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Roundup: Four Radeon HD 6850 1 GB Cards Compared

MSI R6850 PM2D1GD5

A quick look at the package reveals that our test unit is the OC Edition of MSI’s R6850 PM2D1GD5, separated from MSI’s reference-speed R6850 PM2D1GD5 only by clock rate.

The difficulties we had trying to set this article up at the end of October are bluntly revealed in this board. The OC Edition was initially listed on MSI’s Web site, only to disappear later. AMD’s Radeon HD 6850 graphics processor has little room to overclock at or near stock core voltage, and MSI cancelled its OC Edition card rather than risk instability.

Several factors caused us to keep MSI in the running for this roundup. First is that all our reference-clocked cards are dispersed across other test labs around the country, and including one as a reference point in this story is a useful way to show how much better overclocked samples perform.

Second is that the OC Edition card uses the same hardware as MSI’s standard-edition R6850 PM2D1GD5, so that underclocking allows the faster card to represent the performance level of its reference-clocked sibling.

The R6850 PM2D1GD5 uses the same 8.5”-long circuit board design as the HIS model from our launch article, with three of its four voltage regulators enabled. While the cooler extends the card’s overall length, the 8.6” distance from the card’s face to the end of its PCIe power connector will be more important to those who plan to use a small case.

  • 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?
    Reply
  • Scanlia
    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.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    BillehBawbOh, and also, can you use Afterburner with the Powercolor and Sapphire cards?Yes
    Reply
  • tomskent
    last line of the article...
    "Now, here did I put that Christmas list?"
    here = where
    Reply
  • scrumworks
    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?
    Reply
  • sudeshc
    love this card looking to buy it for my new build and would go for ASUS as i already own the game.
    Reply
  • karma831
    No OCing?
    Reply
  • iam2thecrowe
    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.
    Reply
  • ATI driver support is a complete debacle. That's why this article uses stone age drivers (10.6)
    Reply
  • Crashman
    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.
    Reply