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Powercolor 6850 vs. Asus 6850 vs. 6870

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 29, 2010 10:04:10 PM

Hello guys,

I built a new PC last month and tried to stay as low-budget as possible while still getting good performance, but I am not very happy with my graphic card's performance, so I am looking to sell it and upgrade to a new one.

First here are my specs:

CPU: Athlon II x3 445 (Unlocked to Phenom II x4 B45 NO L3 CACHE)
Board: Asrock M3A770DE
Memory: 2x2GB DDR3 1600
Graphics: Radeon HD 4850

I was looking at 3 options for my new graphics card:

-One of those two 6850s
ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

PowerColor AX6850 1GBD5-PEDH Radeon HD 6850 Premium Edition 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

-Cheapest 6870
HIS H687F1G2M Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

So according to this review: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/Radeon_HD_6850_...

An overclocked ASUS 6850 with DirectCU cooling/heatsink will perform very similar to a Stock 6870 (As seen in the benchmarks). And it seems there is very little room for 6870 overclock, because it is already at high clock.

Now the Powercolor 6850 seems to come with a custom cooler (apparently a ZEROtherm cooler from the pictures) but I was wondering how can I know if that cooler is as good as the ASUS DirectCU cooler? And would I be able to overclock to the same degree as the ASUS card?

So what do you guys think? I mean I know the price difference is very low (PowerColor 15$ lower than ASUS which is 30$ lower than the cheapest Reference 6870)
So basically, if I can overclock the PowerColor to same levels as the ASUS one, then I would get a card that performs almost like a 6870 for 45$ less.

Open to suggestions, thank you guys.

October 30, 2010 4:53:16 AM

Go with HIS or ASUS. I don't like Powercolor crap.
a b U Graphics card
October 30, 2010 5:00:39 AM

If its a risk taken to achieve the clock levels of the 6870, then i guess it is wise enough to buy the 6870 itself..
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a b U Graphics card
October 30, 2010 5:24:45 AM

Powercolor is good as any company. They sell for the cheapest prices but the cards are not cheaply made. In fact the boards are all the same. The only difference is ther cooler. Just go for the best performing cooler or the cheapest card.

Powercolor's RMA and warranty is fine too.
a b U Graphics card
October 30, 2010 5:29:14 AM

rofl waffle is correct.

Powercolor sell cheaper, but I've used them without issue. they are the same reference boards as any other.

the 6850 is better value. the 6870 is a great card, but doesn't really offer enough extra performance to justify the cost.
October 30, 2010 6:34:45 AM

Go with the 6850 directcu.
October 30, 2010 10:03:12 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys. I was mostly leaning myself towards the 6850s ... but I still have a couple of questions..

So if both boards are reference, then the only differences would be:

-ASUS Exclusive Voltage Tweak Technology for up to 50% performance
-Up to 20% COOLER than generic HD 6850 during game play and quiet operation under idle mode (DirectCU Heatsink)
-3 year warranty

VS

Powercolor's "2-Slot Zerotherm Fan" and 2 year warranty.

I feel like ASUS is worth the extra 15$, but I really have no idea what the difference between the coolers is and which one is more efficient. And does "Voltage Tweak Technology" mean you get more overclocking room?

Any overclocking/heatsink experts out there care to give some insight?

Thanks again guys :) 
October 30, 2010 10:49:00 AM

or you could use NCIX.com and get the XFX 6850 (its not back upto 219 but comes with free expresshipping)
October 30, 2010 12:43:46 PM

ochho87 said:
Thanks for the feedback guys. I was mostly leaning myself towards the 6850s ... but I still have a couple of questions..

So if both boards are reference, then the only differences would be:

-ASUS Exclusive Voltage Tweak Technology for up to 50% performance
-Up to 20% COOLER than generic HD 6850 during game play and quiet operation under idle mode (DirectCU Heatsink)
-3 year warranty

VS

Powercolor's "2-Slot Zerotherm Fan" and 2 year warranty.

I feel like ASUS is worth the extra 15$, but I really have no idea what the difference between the coolers is and which one is more efficient. And does "Voltage Tweak Technology" mean you get more overclocking room?

Any overclocking/heatsink experts out there care to give some insight?

Thanks again guys :) 


If you feel like the ASUS is worth the extra $15, then get it. The differences in the cards are minimal.

You should get what ever will make you happier, because in the end you don't want to end up choosing something you don't want. The extra $15 is trivial.

Hope this helps. :) 
October 30, 2010 11:39:14 PM

amk09 said:
If you feel like the ASUS is worth the extra $15, then get it. The differences in the cards are minimal.

You should get what ever will make you happier, because in the end you don't want to end up choosing something you don't want. The extra $15 is trivial.

Hope this helps. :) 


Well, after many different Radeon HD 6850 reviews read, I have come to the conclusion that ASUS DirectCU version is the most overclockable one.

With slight voltage tweaking, you should be able to achieve the 1000Mhz core clock rate and around 1150Mhz for memory clock with temperatures around 60C~70C under full load.

Seems like a good deal to me at 209$ :) 
!