With so many GPUs available these days, it can be hard to know what's what. This week we're explaining what to look for in a graphics card and assessing five of the best models on the market.
Same GPU, same performance, different price. Sapphire's Radeon HD 6870 gets you excellent results for less outlay.
We could have limited this GPU roundup to just the newer breeds of chips, covering multiple variants of cards based on the same GPUs. But that would have been extremely boring, and this card shows why. It's the only video card in our roundup to use an identical GPU to another card, and as a result, performs almost identically.
You see, while there may be multiple companies making multiple video cards based on GPU X, the fact is that they're all working with the same baseline hardware and reference design. It's only when they start adding extravagant cooling solutions and components that they can increase the performance via factory overclocking. Doing so generally results in a higher retail price, as well as additional heat and noise issues. This is why we recommend buying the cheapest variant of your chosen GPU, provided it's built by a brand that you know will last the long haul.
Otherwise you're paying money for nothing. In our testing of this card, performance is basically identical to the HIS HD Radeon 6870. At $20 less, this makes the Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 the slightly better value card; both brands have excellent reputations for reliability, so you may as well go for the cheaper brand.
Having said that, once HIS realises that Sapphire is undercutting their price by $20, there's a very good chance they'll retaliate, leaving both companies with even thinner profit margins on their 6870 video cards. Thankfully this process also leaves us as consumers with even thicker wallets in our back pockets.Available from Sapphire, retailing for $279
.APC rating: 9/10 (Editor's Choice)