Review the AMD 6000 Series

Posted by Robert Dow on May 3rd 2011 | Discuss
Tags: amd gpu 3d graphics market ati pmark

AMD’S HD 6670, 6570, and 6450 (Source AMD)

Covers the low end with refresh parts for the mainstream gamer

AMD rounded out their 6000 line with the introduction of the "Turks" line of add-in boards.

AMD who was first to market with DirectX 11 AIBs points out that developers are no longer making DirectX 10 games. Even "World of WarCraft," the world's most popular PC game (12 million subscribers), is now DirectX 11. So their message to the consumer is:

It's time to upgrade to DirectX 11 now!

AMD thinks the casual gamers who bought a Radeon 5450 a couple of years ago, a fine DirectX 10 AIB, should be ready to move up to a better DirectX 11 experience, and is offering them two choices to make the move—the HD 6570, and the more powerful HD 6670. These new AIBs are not much, if at all, more expensive than the 6450 was when it was introduced. The HD 6670 and 6570 are powered by the low-end of the Northern Islands family parts, code named "Turks" (The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory consisting of two groups of tropical islands in the West Indies, the larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands.) Turks will be powering the Radeon HD 6670 and Radeon HD 6570, replacing the Redwood-based Radeon HD 5670 and Radeon HD 5570 respectively.

Comparison of AMD's mainstream and entry level AIBs
Radeon HD 6670 Radeon HD 6570 Radeon HD 6450
Architecture 40NM 40NM 40NM
Core Clock 800 MHz 650 MHz 750 MHz
Memory Clock 1 GHz 1000 900 MHz
Memory Type GDDR5 GDDR5/ DDR3 GDDR5/ DDR3
Memory 1 GB 512 512 MB
Tyical Board Power Watts 66 44 27
Stream Processors 480 480 370
Fill rate Gpixels/sec 6.4 5.2 3
Displays 4 3 3
ASP$ 99 79 55

Turks is the final member of the Northern Islands family (and the final member of the revised Evergreen family, which was based on Redwood before it). Turks incorporates the Northern Islands series' architectural enhancement and a larger number of GPU cores to give AMD a mid-cycle performance boost and take advantage of the 40nm process.

The Turks AIBs are just above the Caicos boards.

AMD’S AIB roadmap (Source: AMD)

The Radeon HD 6670, the headliner of the entry level offerings, comes in just under the $100 price point, sandwiched between the dual-slot HD 6770 and the $79 HD 6570. The HD 6670 is the highest performing single-slot solution so far in AMDs 6000 series of graphics boards. The HD 6670 is built on a 40nm process as are all the Turks GPUs, with 716 million transistors, 480 stream processors giving it a fill rate of 6.4 Gpixels/ sec.

Thru AMDs Eyefinity technology, the HD 6670 can drive up to four monitors and offers an HDMI, Display Port, DVI and VGA outs. The HD 6570 and entry level HD 6450 can both push up to three monitors each. AMD is positioning the boards to be an affordable upgrade to HPU and EPG based systems, an upgrade that offers DirectX 11 game play, GPU compute and multi-monitor solution stating at $55.

Gradually, DX 11 is becoming a requirement, as support is starting to drift into the casual and strategy gamer segment as more games such as the newest version of "World of WarCraft" become DirectX 11 capable. Developers are starting to abandon DirectX.

The HD 6670, HD 6570 and HD 6450 are capable of running games such as "Far Cry" and "Metro 2033" over 40 FPS at modest resolutions. All the AIBs are capable of running games on multiple screens and in Stereo. Through we do not see many buying these boards to stress them to that level. The Turks AIBs are better suited to for a casual gamer that appreciates the visual quality gained with DirectX 11.

They also feature "App Acceleration" that offloads the video playback to the GPU for enhanced playback, the Add-In boards will support OpenCL and DirectCompute 11.

The HD 6570 and entry level HD 6450 will be priced at $79 and $55 respectively.

The Turks AIBs are solid performers for the value segment. With GPU compute GPU, image intensive browsers and stereo 3D for games continues to grow the low-end GPU will become a necessity.

Test results

As shown in the accompanying charts, the raw performance of the HD 6670 and 6570 is clearly better than the older HD 6450 that AMD wants you to give up as you move to the new AIBs. The performance spread between the threee AIBs is pretty consistent, as the charts indicate. However, we are at a loss as to why the boards do so well in "Far Cry." We'd like to believe that AMD hasn't tuned their drivers for "Far Cry" and so we're going to keep looking into this and see what we can find.

Once again we find that the relative performance results using 3D Mark 11 closely parallels what was obtained with the individual games tests indicating that it is a fine synthetic benchmark and reliable.

However, given the MSRP of the AIBs, their power consumption, and performance, the Pmark indicates the HD 6450 is still a good AIB. But, that's based on today's ASP, which is about 10% lower than when it was introduced.

If you take out power consumption (who cares about that anyway, oil's free) the performance per dollar favors the HD 6570.

Pmark and performance per dollar don't consider the DirectX level. If you want the bene­fits of DirectX 11 features then the HD 6570 or ^670 are your best bet.

Where: Performance = the average of several tests, Price = any currency (Dollars, Euros, Yen), and Power = the AIB’s wattage under load. (Performance is measured in two ways on a graphics AIB, by frame rate (fps), or by an arbitrary score as generated by 3Dmark 11.

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