With the AMD Radeon HD 6670 graphics chip, building a gaming PC need not be an expensive task. In fact, it can be downright cheap. Some cards that are based on this entry level graphics chip cost just over £60 (such as the ASUS EAH6670), which means that a grand system can be put together for a much less than a grand if you shop around.

The Radeon HD 6670 is a low end DirectX 11-based graphics solution that caters to budget users who want something more powerful than integrated motherboard or CPU graphics, but don't want to spend a lot. It's also not hard to install, so it's a great option for inexperienced upgraders. It consumes less than 75W, which means it doesn't draw too much power and it therefore doesn't require the use of a supplemental power cable from the power supply, it draws all its power from the motherboard's PCI Express slot. It also runs fairy quietly, even when under a full load. In our tests, our stock CPU fan was louder than the 6670's fan.

The Radeon HD 6670 replaces the Radeon HD 5670 in AMD's line up and it offers a slight improvement in processing power. The 6670 has a clock speed of 800MHz compared to 775MHz for the 5670. It supplies 480 shader cores compared to 400, and it has 24 texture units compared to 20. The memory capacity and speed is the same, as both cards have 1GB of GDDR5 SDRAM that runs at 1GHz. What all this means is that the Radeon HD 6670 is slightly more adept at rendering 3D graphics and making them look pretty in real-time than the Radeon HD 5670, which should translate into a better gaming experience, even at high resolutions.

We ran the Radeon HD 6670 on a system comprised of an AMD Phenom II X6 1055T six-core CPU, 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 500GB, 7200rpm Samsung hard drive and a Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H motherboard. We had no problems running some games at Full HD resolutions and with maximum graphics details enabled. Sports games such as NBA 2K10 ran smoothly during our tests, as did racing games such as Dirt 2. We achieved frame rates over 50 in these games.

First person shooters such as Crysis 2 don't achieve a frame rate quite as high at 1920x1080 resolution (under 30 frames per second), but can produce more playable frame rates (40-50fps) when a lower resolution such as 1280x1024 is used. The Radeon HD 6670 won't have any problems playing games such as World of Warcraft or Startcraft 2 at high resolutions. In 3DMark06, the Radeon HD 6670 recorded a score of 12264, which is a decent mid-range score. A PC based on integrated motherboard graphics or CPU graphics, for example, gets between 2000 and 4000, so the 6670 is definitely a sweet upgrade option.

The AMD Radeon HD 6670 is humble compared to high end enthusiast graphics chips in AMD's stable, such as the Radeon HD 6990, and it's not as fast as older the older Radeon HD 5750 chip, but it's still a very good graphics chip and one that's perfect for upgraders looking to give their system a little more oomph.

We'd recommend a card based on this chip to anyone who currently uses integrated graphics and has a free PCI Express graphics slot to fill. And it's not just good for gaming, the 6670 contains optimisations for web browsers that will help overall system performance, and furthermore, it can be used to drive multiple monitors, which can help boost productivity by allowing you to spread your desktop across two or three monitors.

OUR VERDICT

The AMD Radeon HD 6670 is a good low cost graphics card for anyone who wants to upgrade from integrated graphics and give their PC the ability to run the latest games. It can run most games smoothly at Full HD resolutions, while more taxing games will require the resolution to be kicked down a few notches.