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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.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.