 and the 5850 is comparable to the 6870 (so in essence each 'class' of graphics card has been shifted up one).

For comparison purposes, these are the detailed specs of the 5000 series:

Name Released Transistors (Million) Die Size (mm2) Memory (MB) GPU Core (Mhz) Bandwidth (GB/sec) Memory Type
Radeon HD 5770 October 13, 2009 1040 170 512-1024 850 76.8 GDDR5
Radeon HD 5830 February 25, 2010 2154 334 1024 800 128 GDDR5
Radeon HD 5850 September 30, 2009 2154 334 1024-2048 725 128 GDDR5
Radeon HD 5870 September 23, 2009 2154 334 1024-2048 850 153.6 GDDR5
Radeon HD 5970 November 18, 2009 2x 2154 2x 334 1024-2048 725 2x 128 GDDR5

The question many people are asking is how does the 6000 series compare to the 5000 series? The short answer is that the 6000 series looks promising, but that it is not a massive leap forward compared to the 5000 series (as Softpedia have reported).

And of course, since AMD have changed their naming convention somewhat (i.e. the Radeon HD 6850 is more of a Radeon HD 5830 replacement, whereas the Radeon HD 6870 is more of a Radeon HD 5850 replacement), it's not really possible to compare like for like, which makes comparing the two series of graphics cards slightly more tricky.

Thanks for reading!

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