Page 13 - Overclocking and Conclusion
One of the best things about Gigabyte's SOC graphics cards is the company supplies a program called Gigabyte OC Guru. As its name suggests, it is a utility used for tuning the performance of your video card. It allows the voltage of your GPU and memory to be adjusted for overclocking, fan speed control, as well as power saving features. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to even get the program installed on my test platform running Windows 7 Professional x64, so I resorted to the good old Catalyst Control Center to see how far I could go without touching the voltage. I used Furmark to test stability. As you can see in our screenshot above, the 6870 core is not a very good overclocker -- Gigabyte already pushes it quite near its limits straight from the factory. We managed 970MHz, which translates to a modest 7.8% over AMD specifications, or 2.1% over Gigabyte specifications. Its memory, on the other hand, is a completely different story. It uses identical chips as the Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB OC, but while the 6850 is capable of doing 'only' 1200MHz (4800MHz effective), our 6870 hit a high of 1250MHz -- absolutely impressive. That's 5000MHz effective clock!
If you increase the voltage, cracking 1GHz on the core is probably not much of a challenge. However, do this at your own risk, as bumping the voltage of your GPU will shorten the lifespan of your card -- with small performance improvement gains.
When I said I really liked the Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 1GB SOC at the beginning of this review, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably "why". I enjoy questions like these -- because in order to convince you why this video card is superior to all the Radeon 6870s out there, I must convince myself of the same thing. But if you followed my entire review and went through the same thought process I did, it only makes sense that the Super Overclock version is really the graphics card to buy. Sure, the Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 1GB SOC isn't all things to all people. But at the end of the day, when we lay it out on the table and look at the positive attributes of this card, then the puzzle pieces really fall together. Firstly, like every Radeon 6870 out there, it delivers excellent gaming performance at a midrange price. Secondly, Gigabyte's WindForce 3X cooler not only performs very well under load, it is also competitively quiet, and is programmed accordingly out of the box. Thirdly, whether you buy into the whole deal of Gigabyte's Ultra Durable scheme or not, it is unquestionable from an objective manner that the components used are absolutely top notch in quality -- just take off the heatsink and look at the parts used. And lastly, for about $220 at press time, it costs $20 more than your run-of-the-mill 6870 -- and being one of the fastest 6870s in the market, with cherry picked GPU and RAM, and a fundamentally excellent cooler, the Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 1GB SOC is simply the most logical choice for your hard earned cash.
Gigabyte provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Recommended Award
Since April 30, 2007, Number Ratings have been dropped for all CPUs, motherboards, RAM, SSD/HDDs, and graphics cards. This is to ensure the most appropriate ratings reflected without the inherent limits of using numbers. Everything else will continue using the Number Rating System.
More information in our Review Focus.
The Gigabyte Radeon HD 6870 1GB SOC is an impressive, well rounded graphics card that makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.
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1. Introduction, Specifications, Bundle
2. AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series Architecture
3. A Closer Look, Test System
4. Benchmark: 3DMark 11
5. Benchmark: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
6. Benchmark: Call of Duty: Black Ops
7. Benchmark: Colin McRae: DiRT 2
8. Benchmark: Far Cry 2
9. Benchmark: Just Cause 2
10. Benchmark: Metro 2033
11. Benchmark: Unigine: Heaven v2.5
12. Power Usage, Temperature, Noise
13. Overclocking and Conclusion