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Single-Slot Graphics: Whose Card Is Fastest?

We normally conclude our comparisons with a value shootout, but that’s not possible for several reasons. First and foremost, this was a story that sought out the best performance from a single-slot card, and the best-performing part had a far higher MSRP.

Afox suggests that its vendors sell the Radeon HD 6850 for $210. We can only guess that means an actual Web price somewhere around $185 to $200 at large sites like Newegg and TigerDirect. Furthermore, we’d also need to arbitrarily assign a price of $75 to the ECS sample that’s not available in the States yet, based on its previous pricing policies and competing models. And all of those arbitrary prices would yield a chart where all three cards placed within 3% of each other in value.

Sticking to the original goal of this review, the Afox Radeon HD 6850 (AF6850-1024D5S1) exhibits clear performance leadership among its single-slot rivals. PowerColor has its own single-slot board that could have competed here, giving North American readers an option. And while we were expecting that board to arrive for inclusion, it unfortunately never showed up. The main caveat is that PowerColor does employ a six-pin connector, making it a little less attractive compared to the harder-to-find Afox model.

There's only one other single-slot model that we would have liked to see compete against the Radeon HD 6850, and that was Galaxy’s GeForce GTX 460 Razor. It's a bummer, then, that nobody at Galaxy answers email (at either the U.S. or global addresses).

With a huge performance lead against the vendors that were willing to compete, Afox deserves some kind of award. We'd like to give it a Recommend Buy. But with no vendor selling its card in the States, we don't have a price to cite. It also can’t be a Best Of Tom's Hardware award because the one card that could have offered exciting competition wasn't represented.

Thus, for demonstrating a huge performance lead against the other single-slot gaming cards that were submitted for our comparison, Afox earns our entry-level Tom's Hardware Approved award, indicating our approval of the company's innovation in addressing an important market segment that doesn't receive enough attention.

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