We recently explored Sapphire's FleX edition of the new HD 6770, a black sheep in the new Northern Islands family still running on a Juniper-based core. Though it has a great value, the true entry-level cards for the 6xxx series are the 6450, 6570, and the 6670. Today we'll be sitting down with the latter of the three, to see if Sapphire adds a little extra value to the package.
Product Name: Radeon HD 6670 Ultimate
Review Sample Provided by: Sapphire
|Output||1 x Dual-Link DVI|
1 x HDMI 1.4a
1 x DisplayPort
|GPU||800 MHz Core Clock|
40 nm Chip
480 x Stream Processors
|Memory||1024 MB Size|
128 -bit GDDR5
4000 MHz Effective
|Dimension||180(L)x130(W)x50(H) mm Size.|
1 x Dirt®3 Coupon
|Accessory||DVI to VGA Adapter|
Sapphire's HD6670 doesn't venture far from the reference design, with the same clock rating for the GPU and memory. The card does feature a unique heatsink design, which has swapped the fan in leiu of silence.
Being part of the Northern Island family, the card also features support for HDMI 1.4a, as well as improved UVD (Unified Video Decoder) that improves the decoding of Blu-Ray and 3D bitrates.
Sapphire has hit most of the feature that make this package unique with badges on the box: a free copy of DiRT 3, HDMI, and fanless operation. The word 'Ultimate' trumps even the product name itself, with a blue-flame effect exploding from behind. The remainder of the logos on the front stay true to AMD's recent change in branding, especially since there is no shroud on the card itself to print a logo.
The back is a little more reminiscent of Sapphire's packaging, with the trademark Sapphire-girl standing next a table of highlights and thumbnail callouts. The box face is finished with a small snippet about the company's environmental awareness, and a box of awards that still seems to be missing something...
The containing box slides out of the art sleeve like normal, and opens to reveal disc and documentation atop the card and a cardboard compartment that holds the included HDMI cable (value item #1) and HDMI-to-DVI adapter. Amongst the paperwork is also an insert with a redeem code for the recently launched DiRT3 (value item #2). The HD6670 is wrapped in an anti-static bag and tucked in a cardboard sleeve to help protect the finished heatsink fins.
Sapphire advertises the HD6670 as a silent operator, most easily achieved by excluding a fan of any kind, as we see here. Instead, this card features an open-air heatsink/heatpipe system, with attractive black fins, complete with an artistic Sapphire logo so that the 6670 isn't an eye-sore in windowed builds. This is very similar to past Sapphire Silent cards with the exception of the upgraded logo on its edge.
The shroudless design is paired with a dual-PCI slot, with an entire slot dedicated to ventilation. A vent is usually used with cards that include a shroud, to help get hot air that's trapped in between it and the card out. In this case, the ventilation is hoping to act as an exhaust from a tower's front in-take fan, which a passive card such as this is going to be banking on. Not to mention the heatsink prevent anything from being installed in the neighboring PCI slot, as doing so would create heat issues.
The other half of the PCI slot features full HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI outputs. This means that the card could be potentially used for Eyefinity, with the Active Adapter DisplayPort.
On the bright side, this in addition to a fanless build means that no power from your PSU will be needed to run the 6670; simply plug it into the motherboard and you're ready to go.
The back of the board is nothing out of the ordinary, with a little bit of heatsink overhang at the top and a nice blue PCB clearly visible.
Our Test Bench
Intel i7 930 CPU Running at 2.8 (Stock)
Gigabyte X58A-UD5 Motherboard
Patriot Sector 7 Ram Triple Channel
Seagate Constellation 2tb Hard drive
Cogage True Spirit
Cooler Master Gold Series 1200 Watt PSU
Our Testing Procedure
All of our in game performance testing was run at 1920x1080, you can see the exact settings below. Here are the details for each of our tests.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 (1920x1080 – high settings, first scene starting after the cut scene, recorded using fraps)
Call Of Duty Black Ops (1920x1080 – high settings, first scene starting after the cut scene, recorded using fraps)
Dirt 2 (1920x1080 – 4x MSAA – high settings, in-game benchmark)
Dirt 3 (192x1080 - 4xMSAA - high settings, in-game benchmark)
Mafia 2 (built-in benchmark, 1920x1080, PhysX on, high settings)
Metro 2033 DX11 test (built-in benchmark, 1920 x 1080; DirectX: DirectX 11; Quality: Very High; Antialiasing: MSAA 4X; Texture filtering: AF 4X; Advanced PhysX: Enabled; Tessellation: Enabled; DOF: Disabled)
Metro 2033 DX10 test (built-in benchmark, 1920 x 1080; DirectX: DirectX 10; Quality: Very High; Antialiasing: MSAA 4X; Texture filtering: AF 4X; Advanced PhysX: Enabled; Tessellation: Enabled; DOF: Disabled)
Total War: Shogun 2
Synthetic Benchmarks For video cards our synthetic benchmarks are limited to 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark Vantage 2011. 3DMark Vantage is run with PPU turned off with results from both the performance and high settings. In 3DMark Vantage 2011 we run both performance and extreme benchmarks.
Without a shroud, Sapphire loses a lot of real estate to create an attractive look for the HD6670 Ultimate. While fins aren't typically appealing, the all black finish, including the base of the heatsink, helps to appearance of the card, especially with the tribal logo that will peer out windowed cases. The upside to the passive cooling system is absolute silence, and the card does a good job keeping cool even when we throw the top titles at it.
The Ultimate HD6670 shows quite a range between minimum and some impressive maximum rate, which translates to a quite respectable average FPS for an entry-level card. Even at these high settings and full high-definition output, games were playable despite a few low peaks here and there; with settings tuned down a bit, you would have no problems whatsoever. The HD6670 isn't the best performing card on the market, but being a silent card that’s not the goal. This is perfect for someone who wants to play their Sims 3 at a good resolution without problems without being distracted by a noisy PC. In that situation this card would outperform everything on our charts, silent is silent.
The Radeon HD6670 Ultimate performs well for an entry-level card and will bring users into AMD's latest chipset without requiring any power from the PSU. Though this is achieved with a passive cool system, the card still remains stable under the pressure of even the most demanding titles, and is silent while doing so. Even without a shroud, Sapphire hasn't abandoned all hopes of attractiveness, as the black-finished fins and art print won't bring down the appeal of a windowed case. Though at the time of publication we don't have an MSRP, Ultimate versions in the past tend to be priced about ten or so dollars above reference design, so we are expecting about the same with the HD6670. When you consider the extra value of a full HDMI cable and a copy of DiRT3, the Radeon HD6670 Ultimate has the potential to be an amazing value. If nothing else you have a full featured card that will let you jump right in without having to worry about buying a HDMI cable or even a game to get you started. Even better is the fact that you will be able to do all of that in silence.