How we test
|Graphics cards||Current pricing||GPU clock (MHz)||Stream processors||Shader clock (MHz)||Memory clock (MHz)||Memory bus (bits)||Graphics driver|
|HIS Radeon HD 5970 2,048MB||£430||725||1,600 x 2||725||4,000||256 x 2||Catalyst 10.10P|
|Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 1,024MB XF||£300||775||960 x 2||775||4,000||256 x 2||Catalyst 10.10P|
|Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 1,024MB||£150||775||960||775||4,000||256||Catalyst 10.10P|
|HIS Radeon HD 5870 1,024MB||£275||825||1,600||825||4,800||256||Catalyst 10.10P|
|HIS Radeon HD 6870 1,024MB||£175||900||1,120||900||4,200||256||Catalyst 10.10P|
|HIS Radeon HD 5850 1,024MB XF||£400||725||1,440 x 2||725||4,000||256 x2||Catalyst 10.10P|
|HIS Radeon HD 5850 1,024MB||£200||725||1,440||725||4,000||256||Catalyst 10.10P|
|ASUS GeForce GTX 480 1,536MB||£350||700||480||1,401||3,698||384||ForceWare 260.89|
|ASUS GeForce GTX 470 1,280MB||£200||607||448||1,215||3,348||320||ForceWare 260.89|
GeForce GTX 460 1,024MB SLI
||£300||675||336||1,350||3,600||256 x 2||ForceWare 260.89|
GeForce GTX 460 1,024MB
|EVGA GeForce GTX 460 768MB SLI||£250||675||336 x 2||1,350||3,600||192 x 2||ForceWare 260.89|
|EVGA GeForce GTX 460 768MB||£125||675||336||1,350||3,600||192||ForceWare 260.89|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition (3.33GHz, 12MB L3 cache, hexa-core, LGA1366 - Turbo Boost enabled)|
|Motherboard||ASUS P6X58D Premium|
|Memory||6GB Corsair DDR3|
|Memory timings and speed||9-9-9-24-1T @ DDR3-1,600|
|Monitor||Dell 30in 3007WFP - 2,560x1,600px|
|Disk drive(s)||Corsair Force F80 SSD|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit|
|Aliens vs. Predator||DX11, 1,680x1,050, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, 2xAA, 16xAF, very high quality.|
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2||DX9, 1,680x1,050, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, 4xAA, ultra quality, FRAPS-recorded benchmark.|
|Just Cause 2||DX10, 1,680x1,050, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, 4xAA, 16xAF, Dark Tower benchmark|
|Mafia II||DX9, 1,680x1,050, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, AA on, 16x AF, built-in benchmark|
|Unigine Heaven v2.1||DX11, 1,920x1,080, various tessellation modes|
|3DMark Vantage b1.0.2||DX10, Run at the 'high' preset and overall, GPU and Feature Test 4 scores noted|
|Temperature||To emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record GPU core temperature both when idle and whilst playing Call of Duty: MW2. And, for a worst-case scenario, we throw in numbers from the FurMark stress test.|
|Power consumption||To emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record mains power draw both when idle and whilst playing Call of Duty: MW2. And, for a worst-case scenario, we throw in numbers from the FurMark stress test.|
NotesYou'll notice that we have a total of 13 setups in this test. These exclude a number of cards in our original review. Simply put, having 20-plus cards in graphs makes it confusing.
This time around, we've included Radeon HD 5850 in CrossFire, to show you the differences between generations, as well as stock-clocked GeForce GTX 460 768MB and 1,024MB cards in SLI. Pulling it all together, the Radeon HD 5970 2,048MB makes an appearance.
Two Radeon HD 6850 cards will set you back around £300 - or £260 if you were lucky enough to buy them on launch-day from selected retailers - and that's the same outlay for a pair of GTX 460 1,024MB GPUs. These are the combination that are of most interest to us.
The introduction of the Radeon 6000-series has had an impact on Radeon HD 5870/50 pricing, by the way, which is down to £275 and £200, respectively.
We'll be looking at Radeon HD 6870 CrossFire vs. GeForce GTX 470 SLI in a separate article. For now, focus your attention on the upcoming graphs, with special attention paid to the red and green bars.