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Roundup: Four Radeon HD 6850 1 GB Cards Compared

Test Settings

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-980X (3.33 GHz, 12 MB Shared L3 Cache) Overclocked to 4 GHz at +100 mV, 160 MHz BCLK
MotherboardGigabyte X58A-UD9 BIOS F3 (05/28/2010) Intel X58 Express, LGA 1366
RAMKingston KHX16000D3ULT1K3/6GX (6 GB) DDR3-2000 at DDR3-1600 CAS 7-7-7-21
OS Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300 GB 10 000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerOCZ-Z1000M 1000 W Modular, ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
GeForce GraphicsForceWare 258.96
Radeon GraphicsAMD Catalyst 10.10
ChipsetIntel INF 9.1.1.1020

Gigabyte’s four-way CrossFire/SLI-supporting motherboard provides today’s test cards with all the performance they need, while opening up the possibility of future CrossFire scaling articles using some of today’s data.

Clock speed has often been our biggest bottleneck in achieving full graphics card performance. None of our games require more than three processing cores, yet Intel’s six-core Core i7-980X is already in the board and easily supports 4 GHz overclocked.

OCZ’s Z1000M provides over 88% efficiency across a very broad range of loads, at minimal noise.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Aliens Vs. Predator BenchmarkAlien vs Predator Benchmark Tool Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS) Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool Test Set 1: Highest Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Quality, 4x AA
DiRT 2Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x MSAA
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
Power, Heat, and Noise
GPU LoadFurMark 1.6.5 Stability Test, 1920x1200, 4x AA
P3 Kill A Watt P4400Global Power Consumption at AC outlet
Galaxy Check Mate CM-140Measured at 1/4 meter, corrected to 1 m (-12 db)

This author’s argument against definitive noise measurements is that it’s almost impossible to remove background noise contamination from a running system. Yet, many readers insist that these measurements must be taken for relativity's sake. Using a “supersized” CPU air cooler that takes several minutes to warm up, the CPU fan has been temporarily disconnected during sound tests to get a somewhat-close approximation of each card’s true noise level.

  • 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