The last quarter is one of the two times in a year when the GPU scenario looks very interesting—it’s when AMD launches their next generation of GPUs. The other is towards the end of first quarter when Nvidia spruces up the competition with their new lineup. The Radeon HD 5000 series met with good success.
The HD 6000 took off with the launch of HD 6870 and HD 6850. Going by AMD’s nomenclature, 6870 should be the most powerful single GPU followed by the 6850. But surprisingly it is not so. These are mid-range GPUs which fall behind the 5870 and 5850. The manufacturing process of the new GPUs remains the same at 40nm but there has been a 23 percent shrink in die size due to which the number of stream processors has been cut down. The HD 6870 has 1120 stream processors (30 percent lesser than HD 5870) and runs at 900 MHz. The GDDR5 memory tied to a 256-bit wide bus runs at 1.05 GHz which is 150 Hz slower than on HD 5870. The HD 6850 is leaner with 960 stream processors (33 percent lesser than HD 5850) and runs at 775 MHz.The memory speed remains unchanged at 1 GHz.
Other changes in the HD 6000 include an improved tessellation engine that performs significantly better at lower tessellation factors, better anti-aliasing, UVD 3, HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.2. UVD 3 supports hardware acceleration for Blu-ray 3D, MPEG-2, and DivX and XviD codecs. A notable feature of DisplayPort 1.2 is that a single port can drive multiple displays (up to four full HD displays) by means of daisy-chaining monitors or using a media streaming (MST) hub.
Meet the Asus EAH6870 and EAH6850 Direct CU
The EAH6870 uses AMD’s reference design which is more or less similar to that of the HD 5870 with an intake fan that cools the heatsink with copper pipes running through. The cooler is enclosed in a plastic shroud that creates a chamber for the air to move through the fins and expel from the rear and a few vents on the side.The rear panel of the EAH6870 sports a two DVI ports, two mini Display Port and an HDMI port.
The EAH6850 Direct CU breathes more freely with a custom cooler comprising a heatsink with two 8 mm thick copper heat pipes and a 75 mm fan fitted at the center. It’s not completely enclosed like in case of the reference design but the heatsink is covered by a plastic panel that facilitates airflow and prevents dust from creeping in. The rear panel is less elaborate than that of the EAH6870 with two DVI ports, a DisplayPort and an HDMI port.The core speed of both, the EAH6870 and EAH6850,run 15 MHz faster, but the memory runs at stock speed.
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