More details of AMD's up-coming Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 cards have leaked, and this time we've got some hard numbers - albeit ones that don't paint the new devices in a particularly good light.

Chinese-language tech site XFastest.com claims to have got its hands on some of AMD's as-yet unreleased 6000-series Radeon HD cards, and has run them through 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark06 benchmarking suites to see how well they stack up against their predecessors.

Before we get into the numbers, it's worth mentioning at this point that these are preliminary results that come from possibly unfinished hardware and definitely unfinished drivers, and there's almost certainly room for improvement before the cards are unleashed onto the world.

The AMD Radeon HD 6850, the mid-range replacement for the Radeon HD 5850, scored a reasonable 14,872 3DMarks in the Vantage suite and 18,750 in the 3DMark06 benchmark tests. That doesn't compare particularly well to its last-generation predecessor, which managed 15,593 and 19,480 3DMarks respectively - meaning that the new card has an almost 5 percent drop in performance on the Vantage benchmark.

The story isn't any better at the higher end, with the Radeon HD 6870 scoring 16,270 and 19,480 in the two benchmark suites, compared to its direct predecessor's 17,924 and 19,433 - this time almost a 10 percent drop in performance in Vantage, although a better showing in 3DMark06.

With the Radeon HD 6870 slated to feature a 900MHz core clock, 960 stream processors, and an effective GDDR5 memory frequency of 4,200MHz, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it should perform significantly better than its last-generation predecessor - so let's hope that the current figures are simply an aberration in the drivers, for AMD's sake.

Are you waiting for the final release to make a decision on AMD's latest cards, or do you think that we won't be seeing any major performance leaps until the Cayman-based 6900-series cards come out? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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