|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 Detailed Features
The first job is to uninstall the windforce anti-turbulence cooler to see everything below it. This cooler is quite easy to take off as it's retained by 4 little screws. As usual, GIGABYTE put a lot of thermal paste between the AMD core and the heatsink which I had to clean and re-apply after removing it. We'll check cooler performance in the next sections to see if 2 heat-pipes and a pair of fans are enough to keep the HD 6850 at reasonable levels (even at overclocked conditions).
Here's the HD 6850 GPU Core. This image clearly shows how much thermal paste it had before removing the heatsink. Even that, I 'll make clear that the temperature tests were done before re-applying TIM, since many users won't disassemble their GPU just to re-apply TIM, and we need to know performance from factory settings
GIGABYTE'S PCB Quality is great. As they were one of the first brands to solid capacitors, ferrite core/metal chokes and low RDS MOSFETs along with a 2 oz. Cooper PCB the next images just speak for themselves. The PCB design is also nice and clean, which leads to high-quality/solid components.
GIGABYTE uses Tier 1 Samsung/Hynix Memory on their models. This particular one comes with Hynix H5GQ1H24AFR-T2C ICs which is consistent with AMD reference designs. Those ICs are designed to work up to 1250MHz while the HD 6850 actually needs 1000MHz only. Let's remember the GV-R685OC-1GD comes already overclocked at 1050MHz, which is still far from the limit, and we should be capable of reaching some high frequencies with the required voltage.
The VRM section includes a little heatsink for the MOS-FETs which receives airflow directly from the fans. There are metal chokes and solid capacitors here too.
I didn't really captured it well in the next image, but besides being just another shot of the same thing in another angle, in this one you can actually see a part of the GPU voltage controller (just below the metal chokes). This is the NCP5395 IC, which at the time seems to have no software voltage regulation yet. Those are bad news for anyone looking for a new super-overclocker GPU, unless there's an application to support this IC and allow some extra voltage to enhance overclocking capabilities. The non-overclocked version of this GPU however, includes the commonly known CHIL8214-03 IC, which supports voltage control via Sapphire TriXX or MSI Afterburner software.
At the back side of the core there are lots of resistors, capacitors and ICs, which just re-affirm the excellent solder quality from GIGABYTE's products. Being one crowded section of a graphics card, they're still able to solder with good precision any component needed. The small SMD capacitors located side-by-side in this view are placed on 1mm centers. This is one of the most critical sections of the PCB for build quality, as variations in stray capacitance here could impact the performance of the GPU, and certainly its overclocking ability. Finally, that little IC that stands out on the photo (the black one, of course) is the UP7706U8 Memory Voltage Regulation IC.
Now that we've had the grand tour of the GIGABYTE GV-R685OC-1GD, inside and out, it's time to put it to the test. Well, Benchmark is our first name, so don't worry. Let's start off with a complete description of the Video Card Testing Methodology.