|GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 GV-R685OC-1GD|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Servando Silva|
|Tuesday, 18 January 2011|
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GIGABYTE GV-R685OC-1GD Video Card Review
When we talk about different video card brands, there's always a factor which motivates us to choose one over any other. Most likely, we make our decisions depending on retail price, but there are things to consider: the bundle and accessories, factory overclocked speeds, and of course, included heatsinks and fans so that the GPU can be overclocked higher or simply work without being as loud and hot as a reference design. With this in mind, Benchmark Reviews tests the GIGABYTE GV-R685OC-1GD AMD Radeon HD 6850 video card. We've already tested some HD 6850 GPUs before, but GIGABYTE offers their newest design with the Windforce 2x GPU cooler and Ultra Durable VGA technology. Additionally, this is the factory OC version which brings 820MHz (against 775MHz) GPU Core clock and 4200MHz (instead 4000MHz) GDDR5 Memory clocks. Let's analyze the GV-R685OC-1GD model and see if it can be a serious contender against reference HD 6850 and GTX 460 graphics cards.
In October 2010 AMD launched the HD 6800 GPU series. The 6850 is one of the AMD's latest DX-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 $189 GV-R685OC-1GD AMD Radeon HD 6850 video card supplements the 5800-series counterparts. 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 GIGABYTE GV-R685OC-1GD Radeon HD 6850 video card, a 960 shader core DirectX-11 graphics solution that competes at the $189 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, Just Cause 2, and PCMark Vantage are all included, in addition to DX11 titles such as Aliens vs Predator, Lost Planet 2, Metro 2033, and the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark.
NVIDIA launched the GTX460 about four months ago, and it has been the darling of the gaming community since then. With performance per mm2 and performance per watt numbers that put the first Fermi chips to shame, it deserves all the success it has enjoyed. It's also an amazing overclocker, so its performance profile is a bit hard to pin down; it's a moving target from a marketing perspective. At the other side of the history, everyone seems to have massive heartburn over the product numbering scheme that AMD introduced with the new 68xx cards. The fact that AMD has successfully introduced an addition class of GPU (as defined by die size), to fill the product gap everyone complained about with the 5xxx series, seems to have been overlooked by all. Something had to give, and it was the auspicious title of HD x8x0 that got handed down from the previous King to the new Crown Prince.
You may have seen some benchmarks for the Radeon HD 6850 already, but let's take a complete look, inside and out, at the GIGABYTE GV-R685OC-1GD. Then we'll run it through Benchmark Review's full test suite. We're going to look at how this reference card performs with a standard 820 MHz factory clock on the graphics core (while AMDs reference design works at 775MHz), and if possible, we'll look through some overclocking, power consumption and heat tests. I think you have to allow increased core voltage to find out how this GPU really compares to the GF104 (GTX 460). That GPU won at least half of its acclaim from folks using MSI Afterburner and other utilities to turn up the wick on all those reference cards, so it seems fair to wait until that capability is available for the HD 6850.
Product Name: Radeon HD 6850
Model Number: GV-R685OC-1GD
Price As Tested: $189.99
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by GIGABYTE.