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PowerColor Radeon HD 6870 PCS+ Call Of Duty Edition Review



Testing of the non reference build PowerColor HD 6870 PCS+ will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where it falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea of how the cards perform relative to one another.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel with the GeForce video cards. I will test the card at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. The drivers used in this test will be the 10.10 Catalyst drivers for AMD and the 260.89 Forceware drivers from NVIDIA for all cards except the GTX 580. Tests will be conducted at both stock and overclocked settings to gauge performance when an increase in clock speed is applied. There is a change in how our graphs are now setup, with the card being tested highlighted in RED for AMD Radeon products and GREEN for NVIDIA based video cards. As our tests are very comprehensive, we hope this makes it a little bit easier to pick them out of the crowd. The cards are placed in order from highest to lowest performing.


Comparison Video Cards:



  • PowerColor HD 6870 PCS+  1003/1208MHz

The HD 6870 PCS+ from PowerColor is a factory overclocked card that runs at default clock speeds of 940MHz on the core and 1100MHz (4400 QDR) on the GDDR5 memory. So far over the course of testing seven Barts core based AMD video cards, the maximum fully stable clock speeds have all been just over the 1GHz mark when adjusting the core voltage. These are stable clocks and not just a quick run through a lightly loaded 3DMark 06 run. The PowerColor HD 6870 PCS+ falls right into this envelope at 1003MHz, or 63 MHz over the as delivered clock speed on the core. The memory on this series has seemed to fall into a specific clock speed envelope right around the 1200MHz mark, with this card jumping in at 1208MHz. These gains are roughly 6.5% on the core and just under 10% on the GDDR5 memory. To reach these goals I used MSI's popular overclocking utility, Afterburner version 2.1.0 Beta 4. The fan speed was set to the maximum level of 100% for the overclocked testing to give the best cooling performance while overclocking. This card is easily much quieter than the reference solution that sounded like a howling banshee when the fan speed was cranked up.


Maximum Clock Speeds:

In the past I had used MSI's Kombuster utility to check for stability coupled with the ability to run through the entire test suite. I have found that some game tests still would fail with this utility so I have moved to testing with several games at maximum settings through several resolutions to verify the clock speeds that are listed below. Why the change? I have found some cards will play fine at a 4xAA setting but fail when using 8xAA due to the increased graphics load. If it fails then the clock speeds and tests are rerun until they pass.



  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
  7. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  8. Resident Evil 5
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: The Video Card
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Far Cry 2
  6. Testing: Metro 2033
  7. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  8. Testing: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  9. Testing: Just Cause 2
  10. Testing: Unigine 2.1
  11. Testing: Batman Arkham Asylum
  12. Testing: Resident Evil 5
  13. Testing: 3DMark 06
  14. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  15. Testing: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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