|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 6850 Closer Look
The Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 (model 100315L) comes equipped with 960 shader cores clocked to 775 MHz, and 1GB of GDDR5 dialed up to 1000 MHz. Sapphire has made a few changes to their design that separate this Sapphire 11180-00-40R SKU from the other reference AMD designs.
While the AMD reference design allows for two digital mini-DVI ports, Sapphire incorporates only one of them in full-size form on their Radeon HD 6850. Doing so also returns dual-link DVI support to both ports, enabling AMD HD3D technology on either interface. AMD's HD3D technology currently supports only one 3D display, with plans for multi-monitor 3D available in future products.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 measures 9.0" inches long, by 1.25" tall and 3.75" wide. This is slightly shorter than the Radeon HD 5850 model, which also occupied two expansion bay slots. For reference, the Radeon HD 6870 measures 9.75" inches long, by 1.25" tall and 3.75" wide.
Sapphire's Radeon HD 6850 uses a custom cooling solution, which forces most of the heated air out through the rear of the video card shroud. In my opinion, AMD's reference cooling solution was the most ideal choice. That design allows the cooling fan to externally exhaust heated air outside of the computer case, which improves stability on overclocked systems dependant of controlled temperatures. We'll see if Sapphire's custom solution improves over the performance on AMD's reference design in our overclocking and temperature section.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 video card requires only a single 6-pin PCI-Express power connection for full operation. AMD suggests that the TDP power demands are less than 127 watts for the Barts GPU, which we'll confirm in our power consumption section.
Sapphire's exposed printed circuit board on the Radeon HD 6850 looks very Spartan, as a result of having all power and memory components located at the GPU side of the PCB.