AMD's Radeon HD 6800 series has been announced today and these new GPUs deliver a couple of changes. The company decided to retire the ATI brand name with the introduction of the Radeon HD 6800 series, and contrary to what many people thought the Radeon HD 6800 series is no replacement for the Radeon HD 5800 series as AMD decided to shake things up a little bit.
These Barts-based GPUs are considered the new mid-level while the true new enthusiasts level cards (Cayman) will be released next month as the Radeon HD 6900 series, with the dual-GPU "Antilles" being the performance king. The Radeon HD 5700 series becomes part of the lower-end as AMD decided to rebrand these cards to the Radeon HD 6700 series.
People who anticipated unseen performance levels will be a bit disappointed by the Radeon HD 6800 series as these new cards mainly focus on price/performance to give NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 460 a beating. Lets take a look at a couple of reviews to see how the Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 perform.
Our first stop is AnandTech, they conclude that AMD now finally has an appropriate answer to target the $200 market.
Wrapping things up, we believe this will probably go down as being the most competitive card launch of the year. AMD and NVIDIA reposition themselves against each other with every launch, but by first launching the Radeon HD 6000 series against NVIDIA’s mid-to-high range GTX 460, AMD has gone head-first in to one of NVIDIA’s most prized markets, and NVIDIA is pushing right back. If you would have told us 3 months ago that we would have been able to get GTX 460 1GB performance for $180 only a couple months later, we likely would have called you mad, and yet here we are. The competitive market is alive and then some.
HardOCP concludes pretty much the same and writes that both new products are stellar deals:
The $179 price point just got a major upgrade, a year ago you could purchase Radeon HD 5770 performance for $179. Today, AMD has just upgraded that price point with performance that reaches near the 5830 level! Any way you slice it, the current Radeon HD 6850 and Radeon HD 6870 offerings are stellar deals. Better performance, lower prices, lower power, lower temps, and just a really good gameplay experience!
Our last stop is at Legit Reviews, which also concludes that this new series offers 5800-class performance at price points lower than ever before.
The AMD Radeon HD 6870 and Radeon HD 6850 proved to be two very solid performing mainstream video cards from what we saw in our initial testing with them. These cards are officially AMD's second generation DirectX 11 video card series, which is impressive as NVIDIA still has not released all of their first generation cards yet. When AMD designed the Radeon HD 6800 'Barts' series of GPUs they wanted to have Radeon HD 5800-class performance, but optimize the GPU to lower power use and the price tag. The cards do in fact have Radeon HD 5800-class performance in general and we saw much better power efficiency from the cards.