has officially lifted the NDA veil on its HD 6800 cards and first reviews have started to appear. Bear in mind that AMD never meant to push HD 6870 and the 6850 as high end cards, and once again, renaming made quite a fuss as the market was expecting a direct successor to the Cypress, something that will happen once AMD launches the Cayman based HD 6900 series card. Until then, Barts is here and it certainly looks good.
As a direct successor of the Juniper, HD 5700 based cards, both the HD 6850 and the HD 6870 are quite an improvement. Despite the early rumours, Barts is simply a Cypress derivative and is using the same arch 5D design, cache hierarchy and ROPs as the Cypress, but also brings some quality, feature and tessellation improvements.
AMD's Barts takes the US $200 market quite confidently but bear in mind that Nvidia still had room for slight price adjustments that actually happened yesterday. Despite the Nvidia price adjustments, both the HD 6850 and the HD 6870 are dominating the market and are either cheaper or faster than their direct competition, the GTX 460 1GB and the GTX 470 cards.
Of course, Nvidia will push its factory overclocked cards, but only until partners start to show up with their own versions of the HD 6800 series. As we wrote before, non-reference HD 6850 are just around the corner and the non-reference HD 6870 will show up eventually.The bottom line is that AMD launched two quite impressive cards as we are talking here about successors of mid-range cards that are performing close to the previous generation high-end HD 5800 series cards.
At US $179/€149.99 the HD 6850 certainly is a great alternative to GTX 460 cards and it is a matter of choice whether you want CUDA/PhysX on Nvidia or impressive display output that AMD offers. On the other hand, the HD 6870 sells at US $239.99/€199.99 and is mostly on par with its GTX 470 competition and we are quite sure that Nvidia isn't happy with the GTX 470 price as the Barts is certainly cheaper to produce.
Here are some reviews and our will be up pretty soon.
- TechPowerUp.com - Radeon HD 6870
; Radeon HD 6850