AMD Radeon HD 6850 Shootout - Mainstream Slugfest

Introducing the Cards (contd.)

Sapphire Radeon HD 6850

The Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 sports reference clock speeds, but comes with a custom cooler that promises superior cooling properties over AMD’s reference design. Peering beneath the blocky cooler casing, we can see a traditional fan and heatsink combo design that has numerous cooling fins and thick copper heat pipes to quickly draw heat away from the GPU core.

On first impressions, the two cards look alike, but look closely and you'll see that the Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 has a different heatsink design.

No surprises here, the usual twin DVI ports, HDMI port and DisplayPort.

Rather than adopting the reference card's heatsink design, Sapphire's take uses one that is designed in-house. We'll soon find out how it turns out.


Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 Toxic Edition

The other Sapphire card in our roundup is the Sapphire HD 6850 Toxic Edition. In keeping with other “Toxic” cards from Sapphire, the Sapphire HD 6850 Toxic Edition has a custom cooler and is factory overclocked for better gaming performance. Core clock speeds have been bumped up to 820MHz whereas memory clock speeds have also been boosted to 4400MHz DDR.

It looks different alright, but the cooler looks like the old reference ones employed by the Radeon HD 4800 series. Also note the length of the card is longer than the reference 6850 card.

Also, unlike the other cards, the Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 Toxic Edition boasts twin DVI ports, a single full-sized HDMI port and two DisplayPort 1.2 ports.

Curiously, the card also makes use of two 6-pin PCIe power connectors instead of one. Would this affect power consumption? We'll find out soon enough.


XFX Radeon HD 6850 Black Edition

As its name suggests, the XFX Radeon HD 6850 Black Edition is the company’s current flagship Radeon HD 6850 card. It comes with a custom-designed cooler that, upon closer inspection, has a heatsink design reminiscent of MSI’s Cyclone coolers. It is also factory overclocked, running at 820MHz at the core and 4400MHz DDR at the memory - similar to the PowerColor PCS+ HD 6850.

The XFX card is as blocky as the reference card.

The XFX card also has the same video output ports as the reference card. There's two DVI ports, a single HDMI port and DisplayPort.

The XFX Radeon HD 6850 Black Edition has a radial heatsink design, which is strikingly similar to a reference card.