The new Radeon HD 6870 is a very interesting video card. Against the GeForce GTX 465 it is a no-brainer: it was between 7% and 40% faster than its main competitor. However, as explained in the introduction, the Radeon HD 6870 has two indirect competitors, the GeForce GTX 460 with 1 GB and the Radeon HD 5850.
Against the GeForce GTX 460 with 1 GB, we saw the Radeon HD 6870 achieving the same performance level or being faster (up to 28%) in practically all games and simulations. The only game that we saw an advantage for the GTX 460 with 1 GB was on Far Cry 2 at 1680 x 1050, where it was 4% faster. At 1920 x 1200, however, both cards achieved the same performance level, and at 2560 x 1600 the Radeon HD 6870 was 7% faster.
Against the Radeon HD 5850, the new Radeon HD 6870 was faster in most games (up to 19%), with both achieving the same performance on Call of Duty 4 and Alien vs. Predator.
Since the Radeon HD 6870 is in the same price range as the Radeon HD 5850, we think the new Radeon HD 6870 is now “the” video card if you have around USD 250 to spend on a video card: in the worst case scenario you will have the same performance as a Radeon HD 5850 and, in the best case, you will improve your gaming performance by up to 19%. In other words, if you were thinking on buying a Radeon HD 5850, please switch to the new Radeon HD 6870!