XFX Radeon HD 6850 Review

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XFX Radeon HD 6850 Review

As we explained in our introduction to AMD’s brand-new Radeon HD series, which you can read here, the Radeon HD 6850 is based on an entirely new GPU architecture optimized for DirectX 11 games. But don’t be confused by AMD’s branding: The Radeon HD 6850 will replace the Radeon HD 5830, not the Radeon HD 5850 and certainly not the company’s top-shelf GPU, the Radeon HD 5870.

The XFX Radeon HD 6850 reviewed here departs only slightly from AMD’s reference design: There’s a single full-size DisplayPort connector instead of the dual mini-DisplayPorts that AMD envisioned, and XFX’s custom cooler delivers better airflow. The GPU and 1GB GDDR5 frame buffer on this card are clocked at the stock rates of 775- and 1,000MHz, respectively.

Unlike AMD's reference design, XFX is providing one full-size DisplayPort 1.2 connector on their Radeon HD 6850 card instead of two mini-DisplayPorts.

The Radeon HD 6850 is manufactured using the same 40nm process as the Radeon HD 5850, but the die size is much smaller (255mm2 versus 334mm2). The new chip has 480 fewer stream processors and 24 fewer texture units, but its ROP count remains the same and its core clock speed is considerably higher (775MHz compared to 725MHz). In spite of this, the card consumes much less power at idle and under load and requires just one six-pin power connector.

In terms of performance, XFX’s stock-clocked Radeon HD 6850 held up very well against overclocked Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 cards with 768MB and 1GB frame buffers, as well as an overclocked Radeon HD 5850. That makes the power-consumption numbers all the more remarkable. Apart from the redesigned heatsink and fan, however, that leaves XFX’s excellent warranty as the only other justification for $20 premium XFX expects to fetch over AMD’s retail price guidance.

Click here to read our review of the Radeon 6870, or click here to go back to the main article.

XFX Radeon HD 6850

Leia

Good price/performance; efficient; excellent warranty.

Amidala

A little noisy; one fewer display connector than reference design.

8

Benchmarks 6850

XFX Radeon HD 6850
Asus Radeon HD 5850
Asus GTX 460 768MB
Gigabyte 460 GTX 1GB
3DMark Vantage (Perf)
14292
15514
13737
14609
Unigine Heaven 2.1
16
14
18
18
Crysis 24
26
19
18
BattleForge (DX11)
36
42
38
37
Far Cry 2 (Action)
67
53
56
54
Far Cry 2 (Long)
68
61
68
66
HAWX (DX10)
62
76
63
65
STALKER: CoP (DX11)
28
30
25
30
Just Cause 2
30
32
30
31
Aliens vs Predator
23
25
21
22
Power (Watts, Idle) 133 142 128 131
Power (Watts, Full Throttle)
218
290
248
251

Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition in an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB of DDR3/1333 and an 850TX Corsair PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows Ultimate. All games are run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA.

Features

Radeon HD 6850
Radeon HD 5850
Die Size (mm2) 255334
Transistor Count1.7 Billion2.15 Billion
Memory Bandwidth
4Gbps 4Gbps
Stream Processors 960 1440
Texture Units 48 72
ROPs 32 32
Core Clock (MHz) 775 725
Memory Clock (MHz) 1,000 1,000
Memory 1GB GDDR5 1GB GDDR5
Power (Watts Idle/Load) 19/127 27W/170
Power Connectors One 6-pin Two 6-pin
6

Comments

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highdef

Why do my Sapphire HD 6850 comes with two 6pin power connectors? The card I've bought also comes with a free DiRT3 Steam code.

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GreenComp

In your best of the best list, when i click on the review for the Budget Video Card (<$200) i see the XFX Radeon HD 6850, but when i click on the newegg site it shows me a different graphic card (it has 2 fans).

Are they the same card but with different number of fans?

 

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aviaggio

I would be an interesting comparison to throw the 5830 numbers in there, as that's the card you say it's supposed to replace.

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srkrause

I would also like to see the 5850 benchmarks to compare to the new 6870.

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Julyjules

Is it me or the benchmarks show the Radeon 6870 instead of the 6850? Please correct that as I'm eager to see how the 6850 stands against Nvidia's GTX 460

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MrMick

Sorry guys, I had pasted the wrong benchmark chart. The correct one is in there now.

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