|Sapphire 100315L Radeon HD 6850 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 25 October 2010|
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Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 Video Card Review
Custom-cooled Sapphire 100315L model offers overclocking headroom with 960 shader cores.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 is AMD's latest DirectX-11 video card, and uses an updated Cypress back-end to offer 'Barts' GPU architecture. Built to deliver improved performance to the value-hungry mainstream gaming market, the $180 Sapphire 100315L Radeon HD 6850 video card supplements the 5800-series. The most notable new feature is Bart's 3rd-generation Unified Video Decoder with added support for DisplayPort 2.1a. AMD's UVD3 accelerates multimedia playback and transcoding, while introducing AMD HD3D stereoscopic technology with multi-view CODEC (MVC) support for playing 3D Blu-ray over HDMI 1.4a.
In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the Sapphire 100315L Radeon HD 6850 video card, a 960 shader core DirectX-11 graphics solution that competes at the $180 price point with the 768MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 video card and the Radeon HD 5830/5770 to a lesser extent. Graphical frame rate performance is tested using the most demanding PC video game titles and benchmark software available. DirectX-10 favorites such as Crysis Warhead, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and PCMark Vantage are all included, in addition to DX11 titles such as Aliens vs Predator, BattleForge, Lost Planet 2, Mafia II, Metro 2033, and the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark.
According to information presented at the AMD Editor's Day event in Los Angeles on October 14th, approximately 33% of all AMD graphics solutions are sold for the desktop platform, with over 25-million AMD Radeon DirectX-11 compatible products shipped to date. In many ways this data reinforces my position in the recent Desktop Platform article series, but it could also mean that manufacturers are listening ever more intently to the changing needs of their remaining consumer base. This doesn't always leave room for innovation, but AMD manages to introduce emerging technologies nevertheless.
For those who have been patiently waiting for news on ATI Stream technology, it's been re-tasked as AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing, or APP technology. AMD Eye-Definition represents their commitment to PC gamers, PC game developers, and the PC gaming industry. Through Eye-Definition AMD delivers their "Gamers Manifesto", which they assert will enable the best experience possible regardless of hardware manufacturer.
Visitors have proven they're impatient and want everything up front and in small doses. Keeping in that spirit, I'll reveal that Sapphire's Radeon HD 6850 video card offers improved PC gaming performance while also including innovative new technologies at an affordable price point. This has become the repetitive central thesis with each new graphics card launch, running opposite the excitement manufacturers often build up. Marketing departments do their best to tout these fresh changes, all the while knowing that the more things change the more they remain the same. And so it begins once again: consumers are given more for less, and the Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 affords them this opportunity. Thankfully, it's the glory of these details that makes a new product launch much more interesting.
Benchmark Reviews has previously gone to great lengths to provide comprehensive details within each of the video card project we've published, however these overly verbose articles are going to be modified the modern online audience. In each review, we test a large selection of comparison products and provide more than twenty pages of introspective details. We enjoy doing it, mostly, and feel that our more experienced readers deserve the added illustration to fully explore newly revealed technology. Beginning with this project, the topic is delivered in three separate portions: this video card review, a separate editorial piece on AMD HD3D stereocopic technology, along with AMD's own whitepaper documents on their new display and video technologies (Adobe PDF). Now everyone should be happy, and the world can be a better place.
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Sapphire.