XFX Radeon 6850 Black Edition (Dual Fans) Review

1. Introduction3. Test System and Methodology

XFX Radeon HD 6850 Black Edition Graphics Card Review

XFX Radeon HD 6850 Black Edition – The Card

XFX package the 6850 Black Edition in a box which has a familiar design, changed a little from the normal version so as to reflect the new cooler. Inside we find a selection of stickers, product documentation, door hanger and case badge.

It is very clear from the moment we see this version of the 6850 that it looks significantly different to the previous Black Edition design. This new revision has two transparent 11 blade fans which pass air down onto the heatsink. Turning the card on its end shows that two copper heatpipes extend out above the PCB and when we remove the cooler we see that these make direct contact with the GPU rather than through a copper block. Each heatpipe extends the full way through the coolers aluminium fins and XFX use thermal paste rather than a pad on this model. While this is clearly an improvement over the standard XFX cooling design it is worth noting that the memory does not have heatsinks on this, or the original model.

On the back of the card we find four screws which hold the cooler in place and can see the single crossfire connector which allows us to combine two 6850s for enhanced performance.

In terms of outputs XFX use DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4a and two DVIs for their outputs with a single 6-pin PCIe power connector sitting at the end of the card. Underneath the revised cooler we have a 40nm Barts GPU which contains 32 ROPs and 960 unified shaders. Connected to this 820MHz core via 256-bit bus is 1GB of Hynix GDDR5 which is set to 1100MHz. This gives us a 45MHz core increase and 100MHz memory increase over the standard card.

All of the standard 6800 features are present on this model including support for DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0, DirectCompute 5.0, Blu-Ray acceleration, morphological anti-aliasing, the latest anisotropic filtering algorithm and support for 7.1 audio out. This 7.1 audio pass-through includes support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio.

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