AMD Radeon HD 6870 And 6850: Is Barts A Step Forward?

AMD's Radeon HD 6850 1 GB

Despite the RV870 GPU at the heart of both cards, the Radeon HD 6850 is much smaller than AMD's Radeon HD 6870. Its reference card is about 9 ½ inches long and the card weighs much less--six ounces more than a pound.

The Radeon HD 6850 needs only a single auxiliary PCIe power cable as a result of its relatively low clock rates, and this probably makes it the most powerful reference card available with one 6-pin connector. Unfortunately the connector is on the back of the card and not the top. Like the Radeon HD 6870, the 6850 has a single CrossFire bridge and is only capable of dual-card configurations.

The HIS Radeon HD 6850 features an output configuration similar to the reference Radeon HD 6850 card, but with a single full-size DisplayPort output instead of two mini-DisplayPort outputs. Otherwise it's identical to the reference model with two DVI (one single-link and one dual-link) and one HDMI output.


HIS' bundle includes a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a CrossFire bridge, a Molex-to-PCIe power adapter, and the CD folder including driver/utility CD, manual, and a HIS sticker. This model is set to reference clocks on both the core and GDDR5 memory.


Surprisingly, the HIS Radeon HD 6850 appears to be significantly different from the reference model. It's a little smaller and lighter at just over a pound, with a custom cooler underneath the hood. Moreover, the air intake port is closer to the center of the card rather than offset to the rear.

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  • Poisoner
    I think AMD did a great job with these cards. Its just sick at what performance you can get for 200 bucks.
  • cangelini
    forcesnice but... where is Crysis!!!? they can play Crysis i know but how well can they play it? everyone has Crysis and have played Crysis and will play it... , its a nice game to compare perfomance...


    We actually discussed Crysis, but I'm honestly really damn tired of Crysis. When Crysis 2 comes out, I'll be all over it like Rosie O'Donnell on a $5 pie sale at Marie Callender's. For now, we're going to phase that one out, though :)
  • TheRockMonsi
    I like where AMD is going with the 6000 series, not so much with naming, but pretty much everything else about it. Can't wait for the 6900's, those are going to be beasts!!!!!
  • Other Comments
  • SteelCity1981
    Yeah I agree. I don't get AMD's marketing on the 6000 series. One would think that the 6870 would obv performan better then the 5870 at first glance but instead it yelds less performance then the 5870. That just doesn't make any sense from a consumor standpoint.
  • TheRockMonsi
    I like where AMD is going with the 6000 series, not so much with naming, but pretty much everything else about it. Can't wait for the 6900's, those are going to be beasts!!!!!
  • Randomacts
    Its here.....
  • Poisoner
    I think AMD did a great job with these cards. Its just sick at what performance you can get for 200 bucks.
  • Anonymous
    Super review. but i think HD6850 is faster than 1gb gtx 460....
  • duk3
    Nice benchmark suite!
    I am looking forward to the 6900 series and 22nm gpus later on for some real performance improvements.
  • takeapieandrun
    Not exactly powerhouses, but I do believe they will be great for market competition.
  • agnickolov
    This is what happens when a company is left with no competition for so long...
  • forces
    nice but... where is Crysis!!!? they can play Crysis i know but how well can they play it? everyone has Crysis and have played Crysis and will play it... :(, its a nice game to compare perfomance...
  • rottingsheep
    6850 vs 1gb 460. i would pick 460 because it overclocks a lot better
  • cangelini
    forcesnice but... where is Crysis!!!? they can play Crysis i know but how well can they play it? everyone has Crysis and have played Crysis and will play it... , its a nice game to compare perfomance...


    We actually discussed Crysis, but I'm honestly really damn tired of Crysis. When Crysis 2 comes out, I'll be all over it like Rosie O'Donnell on a $5 pie sale at Marie Callender's. For now, we're going to phase that one out, though :)
  • SteelCity1981
    So I guess AMD has no plans to replace the Radeon 5700 series on down then according to the chart in the first page for a while to come.
  • L0tus
    Sorry but I'm disappointed. Decent cards but VERY misleading names. I don't like being misled.
  • dragonsqrrl
    Well, I think we can finally agree that the so called "illegitimate" Barts/HD68xx rumors have been confirmed. In retrospect, it really is quite interesting what some people were trying to claim, and how confident they were while doing it.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/11395-55-report-launching-radeon-6000

    Great cards, giving some fierce competition to the upper mid range segment.
  • shura4ever
    "The MSRP of the Radeon HD 6870 is $40, a bit less than the Radeon HD 5850"
    $40? sell it to me :D
  • winner4455
    shura4ever"The MSRP of the Radeon HD 6870 is $40, a bit less than the Radeon HD 5850"$40? sell it to me


    Exactly what I was thinking when I read it xD

    It's actually $240 though... D:
  • scrumworks
    You seemingly want to talk more about nvidia and their magnificent Fermi than AMD. The whole introduction was almost concentrated on downplaying AMD and telling "Nvidia's Answers". It's like you wanted to review another Fermi but were forced to review a new Radeon.
  • dogman_1234
    These are great cards...being for price compared to their 400 dollar counterpart.
  • buzznut
    very smart to release a card that can compete with the GTX460. Looks like a win for AMD.
  • ohim
    L0tusSorry but I'm disappointed. Decent cards but VERY misleading names. I don't like being misled.

    I totally .. agree .. is either they wanna change the names of the lower end cards or this 6000 series is such a fail.