Unfortunately due to tightened hardware availability with the latest generations of AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards, this graphics card comparison isn't too particularly exciting for this review, but it does show where the AMD Radeon HD 6870 performance under Linux stands relative to several popular graphics cards from previous generations. Aside from Unigine Heaven where there are Catalyst driver bugs hampering the performance, which is not anything specific to Sapphire, the Radeon HD 6870 performance was compelling and quite impressive overall.
If you wish to see how your system's graphics performance compares to the Radeon HD 6870, you can run phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1102134-IV-SENSORS4225 to replicate the same tests and settings as used in this article so you can see how your system compares side-by-side to these results, when using Phoronix Test Suite 3.0.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 Vapor-X is currently retailing for around $230 USD (NewEgg.com), which is roughly a $10 premium over the other Radeon HD 6870 retail graphics cards following AMD's HD 6870 reference design and running at stock speeds. While the clock speeds are the same, the cooling performance should be superior, the dynamic fan speed was never even maxed when enduring heavy OpenGL workloads, and the heatpipe-based cooling solution was very quiet. This greater cooling system may also result in being able to overclock the Radeon HD 6870 GPU further than a reference cooler, but alas, Catalyst Linux bugs barred us from doing so.
Simply put, the Radeon HD 6870 is a fast graphics card and its price-per-performance is not bad at all either. If you're looking for a high performance graphics card that can also be used by open-source Linux drivers, the Radeon HD 6870 should definitely be a contender worth considering, and the Radeon HD 6870 Vapor-X comes from Sapphire, a very trusted vendor, and only costs a few dollars more than other reference cards.
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