|VisionTek Radeon HD 6850 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Thursday, 03 November 2011|
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VisionTek Radeon HD 6850 Video Card Review
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by VisionTek.
Most of us love to look at the latest reviews of the most hardcore PC components and keep apprised of what's going on up in the clouds, but when it comes down to it, we are going to end up buying something that is a little more affordable. So while reviews of those items are certainly interesting to read, it's nice to see something a little more mid-ranged. I'm talking about something that will play the latest video games, even though I might have to turn down some of the settings. In this article, Benchmark Reviews is taking a look at the VisionTek 900339 Radeon HD 6850 graphics card. The newest series of GPUs has been out for a while now, and we've seen the performance charts. We don't expect any surprises from the VisionTek 900339, but that's not going to stop us from putting it through its paces and overclocking it. We want to see where the VisionTek Radeon HD 6850 differs from other cards, especially since it sits near the top end of the price range for Radeon HD 6850s.Like many of you reading this, I am a gamer. I'm not an extreme gamer, but I would consider myself hardcore. While my wife would probably shoot me if I decided to by a $500 video card, I can get away with convincing her that I need to spend more than a few dollars to be able to play the games I like. Typically, this means I stick with the mid-range GPUs, like the Radeon HD 6850. In fact, in my current system I use a Radeon HD 6870, even though the top GPU in my line-up is a NVIDIA GTX 570. The reason? Eyefinity. I have three 21.5" monitors set up on my desk. I like to use them all. With a card from NVIDIA, I can only use two monitors without having to add another graphics card to the mix. With the Radeon HD 6800 cards, I can use all three monitors simultaneously.
AMD Radeon GPUs bring a lot to the table besides just Eyefinity. While NVIDIA beat them to the punch with 3D support, the Radeon HD 6850 supports AMD HD3D technology that supports stereoscopic 3D gaming as well as Blu-Ray 3D. Additional technological advancements included with the Radeon HD 6000 series include AMD EyeSpeed visual acceleration and EyeDefinition. EyeSpeed improves video image quality and accelerates video formats like DIVX and DIVX Plus HD. EyeDefinition is AMD's implementation of DX11 tessellation and functionality.
Surprisingly enough, while the AMD Radeon 5000 and 6000 GPUs all support DirectX 11, DX11 capable GPUs are not used to the extent you might think. According to the October 2011 Steam Hardware Survey, only about 28% of gamers use DX11 GPUs. The most used DX11 GPU is the Radeon HD 5770. That leaves a lot of room for upgrade on the part of gamers everywhere. With the holiday season approaching, I'm sure this is on a lot of people's minds. One other benefit of the Radeon HD 6850 for me is that it's built on the same architecture and with the same GPU as the HD 6870. This means I can connect them in a Crossfire configuration, even though the Radeon HD 6850 runs a little slower.