Roundup: Four Radeon HD 6850 1 GB Cards Compared

Power And Efficiency

Voltage and clock speed have adverse effects on power consumption, so we expect the fastest cards to fall to the bottom of our power chart.

Asus has surprisingly low power consumption compared to MSI, and even the slightest power advantage for Sapphire’s oversized card surprises us when compared to PowerColor. We wonder why Sapphire needed to include two PCIe connectors?

Sapphire edges out PowerColor in average frame rate, but margins this small could be pure variance.

This is where our match gets tedious. We wanted to base our efficiency number purely on averages, so we first averaged the No AA and 4x AA average frame rates of each card. We then calculated a class average by averaging our list of averages. For those following along, the class average is 49.8 FPS.

Dividing each card’s average by the class average puts its performance level on a percent scale, where “zero difference” is actually 100% and the top cards are higher. Following the same procedure for Full Load and Idle power gives us a similar percent scale where the most miserly cards have the lowest score. Dividing those results gives use a calculation of efficiency, where class average is 100%.

Yet no electronic component is 100% efficient. We subtracted 1 from each card’s result to move the chart scale by 100%, focusing only on the differences in efficiency. Asus’ lower-power “mid-speed” card is 3.9% more efficient than the class average, while Sapphire’s moderate power consumption makes it the most efficient “fast” card.

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  • It would be nice to see overclocking results. I know the whole "results will vary" malarkey but still, it would be interesting to see things like the benefit (if any) to having two pci-e power connectors on the Sapphire card or how high you could take the ASUS card using the software that came with it. Oh, and also, can you use Afterburner with the Powercolor and Sapphire cards?
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  • Other Comments
  • It would be nice to see overclocking results. I know the whole "results will vary" malarkey but still, it would be interesting to see things like the benefit (if any) to having two pci-e power connectors on the Sapphire card or how high you could take the ASUS card using the software that came with it. Oh, and also, can you use Afterburner with the Powercolor and Sapphire cards?
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  • Oh, and also, can you use Afterburner with the Powercolor and Sapphire cards?


    I use afterburner with a Gigabyte Card, (Flashed to ASUS). Works fine.
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  • BillehBawbOh, and also, can you use Afterburner with the Powercolor and Sapphire cards?
    Yes
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  • last line of the article...
    "Now, here did I put that Christmas list?"
    here = where
    3
  • Why are you using catalyst 10.6 (drivers from june) instead of latest, quite long already available 10.11 or 10.10-beta with HD6800 support?
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  • love this card looking to buy it for my new build and would go for ASUS as i already own the game.
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  • No OCing?
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  • so, wheres the comparison between these cards and rival cards from nvidia??? using recent drivers?? and OC???!this doesnt really tell us anything except the performance is so close you may as well get the cheapest of the lot.
    -9
  • ATI driver support is a complete debacle. That's why this article uses stone age drivers (10.6)
    -6
  • karma831No OCing?
    iam2thecroweso, wheres the comparison between these cards and rival cards from nvidia??? using recent drivers?? and OC???!this doesnt really tell us anything except the performance is so close you may as well get the cheapest of the lot.
    Er dude...
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-radeon-hd-6850-barts,2776.html
    The previous article, which answered all your questions a month ago, was linked numerous times in this article.
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  • So, it seems it can run Crysis!
    -7
  • I always appreciate more information, but shouldn't an exploration of the top options in the $200 range be more appropriate given it's the Christmas hardware giving season? The 6850 is a great card, but a more focused value study across many makes and models might be more useful. All the same, I'll take what I can get. I'd just like to point out that the new Radeons are getting more expensive while nVidia's 460s are getting much cheaper.

    Just my two cents, but that would seem like a much more interesting article. We already know the 6850 is mostly quiet and pretty efficient, but GTX470s are going for only a few dollars more in some cases. Bring the throwdown.
    -4
  • Excellent conclusion, Thomas. Explores different uses.
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  • You can use Sapphire Trixx to overclock and unlock the voltage for the new Radeon 6800 series cards if Afterburner doesn't work.
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  • I would have loved to see the Sapphires being OC'd and then XFire'd. Will there be any love for that? 8)

    Great article also, thanks Mr. Thomas!

    Cheers!
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  • tomskentlast line of the article..."Now, here did I put that Christmas list?"here = where


    Thanks, I don't think I could have ever figured that one out...
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  • Those dirt2 benches kinda make me regret getting the 6870. Oh well...

    What I like about the 6800s is that AA does not detract that much from framerate.
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  • A nice review and round-up of the 6850, Thanks Tom. I have to say I was am still am very interested in the 6850-70 model GPU's and I am glad to see some comparisons of the 6850's. Although right now these cards exceed my spending limit, I am glad to say I picked up a 5830 for $130 after MIR(pricing mistake?), I think thats a good trade off of price/performance for now. :)
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  • this article was pointless

    overclocked cards perform better and use more power.. we all know this
    -1
  • CrashmanEr dude...http://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] ,2776.htmlThe previous article, which answered all your questions a month ago, was linked numerous times in this article.

    dooode....that is not OC of the new cards with new coolers. Also performance may be different with new drivers. Dont link me to old articles that I have read and have little to do with what i am asking!
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