XFX HD 6850 - a review

By Koushik Saha on 16.12.10

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Over the past few weeks we have taken a look at the cards from the NVIDIA stable - the GTX 470 and the GTX 580 which were both amazing cards in their own right and achieved high scores in our tests. But now it's time to take a look at the Red side, AMD's. They recently launched the 6800 Series of GPUs and XFX was kind enough to send us one. The AMD HD 6850 is based on the ‘Barts’ core and in comparison to previous generations offersimproved tessellation, eyefinity and performance.The first thing that we noticed as we took the card out of the box was how small and light it was. At just 235mm in length, it should fit in almost any modern chassis. In comparison, the GTX 470 and GTX 580 look like hulking monsters. XFX have used a non-reference design and have used dual fans to help with heat management. The copper heatpipes jutting out of the side help in giving it a more rugged look, but at the same time they also make direct contact with the GPU which helps in cooling. One very cool design, although superficial, is the XFX logo carved into the I/O panel. It doesn’t serve a purpose, but it looks good.In terms of connectivity options, the XFX HD 6850 has two DVI-D ports along with one Displayport 1.2 and one HDMI 1.4a port. On the other end of the card; we have a single 6-pin PCIe connector that takes care of all its power needs.

Test Rig

* Intel i7-920
* ASUS Rampage III Extreme
* Corsair 6GB DDR3 - 1600 MHz
* Cooler master Silent Pro 1000w
* Cooler Master CM 690 Chassis
* Dell ST2420L 1920x1080 Display

The XFX 6850 uses a 40nm process, which is the same as the 5800 series, but at a smaller die size (255mm2). The GPU is clocked at 775MHz, while the 1GB GDDR5 memory clocks in at 1000MHz.

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