A graphics card range has to have something to suit everyone, from highly-priced pixel-crunchers to the budget-friendly sub-£100 mainstream cards. The Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6570 is very firmly in the latter camp.

One of the cheapest discrete graphics cards on the market, it is quite capable of playing games – provided you don’t mind cutting down on the resolution and holding back on the detail levels. But it has most appeal for those looking to create a media-centre PC.

Two versions of the Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6570 have been produced, the essential difference being the type of RAM. The most powerful version comes with GDDR5 RAM, which seems like overkill on such a budget-conscious model. More sensible is the version reviewed here, which has DDR3 RAM – a generous 1GB of it.

The Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6570 card is small. In fact, it’s tiny, and its half-height dimensions make it perfect for a home-theatre PC (HTPC). Neither does it consume much power, requiring no additional connector, and has a TDP of just 44 watt.

(The GDDR5 version of the 6570 has a little extra performance, but consumes more power, with a listed TDP of 60W.)

The Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6570 card has three ports (HDMI, DVI and VGA), and can theoretically run four different displays.

Inevitably in such a card, the specifications aren’t going to be great. The core clock speed of 650MHz is already a good 50-150MHz down on the figures offered by even the inexpensive HD 6670. And like that card, the DDR3 RAM cuts down the memory clock.

Whilst GDDR5 RAM effectively quadruples the standard memory clock, this particular card’s use of DDR3 RAM means that the standard memory clock of 900MHz is doubled to 1800MHz. Add a 128-bit memory interface, and you have a card whose memory bandwidth figure of 28.8GBps is, in today’s terms, extremely lowly.

The Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6570, for instance, has a bandwidth of around 64GBps. The 6570, though, does see a small improvement over its theoretical predecessor, the 5570, and its 480 stream processors and 24 texture units place it ahead of the 5570’s respective figures of 400 and 20.  

Admittedly it’s not a great gaming card. Indeed, you’ll be pushed to run it at resolutions higher than 1280x800. Even then, the only one of our games in which it produced a frame rate in excess of 50 was HAWX. Mainly it finished 3-5 frames down on the Radeon HD 5670.

In BattleForge, it achieved 17.2fps at 1280x800, as opposed to 23.3 in the case of the 5670. (It slumped to just 9.6fps at 1680x1050.)

In Heaven, it finished 2.6fps down on the 5670 with a score of 12.2fps, while the notoriously demanding Crysis saw it finish at 14.3fps – almost 3fps behind the 5670.

It’s worth pointing out that these game benchmarks are very intensive, and this Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6570 card would be able to produce playable rates in most games provided the detail was kept down.

Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6570: Specs

  • AMD Radeon HD 6570
  • 1GB DDR3
  • 650MHz core clock
  • 900MHz memory clock (1800MHz DDR effective)
  • 400MHz RAMDAC
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • 480 stream processors
  • 24 texture inits
  • PCI-E interface
  • no additional power connector required
  • DirectX 11.0
  • DVI, HDMI, VGA
  • 2-year warranty
  • AMD Radeon HD 6570
  • 1GB DDR3
  • 650MHz core clock
  • 900MHz memory clock (1800MHz DDR effective)
  • 400MHz RAMDAC
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • 480 stream processors
  • 24 texture inits
  • PCI-E interface
  • no additional power connector required
  • DirectX 11.0
  • DVI, HDMI, VGA
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

You’re unlikely to be buying this card for gaming. If that’s your interest then the £100 AMD Radeon HD 6770 ought to be the cheapest card to aim for. But the Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6570’s video playback is smooth, and it still offers an performance advantage over onboard graphics. As a quiet low-power card ideal for HTPCs, the 6570 is a very palatable option.

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