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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.