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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
AMD Radeon HD 6850 Barts Video Card
Radeon HD 6850 Closer Look
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
Overclocking and Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
Radeon HD 6850 Conclusion

AMD Barts GPU Overclocking

AMD's Cypress GPU was well-known for accepting massively overclocked speeds. The new Barts GPU is based on Cypress, and should in theory yield a similar overclock. This presumes that AMD hasn't already stretched the Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 as far as they could go. For this project, we used MSI's free Afterburner program to overclock the video cards.

The MSI Afterburner "Graphics Card Performance Booster" application offers several adjustable variables to reach the desired overclock. Afterburner allows for voltage changes (increase/decrease), but this project aimed to stretch the AMD Barts GPU as far as it could go without any extra power applied. Beginning with the maximum stable GPU clock speed, I slowly increased the settings until I began to see tearing or the driver crashed. Once I reached the most stable speeds for both GPU and GDDR5, I put the video card back into action with high-demand video games for additional benchmark tests. Here are the results:

AMD Radeon HD 6850 Overclocking Results

Test Item Standard Overclocked Improvement
Radeon HD 6850 775/1000 MHz 850/1075 MHz 75/75 MHz
DX10: Crysis Warhead 22 24 9.0%
DX11: Aliens vs Predator 23.1 25.0 8.2%
DX11: BattleForge 30.1 32.4 7.6%
DX11: Heaven 2.1 22.5 23.6 4.9%
DX11: Lost Planet 2 25.5 28.1 10.2%
DX9+SSAO: Mafia II 39.9 43.2 8.3%

AMD Radeon HD 6870 Overclocking Results

Test Item Standard Overclocked Improvement
Radeon HD 6870 900/1050 MHz 950/1200 MHz 50/150 MHz
DX10: Crysis Warhead 25 27 8.0%
DX11: Aliens vs Predator 27.0 29.5 9.3%
DX11: BattleForge 34.3 37.4 9.0%
DX11: Heaven 2.1 26.5 28.6 7.9%
DX11: Lost Planet 2 31.0 33.0 6.5%
DX9+SSAO: Mafia II 47.5 50.7 6.7%

Radeon HD 6850 Temperatures

Benchmark tests are always nice, so long as you care about comparing one product to another. But when you're an overclocker, gamer, or merely a PC hardware enthusiast who likes to tweak things on occasion, there's no substitute for good information. Benchmark Reviews has a very popular guide written on Overclocking Video Cards, which gives detailed instruction on how to tweak a graphics cards for better performance. Of course, not every video card has overclocking head room. Some products run so hot that they can't suffer any higher temperatures than they already do. This is why we measure the operating temperature of the video card products we test.

To begin my testing, I use GPU-Z to measure the temperature at idle as reported by the GPU. Next I use FurMark's "Torture Test" to generate maximum thermal load and record GPU temperatures at high-power 3D mode. The ambient room temperature remained at a stable 20°C throughout testing, while the inner-case temperature hovered around 37°C.

FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than applications of video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. Furmark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. The temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.

Video Card Idle Temp Loaded Temp Ambient
ATI Radeon HD 5850 Reference 39°C 73°C 20°C
AMD Radeon HD 6850 Reference 42°C 77°C 20°C
Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 1GB 36°C 80°C 20°C
AMD Radeon HD 6870 Reference 39°C 74°C 20°C
ATI Radeon HD 5870 Reference 33°C 78°C 20°C



 

Comments 

 
# Why 7.25 on the value?sweatshopking 2010-10-22 03:50
this card produces frames at a lower cost than anything else you tested, based on your own scores. Why do you rate it a 7.25 on the value front?
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# RE: Why 7.25 on the value?Olin Coles 2010-10-22 07:04
True, the cost per frame value was quite nice, but there were several factors I considered for the value rating and you've got to keep in mind that it's a subjective score. I didn't like that fan noise was slightly louder than the 6870, and the price seemed just a little higher than I think it should be. Again, it's only my rating, and you can ignore it if you feel differently about the cards' price.
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# Mr.Mete Can Karahasan 2010-10-23 16:59
At 16x10 resolution, Hd 6850 is actually producing 56.1 fps in the BF2:BC benchmark, better than gtx 460. A typo there, my guess.
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# Typo fixedOlin Coles 2010-10-23 17:33
Fixed! Thank you for pointing that out.
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# 5830David 2010-10-25 06:30
well I wish I'd read this before I bought a 5830. not really sure where the 5830 would have placed in this test, but I assume it would be just below the 6850. my options at the site I purchased it were 5770 $139, 5830 $179, or 6850 $199. my motherboard doesn't have pcie 2.1 on 2.0 but I'm not sure if that would influence my choices.
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# typoDavid 2010-10-25 06:31
2.1 on 2.0 should read 2.1 only 2.0
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# 5830 wasn't greatsweatshopking 2010-10-25 07:02
the 5830 would come in quite a bit below the 6850, and with much higher tdp, and noise. It was a lackluster part, and that was one of the reasons for the refresh. that being said, it's still better than my 4850, so enjoy it!
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# RE: 5830Olin Coles 2010-10-25 07:14
I've actually got several results tested on the 5830, but didn't include them because this model is being phased out. I'll update the article with what I've got.
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# RE: 5830David 2010-10-25 08:05
so my next question is how will my system likely perform. I'm upgrading from a 8800GT OC to a 6850 reference card on a P43 ICH10 MB a E8400 cpu with 4GB of Dual Channel DDR2 1066 Ram and a 3gbs Sata HD, onto a 1680 x 1050 22" LCD via DVI
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# finesweatshopking 2010-10-25 08:51
should be able to play pretty much anything on high, at that resolution.
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# RE: RE: 5830Olin Coles 2010-10-25 10:23
At that resolution, it should nearly match the 1680x1050 results I produced in this review.
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# RE: RE: RE: 5830David 2010-10-25 10:46
Thanks :D thats great news!
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# rmaDavid 2010-10-25 07:35
called NE they informed me that the order shipped but i can refuse delivery or rma the whole box unopened for a full refund. so I reordered everything with a 6850 :D
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# RE: rmaOlin Coles 2010-10-25 07:37
That's good news. I've updated the test summary sections with 5830 performance results.
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# RE: RE: rmaDavid 2010-10-25 07:45
thanks, looks like it's $20 well spent to go from the 5830 to the 6850. besides the FPS increase, I will also get a overall better quality controlled product with a couple of extras that I probably won't use LOL.
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# RE: RE: RE: rmaDavid 2010-10-25 07:49
hmm well did have to give up a free copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. sigh. I doubt I would of played it much though
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# Updated performance chartsOlin Coles 2010-10-25 16:23
You'll all be pleased to know that I've updated this article with new performance charts that compare the Radeon HD 5830 and 5770.
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# EVGApero 2010-11-12 23:09
How can the EVGA GTX460 be so much better than a normal one?
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# Massive OverclockBruceBruce 2010-11-12 23:34
It's overclocked by the factory from 675 MHz to 850 MHz, giving it a pretty substantial (25% +) kick compared to stock cards.
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# RE: Massive Overclockpero 2010-11-13 14:39
Is it physically different too? If a consumer overclocked a non-overclocked GTX460, would the results be the same?
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# RE: RE: Massive OverclockOlin Coles 2010-11-13 15:49
Nope, it's just been overclocked. The results would be the same for any GTX 460 overclocked to those speeds.
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# RE: EVGAOlin Coles 2010-11-13 08:49
Please see the Test Methodology section for specifications, but the reason it's better is because of a strong factory overclock.
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# Will it work with my mobo?Ethan 2011-11-24 20:22
Hi. My motherboard has a pci 2.0 slot, not 2.1. will this card work?

Im currently running an amd msi r5770 hawk.
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# RE: AMD Radeon HD 6850 Barts Video CardEthan 2011-11-24 20:29
also, how much power does it need to run crossfire?
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# RE: RE: AMD Radeon HD 6850 Barts Video CardOlin Coles 2011-11-24 21:06
It will work just fine with PCI-E 2.0, and since each card uses 140W expect to use 280W in CrossFire.
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# RE: RE: AMD Radeon HD 6850 Barts Video CardEthan 2011-11-24 23:28
I have a 750 watt power supply. A 1 terrabite segate 7200 rpm hdd 8 gigs of ddr3 1333 Corsair Dominator ram, and an x fi titanium sound card. do you think that there would be enough power to run cf or should i check and see how much power each thing takes individually?

Thank you very much for the response
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# RE: RE: RE: AMD Radeon HD 6850 Barts Video CardOlin Coles 2011-11-25 08:34
Your 750W PSU will be more than enough for CrossFire on that system.
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