|GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 GV-R685OC-1GD|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Servando Silva|
|Wednesday, 19 January 2011|
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GIGABYTE GV-R685OC-1GD Conclusion
From a performance standpoint, the HD 6850 is a very decent GPU. It surpasses the HD 5830 which used to occupy this price point. In stock form, it competes well with GTX460 cards. Sometimes it performs better than the GTX 460, sometimes it stands below. I'm going to wait for voltage control to be widely supported before I pass judgment on its full potential. Until then, I can only say that it is a capable performer, and it fills the large performance gap AMD had in the product line. I'm quite satisfied with the cooling solution, due to its great effectiveness and the reduced noise with a pair of fans which introduce a new way to exhaust air from your case without being a totally closed model.
The appearance of the GV-R685OC-1GD is great. The PCB does really well with the heatsink and even the box looks cool. That pair of fans look as great as they perform, and the Windforce logo looks nice, as if it had some ice on it. Despite being large, the cooler still uses 2 PCI slots only, and won't hinder CFX setups. If there's something I could say it would be that it won't mix well with red/black setups, but that's up to everyone depending on their configurations.
The build quality of the GV-R685OC-1GD just shines. You can have a deeper look at our photo gallery in the past sections so that you confirm it by yourself. GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA technology means they'll use high quality components like resistors, transistors, MOS-FETs and capacitors all the time, and they really love to keep solder quality at the top. The heatsink feels solid and performs well adding the use of heat-pipes and low-noise fans to get the job done. All in all, this GPU feels very solid and quality is top-notch.
The basic features of the GIGABYTE HD 6850 are mostly comparable with the latest offerings from both camps, but it lacks PhysX Technology, which is a real disappointment for some. The big news on the feature front is the new Morphological Anti-aliasing, the two DisplayPort 1.2 connections that support four monitors between them, 3rd generation UVD video acceleration, and AMD HD3D technology. That's quite a handful of new technologies to introduce at one time, and proof that it takes more than raw processing power to win over today's graphics card buyer.
As of January 2011, the price for the GIGABYTE GV-R685OC-1GD model is $189.99 at Newegg. However, you can find the non-OC model at $179.99 and overclock it way higher than this model, which makes me feel like there's something going wrong here. For some people, factory overclock is better and they're happy with it. If that's the case for you, then just take this card and enjoy it. But if you are one of the remaining people who want to get some extra juice, then I'll ask you to get the non-OC version and overclock the hell out of it. You'll also save $10, which can't be all that bad. GIGABYTE doesn't have special overclocking software for this GPU, and so there are other brands like MSI or Sapphire offering extra stuff in this area, so if you're not really convinced with this model, don't forget there are some others which might do the trick. But I promise if you're OK with factory overclocked frequencies, the GV-R685OC-1GD won't disappoint you.
+ GTX 460 performance levels at lower cost
+ Lower power consumption than HD 5xxx and GTX 400 series
+ Idle mode now works even with overclocked profiles
+ Good price/performance ratio
+ Excellent quality and construction
+ Windforce cooler works better and quieter than AMD's reference heatsink
+ Heat gets exhausted through the rear even if it's not a closed heatsink
- Tessellation performance still lags behind Fermi
- Low overclocking headroom at stock voltage
- No SW Voltage control support
- Limited overclocking capabilities
Final Score: 8.90 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.