The mainstream GPU segment exists to provide a good all-around computing experience at a low price. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, it may be able to play the odd game with some settings turned up. Sometimes these cards are also used in an HTPC that could need a bit more horsepower than integrated graphics can provide.
The Radeon HD 6670 is a member of the Turks GPU family, aimed at the HTPC and mainstream discrete GPU markets. It’s a DirectX 11 card supporting Shader Model 5, DirectCompute 11, hardware accelerated tessellation, AMD’s Unified Video Decoder 3 (UVD3), and HD3D (stereoscopic 3D support for gaming and Blu-ray 3D).
Recently, SAPPHIRE sent us their Radeon HD 6670 1GB GPU. It’s essentially a reference design on a bluish-green PCB with a single fan to draw air onto the heatsink. The box contains the card, driver DVD, install instructions, and a DVI-VGA adapter.
The SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6670 1GB card retails for $96.99.
- GPU Family: Turks
- Interface: PCI Express 2.1 x16
- RAM size/type: 512MB or 1GB GDDR5
- 3D API support: DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.1
- Ports: Dual-link DVI, HDMI 1.4a, DisplayPort 1.2 (1 each)
- Core speed: 800MHz
- RAM speed: 1000MHz (4000MHz effective)
- Core config (unified shaders : texture units : render output units): 480:24:8
- RAM bus width: 128-bit
- TDP (idle/load): 12W/66W
- Supports Eyefinity, AMD HD3D, Shader Model 5.0, Enhanced Unified Video Decoder 3 (UVD3), CrossfireX
Thanks to its low power draw, the Radeon HD 6670 requires no PCI Express power connections; it is entirely powered through the slot (the PCI Express standard allows for 75W through the slot).
CrossfireX is supported, but the Radeon HD 6670 does not include a Crossfire bridge connector; CrossfireX is supported through the PCI Express slot for these cards. No bridge is required because the GPU traffic plus the overhead for CrossfireX is low enough to not saturate the PCI Express bandwidth.
GPU-Z states the idle speeds for the core and RAM are 100 and 150MHz, respectively. During GPU-intensive tasks, such as gaming, videos, or accelerated browsing under IE9 and Firefox 4, the clock speeds ramp up and down appropriately.
This comparison between the Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 and a Radeon HD 6950 is intended to show the difference between GPU classes at the same settings.
All testing was performed on our AMD test bench.
Power & Heat
At idle, the difference between the stock setup and the Radeon HD 6670 isn’t huge: 16W or about 15%. That gap gets rather large once a load is applied though, rising up to a 112W difference while running Metro 2033.
The Radeon HD 6670 stays nice and cool as well: idle temperatures are 35C (95F) and load temperatures top out at 53C (127.4F).
PCMark Vantage tests overall system performance in a variety of common tasks such as photo editing, video editing, music, gaming, communications, productivity, and security. An overall score and individual scores for each test component are provided.
3DMark Vantage is a DirectX 10 benchmark application. It provides two GPU tests, two CPU tests, and six feature tests. Tests include shadow maps, cloth simulation, ray-tracing effects, physics, pixel shaders, and parallax occlusion mapping.
3DMark 11 tests the DirectX 11 capability of a system including tessellation, compute shaders, and multithreading. It’s a pretty intense benchmark and visually stunning to boot (this is quite helpful when watching multiple runs of a benchmark).
The Radeon HD 6670 pulls some respectable numbers for all three of the FutureMark benchmarks.
DirectCompute Benchmark tests general-purpose computing on both the CPU and GPU. It uses both DirectCompute and OpenCL APIs to calculate large quantities of FFT-like data and memory transfers.
The Radeon HD 6670 should do a decent job in light or occasional GPGPU tasks.
Unigine Heaven 2.5
Unigine Heaven is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. Its amazing artwork makes heavy use of tessellation, ambient occlusion, and dynamic lighting.
The heavy use of DirectX 11 features in the Unigine Heaven benchmark really gives the Radeon HD 6670 some trouble, but a mainstream card can’t be expected to crush a benchmark like this.
Cinebench R11.5 tests rendering on both the CPU and GPU. The CPU test renders a 3D scene and utilizes all cores/threads available. The GPU test renders a complex 3D car chase scene using OpenGL.
The Cinebench test is much closer than expected. It’s not an error though. The OpenGL test was run on both cards multiple times and each time the result was consistent.
Yep, the Radeon HD 6670 can play Crysis. It can even play it at 1920×1080 with some graphic settings turned up. Whodathunkit?
Quality settings have a rather large impact on performance, while antialiasing doesn’t seem to affect much at all.
Metro 2033 is pretty rough on GPUs. At low and medium quality settings, the game is playable on the Radeon HD 6670. Anything beyond that is just too much to handle. Pretty good for a mainstream GPU.
Aliens vs Predator
At 1920×1080, Aliens vs Predator is already a bit too much to handle, even with all the options turned down.
H.A.W.X. performs extremely well on the Radeon HD 6670. Even with the resolution and antialiasing turned all the way up the game is more than playable.
H.A.W.X. 2 adds DirectX 11, but the results are similar to the original H.A.W.X.—the Radeon HD 6670 is still able to handle the highest settings and still produce a playable experience.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a real-time strategy (RTS) game, so the minimum frame rate isn’t quite as critical. Even at 1920×1080 on Ultra settings, the Radeon HD 6670 presents a playable experience.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: Arkham Asylum is another game that does well on a wide variety of hardware. The Radeon HD 6670 easily handles it even on the highest settings.
Lost Planet 2
Lost Planet 2 is able to push a card to its limits. Like Crysis, antialiasing settings don’t come into play nearly as much as the DirectX 11 feature settings. The Radeon HD 6670 isn’t able to produce a playable frame rate at our test settings.
Best Playable Settings
These are the highest settings that achieve a playable experience, meaning for all but the RTS games a minimum of 30 frames per second is required. Unfortunately not all of the games report a minimum frame rate. In those cases, the average frame rate will be used.
Lost Planet 2
33fps @ 1920×1080, 2x MSAA, Motion Blur on, Shadow detail Low, Texture Detail Low, Rendering level Middle, DX11 features low
Batman: Arkham Asylum
36fps min, 55fps avg @ 1920×1080, Very High settings, 8xAA
30fps min, 44fps avg @ 1920×1080, Mainstream, 8xFSAA
17fps min, 38fps avg @ 1680×1050, DirectX 11, Low quality, AAA Antialiasing, 4xAF, PhysX off, DOF disabled
16fps min, 33fps avg @ 1920×1080, DirectX 11, Low quality, AAA Antialiasing, 4xAF, PhysX off, DOF disabled
– The test produces a few quick dips below 30fps at the start of each run for both listed resolutions, but the rest of the time we’re up around the 38fps mark. Dropping to the lowest available resolution of 1024×768 yeilds the same kind of results. The same thing happens on the Radeon HD 6950, so it’s really not much to be concerned about.
82fps @ 1920×1080, 8xAA
H.A.W.X. 2 (DirectX 11)
34fps @ 1920×1080, 8xAA
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
11fps min, 32fps avg @ 1920×1080, Ultra settings
Since Dawn of War II is a real-time strategy game a lot more leeway is justified in frame rate. The game is playable at these settings, although if you’re dead set on having a 30+fps minimum, reducing settings to low will produce the desired results.
All three of the outputs on the SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6670 are usable. If you want to use three displays though, you’ll either need a monitor with a DisplayPort input or a converter. Eyefinity is supported, so treating your multiple display setup as a single large surface is possible.
As an everyday graphics card, the Radeon HD 6670 is great for multiple displays. Driving all three displays is a very simple thing to set up, and creating an Eyefinity group is just as simple thanks to the Catalyst Control Center. At first I had an issue with maximizing a window…it filled the entire single logical display. In my case, this meant Firefox expanded to 5040×1050. No big deal though—HydraVision (one of the included tools in the Catalyst Control Center) contains many controls to customize the behavior of window management, which quickly resolved the maximizing issue.
But what about gaming? I was surprised to see 1920×1080 playable on this card. Surely Eyefinity gaming isn’t possible. I sat in stunned silence as I was proven wrong. Three games were tested on Eyefinity: Batman: Arkham Asylum, H.A.W.X. 2, and Crysis: Warhead. All were tested at 5040×1050 at their lowest settings just to see what happens.
Batman: Arkham Asylum – 37/74/59 fps (min/max/avg)
H.A.W.X. 2: 26/48 fps (avg/max)
Crysis: Warhead: 27/48/40 fps (min/max/avg)
Yep. Eyefinity gaming is possible. My mind is blown.
The SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6670 has changed my perception of what an inexpensive GPU can do. I did not expect a card that costs about $100 to be able to play modern games at 1920×1080 and not look like a slide show, much less handle Eyefinity gaming. How wrong I was. In fact, the list of games in our suite that couldn’t handle 1920×1080 is smaller than the list of games that could. For the casual gamer or the HTPC builder the Radeon HD 6670 is an excellent choice. It’s also a great choice for someone who just needs multi-display support for a workstation.
The SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6670 is an excellent card and is awarded the Icrontic Stamp of Approval.