Sapphire HD 6670 Low Profile Review

RHKCommander959 - 2011-11-17 23:06:33 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: December 22, 2011
Price: $89.99

Introduction:

Graphics card manufacturers have to develop cards to fill the needs of the masses. To generalize the groups, there are high-end, mid-range, and low-end cards. Sapphire has developed a low profile Radeon HD 6670 that should be one of the fastest low profile cards around, coming in between low- and mid-range in performance. This graphics card has been designed to be universally compatible — it supports HDMI 1.4a, Dual-Link DVI, and D-Sub VGA outputs in both low profile and standard configurations. Auxiliary power is not needed — the main requirement is just an open PCI Express x16 slot.

The Sapphire HD 6670 LP has 1GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 4000 MHz on a 128-bit memory bus. The core is built on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's 40nm node and packs in 480 stream processors operating at 800 MHz core clock speed. The only major hardware requirement for the card to be used is an open PCI Express x16 slot — with VGA, DVI, and HDMI output, the card is almost universally compatible with any somewhat current system. The card supports Microsoft DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1, so it can handle all features of the latest Windows operating systems and applications, as well as light gaming. Streaming Blu-ray and other HD content is fully supported and office/Internet applications are accelerated too! Overall, this card should fit in well with office, media, and personal computer usage decently.

 

Closer Look:

The front of the box has Ruby holding a sword, dressed in purple and white garments, similar to Sapphire's color scheme. The top left has the Sapphire logo and to the right it says “Get Radeon in your system.” The front displays some of the main features of the card — 1GB GDDR5 memory with 2.8GB of HyperMemory support, full DirectX 11 support, 1080p Full HD output, AMD HD3D capable, and HDMI with 7.1 HD surround sound compatible. Flipping the box over to the back highlights some of the main features of the card at the center, while to the left is a contents list: one Sapphire HD 6670, one driver CD, and a user manual. Under this is a guide to how much HyperMemory can be associated under Windows Vista and 7. Further down is a list of many review sites that have given awards to Sapphire products (including our very own). The sides of the box have the AMD logo and Radeon HD 6670 badges on them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom of the box specifies the product specifications and system requirements. The system requirements are somewhat generic, but include 1GB of system memory, disk drive for reading the driver disk, 400W or greater power supply, and an open PCI Express x16 slot. Everything is held within a corrugated cardboard box. Sapphire encourages consumers to recycle the packaging!

 

 

The included accessories are a case badge, driver installation CD, quick installation guide, registration pamphlet, and HyperMemory support guide. A full size bracket is also included to use this graphics card in normal systems. The VGA low profile bracket is also easily removed if the system doesn't have enough room. An antistatic bubble-wrap bag is the last line of protection for the 6670.

 

 

Time to check out the card!

Closer Look:

The Sapphire HD 6670 LP is the fastest low profile card from the AMD team right now, providing much more performance than the 6450s and a decent amount over the 6570s as well. This card packs in 480 shader processors, 1GB of GDDR5 on a 128-bit memory bus, and doesn't require auxiliary power. Switching from the low profile brackets to the standard one is quite simple with a few basic tools — a pair of pliers or a small socket can remove the four hex-head standoffs and a Phillips head screw driver can handle the rest. The card is designed to only take up one slot of space. For cooling, the card uses a copper-based heat sink and low profile, two-wired blower motor to push air toward the expansion slots. Near the output is a small heat sink mounted separately by push-pins to cool the power circuitry. The back of the card is pretty simple. Under the blower motor are three vents cut into the PCB to help bring in air from both sides of the card. Four spring-loaded screws with plastic pads hold the main heat sink to the core, and the memory is passively cooled, but could easily be cooled by the heat sink with the addition of a few thermal pads for those looking for more performance. The fan connector is at the rear of the card, but this fan does not have an RPM sensor wire. The VGA low profile bracket can be easily removed if there isn't enough space or a need for it, as it simply plugs into the pins near the smaller heat sink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When using the standard length mounting bracket, users will have to remove the hexagonal standoffs from the DVI and VGA port, and the screw from the HDMI port, then proceed by inserting the ports into the bracket and reinstalling the screw and standoffs. The bracket also has an extra screw that needs to be installed to help increase rigidity near the VGA end.

 

Removing the heat sinks reveals the major components that power this graphics card. The core is mounted at a 45° angle and four memory ICs sit near the fan vents. Four black tabs help disperse pressure from the heat sink more evenly. The core is also protected by a small black plastic shim. Near the output are four MOSFETs and two chokes that comprise the major power components that require the cooling from the smaller heat sink. The HD 6670 core has the AMD logo etched into it along with “Made in Taiwan”, as it was produced by TSMC. The memory ICs are 4x256M Hynix GDDR5 H5GQ2H24MFR-TOC.

 

 

 

Next up is the Specifications and Features page.

Specifications:

Graphics Engine
Radeon HD 6670
Bus Standard
PCI Express x16 2.0
Memory Type
1GB GDDR5
Memory Interface
128-bit
Core Clock Speed(MHz)
800
Memory Clock Speed(MHz)
4000
Fabrication Process
40nm
Stream Processors
480
DVI Output
1x Dual-Link DVI
D-SUB Output
1
HDMI-Output
1x 1.4a
DirectX Version Support
11
OpenGL Version Support
4.1
Dimension
190(L)x62(W)x23(H) mm

 

Features:

 

 

 

All Information courtesy of Sapphire

Testing:

The testing consists of running Aliens vs. Predator, Metro 2033, Sid Meier's Civilization V, Tom Clancy's HAWX 2, Lost Planet 2, Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.5, Just Cause 2, Mafia II, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, 3DMark 11 Professional, and temperature/power consumption testing. Two common resolutions are used for all the tests with medium settings and minimal AA and AF settings, but the 3DMark benchmark has three resolutions/runs. After a run through all the tests, the card is overclocked to roughly its maximum stable capabilities and then tested again. Settings stay the same for each card tested so the results can be compared. All testing is done on similar hardware running Windows 7 64-bit. The charts are all organized in terms of best to worst performance.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

 

Overclocking:

Most low profile cards will not overclock very well. The heat sinks are more compact than a full-sized card, there is less room on the PCB for better components and power phases, and so on. Without voltage control, I was able to push the core easily up to 865 MHz and the memory to 1150 MHz. The memory was unstable at 1160 MHz and would result in crashing, but the core may have had more wiggle room. The temperatures and fan noise levels were great throughout all the testing and really surprised me for the card having such a small heat sink. An 8% core and 15% memory is decent, though there may be room for improvement with thermal pads on the memory and some volt mods for more extreme overclockers! At 865/1150, the card operated perfectly stable throughout all the testing. The blower motor at 100% was audible, but not even as loud as the one on a 6970 at half speed.

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consists of looping Crysis Warhead and Unigine 2.5 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds will fail when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment fails, then the clock speeds and tests are re-run until they pass the full one hour of testing.

   

 

  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Sid Meier's Civilization V
  4. Tom Clancy's HAWX 2
  5. Lost Planet 2
  6. Unigine 2.5
  7. Just Cause 2
  8. Mafia II
  9. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  10. 3DMark 11 Professional
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

Aliens vs. Predator, developed by Rebellion Developments, is a science fiction first-person shooter and is a remake of its 1999 game. The game is based off the two popular sci fi franchises. In this game, you have the option of playing through the single player campaigns as one of three species, the Alien, the Predator, and the Human Colonial Marine. The Game uses Rebellion's Asura game engine that supports Dynamic Lighting, Shader Model 3.0, Soft Particle systems, and Physics. To test this game I will be using the Aliens vs. Predator benchmark tool with the settings listed below. All DirectX 11 features are enabled.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

With Aliens vs. Predator, the overclocked 6670 was able to perform close to a stock 6750!

Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA PhysX and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied — in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses — chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

Higher = Better

 

The 6670s all stick closely together in Metro 2033. Overclocking didn't help much and the performance difference between these and the 6750 is more significant.

Testing:

Civilization V is a turn based strategy game. The premise is to play as one of 18 civilizations and lead the civilization from the "dawn of man" up to the space age. This latest iteration of the Civilization series uses a new game engine and massive changes to the way the AI is used throughout the game. Civilization V is developed by Firaxis Games and is published by 2K games and was released for Windows in September of 2010. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps through a series of five turns,150 turns into the game.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Civilization V ran great on all the cards tested. The 6670s all huddled together, but came close to the performance of the 6750 at 1680x1050 stock.

Testing:

H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight game and is the sequel to H.A.W.X.. The Game is published by Ubisoft and was released in late 2010.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

HAWX 2 has the 6670s coming close to and tying with the 6750 in certain resolutions. Even at 1920x1200, the average frame rates were high.

Testing:

Published by Capcom, Lost Planet 2 is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and uses the MT Framework 2.0 engine. The storyline takes place on the fictional planet E.D.N. III some 10 years after the events of the first game. This time, the snow cover is gone and has been replaced by a tropical landscape. With this new rendition of the game comes the ability to run it using either DirectX 9 or 11. Along with this ability comes the chance to use that new DX 11 hardware to effect. DX11 features in this game include tessellation, displacement mapping on water, bosses and player characters, soft body compute shaders on “Boss” characters, and wave simulation by way of DirectCompute. This gives you smoke that is lifelike and reacts to inputs, water that looks and reacts how you would expect it to in a "real life" situation, and "Boss" characters rendered with more depth and detail. If the latest graphics quality settings are not enough, NVIDIA has included support behind this game for both 3D Vision and 3D Vision Surround, which gives you 3D effects over multiple screens. There is no better way to see how a game will perform than to test it out. Capcom has made this easy with a downloadable benchmark that we will be using to test out a cross section of today's currently available performance video cards.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Frame rates were low for all the cards with Lost Planet 2. Overclocking the 6670s brought them close to stock 6750 performance at 1680x1050.

Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.5 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. This was the first DX 11 benchmark out to allow testing of DX 11 features. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes — Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Performance stays similar between the three 6670s. All three have the same stock clock speed and overclocked very similarly too. The low profile version hasn't sacrificed performance.

Testing:

Just Cause 2 is a third-person shooter that takes place on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. In this sequel to 2006's Just Cause, you return as Agent Rico Rodriguez to overthrow an evil dictator and confront your former boss. When you don't feel like following the main story line, you're free to roam the island, pulling off crazy stunts and causing massive destruction in your wake, all beautifully rendered by the Avalanche Engine 2.0. In the end, that's what the game basically boils down to — crazy stunts and blowing things up. In fact, blowing things up and wreaking havoc is actually necessary to unlock new missions and items.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Just Cause 2 showed solid gains from overclocking and the frame rates were playable too. However, there is still a decent gap between the 6670s and 6750.

Testing:

Mafia II is a third-person shooter that puts you into the shoes of a poor, Sicilian immigrant, Vito Scarletta. Vito has just returned home from serving overseas in the liberation of fascist Italy — to avoid serving his jail sentence — to find his family in debt. The debt must be repaid by the end of the week, and his childhood friend, Joe Barbaro, conveniently happens to have questionable connections that he assures will help Vito clear the debt by that time. As such, Vito is sucked into a world of quick cash. Released in North America for PC in August of 2010, the game was developed by 2K Czech published by 2K and uses the Illusion 1.3 game engine.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Mafia II continues the trend that has been set — the 6670s stay grouped together because they all share the same stock speeds and overclocked very similarly.

Testing:

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a first-person shooter developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts for Windows, PS3 and XBox. This game is part of the Battlefield franchise and uses the Frostbite 1.5 Engine, allowing for destructible environments. You can play the single player campaign or multiplayer with five different game modes. Released in March 2010, it has so far sold in excess of six million copies.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Bad Company 2 was very playable even with the 6670 at stock. Overclocking definitely helped it, causing it to perform near the 6750.

Testing:

3DMark 11 is the next installment for Futuremark in the 3DMark series with Vantage as its predecessor. The name implies that this benchmark is for Microsoft DirectX 11 and with an unintended coincidence, the name matches the upcoming date in number (which was the naming scheme to some prior versions of 3DMark nonetheless). 3DMark 11 is designed solely for DirectX 11 so Windows Vista or 7 are required along with a DirectX 11 graphics card in order to run this test. The Basic Edition has unlimited free tests on performance mode whereas Vantage only allowed for a single test run. The advanced edition costs $19.95 and unlocks nearly all of the features of the benchmark and the professional edition runs $995.00 and is mainly suited for corporate use. The new benchmark contains six tests, four of which are aimed only at graphical testing, one to test for physics handling and one to combine graphics and physics testing together. The open source Bullet Physics library is used for physics simulations and although not as mainstream as Havok or PhysX, it still seems to be a popular choice.

With the new benchmark comes two new demos that can be watched, both based on the tests but unlike the tests, these contain basic audio. The first demo is titled "Deep Sea" and have a few vessels exploring what looks to be a sunken U-Boat. The second demo is titled "High Temple" and is similar to South American tribal ruins with statues and the occasional vehicle around. The demos are simple in that they have no story, they are really just a demonstration of what the testing will be like. The vehicles have the logos of the sponsors MSI and Antec on their sides with the sponsorships helping to make the basic edition free. The four graphics tests are slight variants of the demos. I will use the three benchmark test preset levels to test the performance of each card. The presets are used as they are comparable to what can be run with the free version so that results can be compared across more than just a custom set of test parameters.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

3DMark 11 scores are low across the board for the 6670s, but the card did respond to overclocking decently.

Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Crysis Warhead with MSI's Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920 x 1200 using 8xAA. I will use a 10-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will be a 20-minute cool down with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running the overclocked idle and load testing.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

Lower = Better

Idle temperatures were some of the best out of all the cards. At load stock, the fan doesn't ramp up very quickly so the temperature climbed up to 69 °C. The card was very quiet though and that temperature is plenty safe. With the fan operating at 100%, the load temperature was near the head of the pack.

Testing:

Power Consumption of the system will be measured in both idle states and loaded states and will take into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use the Crysis Warhead benchmark demo to load the GPU for a 15-minute test and use the peak load of the system as my result for the maximum load. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

Lower = Better

 

Maximum power consumption was 238W loaded with Crysis Warhead, while idle power consumption was around 150W. Both are extremely low numbers, especially on an overclocked i7 system.

Conclusion:

The Sapphire HD 6670 provided a decent entry level gaming experience, while also being able to handle all office and media usage effortlessly. As long as maximum quality settings aren't desired, then this card will game just fine. Operating noise was surprisingly low and the temperatures were great! Overclocking was consistent with full-sized 6670s, with a gain of about 8% core and 15% memory. The packaging was perfect and included all the main peripherals needed.

There really are no cons for the Sapphire HD 6670 LP! Some users might get annoyed at having to change from the low profile brackets to the standard, but the task is simple so it isn't a problem as long as you can use a screw driver and a pair of pliers.

The 6670 performed quietly and with great temperatures, was able to handle high definition movies and media usage, browse the Internet and run office applications easily, and even game nicely as long as proper settings were used! All the while, power consumption was very low. If low profile is desired, then this is the way to go. Otherwise, more powerful cards can be had for similar prices. This card would fit in well with small form factor PCs, HTPCs, office computers, casual gaming rigs, and other similar setups!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: