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This Sapphire HD Radeon 6670 is a mid/high-range card manufactured by Sapphire. It has 2GB Dedicated Graphics Memory and shares some memory with the RAM in the event that it runs out.
==General Techy Information==
This card is a mid/high range card intended for some gaming and multimedia purposes - for a workstation it'd probably be overkill. It is the bridge between mid-range and high-end on the AMD graphics card series', and is particularly cheap - usually found for less than £60.
The graphics card has DirectX 11 support, allowing for advanced features such as tessellation and image-based reflections, however, it would probably require a higher-end card to use all of these features to their full potentials. The card has 480 unified shader cores, and has a 'Core Clock' speed of 800MHz. The graphics memory also has a speed of 800MHz (the clocks don't mean an awful lot to regular users, but those interested in overclocking may find it useful). The bus-width of the card is 128-bit, allowing for a fairly quick data transfer speed from and to the graphics card, but not as fast as cards with a larger bus.
The card is also based on a 40nm architecture (smaller is better), has 716 million transistors and supports OpenCL and DirectCompute 5.0. This card has no support for Nvidia exclusive features like CUDA or PhysX.
==Ease of Installation==
The 6670, and in fact graphics cards in general, are extremely easy to install. This graphics card requires one PCI-E slot running at x16 (most recent desktop motherboards have one of these slots, it's a long slot (and usually blue), with a pullable 'release tab'. Google will provide some lovely images and explanation on the matter if you're at all unsure.
This graphics card simply slots in, and since the card operates at under 65w, it can be powered entirely by the motherboard, so no additional power connectors required. Simply screw it into your case with the provided screws and install the drivers off of the internet (or the included drivers on CD if you don't have access to the internet, but the CD drivers are usually out of date), and hey presto, you're done.
The instructions included are more than adequate, and it's likely that your motherboard will also come with a guide on how to install a PCI-E device.
The performance is an extremely important part of a graphics card, especially for gamers and those that use many graphically intensive applications, and even home users who just want a smooth experience on Windows watching movies and the like. You'll be glad to hear that the performance in lovely here.
The card can easily decode 1080p video under practically every format when run in Media Player Classic (which uses GPU acceleration for the video rendering, making it a good judge of card) and rendered the web beautifully quickly when browsing with Firefox (again, it's GPU rendered, so a good benchmark). I saw no stutters nor slowdowns during either of these activities, not even with YouTube videos pushed up to the highest resolutions, making it perfect for home use.
Gaming is probably an important part for someone who is looking into buying a card like this, especially since there are far more cheaper alternatives available for home use, a purpose which doesn't need a particularly speedy graphics card anyway (if you're looking into basic home use, I'd recommend a 6450 or 6570 at time of writing).
So, how does the 6670 perform in-game. Below are a few of my benchmarks. The graphics card is in these tests is coupled with the i3 2120 and 4GB of dual channel RAM on an H61 LGA1155 motherboard. All tests span one minute.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - 1280x768 resolution, max settings. No AA, No AO (60fps+ recommended)
Minimum framerate: 43
Maximum framerate: 93
Average framerate 72.217
Minimum framerate: 54
Maximum framerate: 93
Average framerate: 75.2
Modern Warfare 3 is a big one amongst gamers, but it is amongst the easiest AAA games around at the current moment in time, using the dated Quake engine, and allowing for extremely high framerates.
Battlefield 3 - 1280x768 resolution, max settings, No AA, No AO (30fps+ recommended)
Minimum framerate: 26
Maximum framerate: 50
Average framerate: 36.4
Minimum framerate: 21
Maximum framerate: 41
Average framerate: 29.583
Battlefield 3 is one of the most graphically intense games going, and is used as a benchmark for far higher end cards than this. For the price of the card, compared to the price of the recommended card to run this game (a 6950, clocking in at just over £200, yikes), the performance is actually staggeringly good - especially considering the fact that it's Ultra settings.
Counter Strike: Source - 1280x768, max settings, No AA (60fps+ recommended)
Minimum framerate: 193
Maximum framerate: 298 (engine limit is 300 here)
Average framerate: 260.550
Minimum framerate: 141
Maximum framerate: 286
Average framerate: 224.052
Counter Strike: Source is one of the most loved games in the gaming community, and by far one of the most played. If you're interested in Counter Strike, there's no way that you're going to be let down by this card. The framerates never drop below 100, and regularly hit the engine limit. A testament to Valve's game development skills and the power of the card.
The HD Radeon 6670 is pretty much the comfortable gaming experience for the majority of people. It topples the performance of gaming consoles, and with the right components, could even be made into a PC cheaper. This is the budget gamers choice.
You don't like burning your fingers. Or your case and motherboard for that matter. However, with the Sapphire 6670, this is unlikely to be an issue. The fan on it is pretty large, and with only 65w input, it doesn't have a whole lot of capability to produce masses of heat. Regardless, it pretty much balances out at 50c, which is far below the maximum operating temperature of graphics cards as a collective, which usually sit around the 100c mark.
The Sapphire 6670 is a cool solution to your gaming needs, and may even be one of the coolest running brands of graphics card.
This card doesn't require any additional PCI-E connectors from the power supply, only the base power from the motherboard, meaning that it cannot use more than 65w. This is good for computer efficiency, because it helps you keep your electricity bill down. It's unlikely that the graphics card will ever actually pull 65w, mind you. I don't have exact readings, but I reckon that it probably hangs around the low tens idle and the mid fifties under load.
The only downside to having only PCI-E slot power is there is not an awful lot of additional power to put into overclocking, which may leave some people disappointed. There should be enough headroom for some overclocking though, I should think.
==Value for Money==
This card was cheap. I got it for £50, and it has proved itself to be the exact gaming beast that I wanted in my machine. While waiting for it to come, I was wondering if I had made the right decision, but now that it's here and I'm using it, I realise that this was all I needed, and it's a fabulous card for the price. So why pay more?
I wholeheartedly recommend this card to anyone on a tight computer budget.
This is pretty much the peak of the mid-range card. You don't get more performance for lower-profile cards, and you especially don't get more performance at the price that the 6670 is offered at. This is a phenomenal deal, and is exactly where I would place the budget gaming deal.
This is a card for everything. It is well worth the purchase.
I award the Sapphire HD Radeon 6670 a 5/5.