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XFX Radeon HD 6870 Black Edition Review

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With the HD 6870 Black Edition, XFX set out to make the beastliest card the 6870 spec could call for. With this dual fan edition, XFX not only carries out that goal, but tacks on silent operation with extremely impressive temperatures as well! Combine this with the Black Edition name, its usual classy, refined packaging, and some pretty awesome power efficiency for the clock speeds and I am looking at one heck of a card! Normally, cards with these kinds of benefits over stock solutions cost way more than their counterparts putting them out of reach for all but the extreme enthusiasts. Not so with the XFX Radeon HD Black Edition; this card can be found for a measly $20-$30 more than the stock 6870s are going for. Is $30 a fair price for a card of the very top binning, a dual fan heat sink, and an excellent warranty? It is in my book, that’s a no brainer!

In testing, the 6870 Black Edition routinely beat out the stock flavor with its factory overclock which is great, but expected. What is not expected, however, is the ability for this card to clock all the way above OCC's Core Clock speed comparisons with stability and not even need a voltage tweak. Overclocking this card was a complete blast, and being able to do all the things I can do with my 5870 at the same speeds while using less power, at a lower temperature, and with much lower noise levels while at those speeds visualized the concept of total refinement for me. Label me impressed.

As if the performance of this card on its own isn’t enough, the card of course supports all kinds of Eyefinity setups in both 2D and 3D configurations. The best way to get a full experience in that case would be to throw another card in to go Crossfire. I love that feature of AMD's Crossfire Technology. That you can throw any two cards within the same series together and see a respective boost in performance. This is much more convenient than NVIDIA’s SLI requirement of an identical card. Although this is not a unique benefit amongst the Black Edition’s peers, it is definitely something to be considered when preparing to purchase new parts and thus it is worth mentioning here. The only complaint I have has its fault split between XFX and AMD. Eyefinity relies very heavily on the DisplayPort interface, and while it’s very technologically superior and has been out on graphics cards for years now, the interface still has not caught on with the mainstream monitor market en masse and is not easily/conveniently backwards compatible with older standards. This fact is worsened by the fact that no adapters are included with the card to convert to DVI, VGA, or HDMI. With the inclusion of two DVI ports and an HDMI port on the card itself, however, you will not even think about this issue until you decide to jump for an Eyefinity configuration, and if you’re looking into that, a few bucks on adapters is pocket change next to all those monitors and cables.

With that said, I am incredibly impressed with this card. XFX has hit the perfect balance here, and has done so with class and refinement for what it’s worth. I would not hesitate to recommend this card to anyone as it is extremely well balanced with an excellent support team behind it, a lot of headroom in front of it, and a whole lot of performance loving in every situation for anyone who makes the jump. The performance is right, the price is right, and the adapters are on eBay or at your local computer retailer: Go buy this card.



  • Great Cooling
  • Tons of Overclocking Headroom
  • Great Stock Performance
  • Power Efficiency
  • Noise Level
  • Bin Quality
  • Eyefinity Support
  • CrossfireX



  • No Mini-DisplayPort Adapters Included
Editors' Choice

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Aliens vs Predator
  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: Battlefield Bad Company 2
  12. Testing: 3DMark 11
  13. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  14. Testing: Temperatures
  15. Testing: Power Consumption
  16. Conclusion
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