The AMD Radeon HD 6800 series is supported by the proprietary Catalyst driver as well as the open-source Radeon Linux graphics driver stack using the classic Mesa "R600" or Gallium3D "R600g" drivers when using the very latest user-space code (Mesa / libdrm / xf86-video-ati) and the Linux 2.6.38 kernel or newer. However, the Radeon HD 6870 graphics card with the open-source driver stack was still too buggy when testing the latest Git code as of mid-February, but in the coming days and weeks this open-source code will continue to be re-tested until results can be successfully delivered from the open-source Linux driver.
Though with the Radeon HD 6870 being a high-end graphics processor, most AMD customers will be using the graphics card in conjunction with the high-performance Catalyst driver. There has been Radeon HD 6800 series support in the Catalyst driver since the hardware was rolled out in October, but it was not officially supported. Even if using the AMD Catalyst 11.1 driver, the Radeon HD 6870 is still set as being "unsupported", which results in an "AMD Unsupported Hardware" watermark appearing on the screen and using the aticonfig utility will fail due to not detecting any supported hardware, but the GPU will in fact work with 2D / 3D acceleration. Only with the fglrx 8.38.6 / OpenGL 4.1.10599, which was a Linux press beta driver of Catalyst 11.3, is the Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 properly recognized under Linux as being a supported graphics processor.
For this Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 Vapor-X benchmarking under Linux with the Catalyst driver, an Intel Sandy Bridge system comprised of an Intel Core i5 2500K graphics processor, Intel H67 Bearup Lake motherboard, 2GB of DDR3 system memory, and a 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD was used. On the software side was Ubuntu 10.10 with the Linux 2.6.35 kernel, GNOME 2.32.0, X.Org Server 1.9.3 RC1, fglrx 8.83.6, NVIDIA 270.18 display driver, GCC 4.4.5, and EXT4 was used. Based upon availability of other similar graphics cards we had access to for delivering comparable Linux results, the Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 was benchmarked against a Radeon HD 5770, Radeon HD 5750, Radeon HD 4890, Radeon HD 4870 X2, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 graphics cards. Unfortunately, there are no Radeon HD 6870 overclocked results for this Sapphire Vapor-X graphics card due to issues with the Catalyst Linux driver release that was tested.
Via the soon-to-be-released OpenBenchmarking.org and Phoronix Test Suite 3.0-Iveland, Nexuiz, Xonotic, Lightsmark, VDrift, Warsow, X-Plane 9, Unigine Sanctuary, Unigine Tropics, and Unigine Heaven were benchmarked.