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VTX Radeon HD 6870 X2 review

Chris Finnamore
8 Dec 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
322
inc VAT

Hugely fast and good value, but only seems to work properly with AMD processors and motherboards

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Unlike most graphics cards we review, the HD 6870 X2 isn’t based on a reference design. Instead, this is a custom graphics card made by a handful of manufacturers, including Club3D and PowerColor, which has two AMD Radeon HD 6870 GPUs on one board working together in CrossFire mode. We've tested the VTX version, which is currently around £25 cheaper than its rivals.

VTX Radeon HD 6870 X2 top

It's a huge, 304mm-long card - only 2mm shorter than the enormous Radeon HD 6990. You'll have to check if your case has enough space, as it only just fit in our enthusiast Thermaltake V9 BlacX Edition test case. The board's two GPUs have a fan each, which make a rush at idle and thunder under load. You'll need a hefty power supply; a 600W model is recommended, and one which can provide 150W to each PCI Express connector. The card requires two 8-pin PCI Express connectors, but if you only have six-pin plugs and you think your PSU is up to it, you can use the 6-pin to 8-pin converters in the box to power the card. When running our Crysis 2 benchmark, our test PC's power consumption jumped to 350W in intensive scenes, compared to just 190W when fitted with a mid-range AMD Radeon HD 6770.

VTX Radeon HD 6870 X2 power

There's a useful mix of video outputs on the rear of the card. Along with two DVI ports, which you can connect to VGA monitors with inexpensive adaptors, there are two Mini DisplayPort and an HDMI connector. You'll need to use at least one of the DisplayPort outputs if you want to use AMD's Eyefinity triple-monitor feature - we could use Eyefinity with one DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort monitor with the Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort adaptor in the box. If you don’t have a DisplayPort monitor and still want to game on three monitors, you'll need to buy an active DisplayPort to DVI adaptor, which are around £17 from Amazon.co.uk.

VTX Radeon HD 6870 X2 ports

Unfortunately, we had a lot of trouble getting the card to work properly. The driver installed fine and we enabled CrossFire mode, but our games tests wouldn't work. In our standard graphics card test PC, which has an Intel Core i7-2600K processor and an Intel DP67BG motherboard, our Crysis 2 test would show a BSOD half-way through, and Dirt 3 showed extensive graphical corruption. We built a new PC with a Sapphire Z68 Pure Platinum motherboard and an Intel Core i5-2500K processor, and had trouble even getting to the Windows desktop, as the PC kept resetting. Changing the power supply made no difference, and the motherboards didn't have a problem with CrossFire; two HD 6970 cards worked perfectly together in CrossFire mode.

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