|PowerColor Radeon AX6850 SCS3|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Tuesday, 05 July 2011|
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PowerColor Radeon HD 6850 SCS3 Review
Manufacturer: PowerColor (TUL Corporation)
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by PowerColor.
It's a predictable progression: NVIDIA or AMD release a new GPU, along with a "reference design" video card built around it. All of the marketing partners introduce new video cards that are tfhe reference design card with a vendor label or graphic affixed to it. And while some vendors leave it at that, others aim for the enthusiast market by designing their own video cards around the new GPUs, adding their own features and capabilities. PowerColor is one of the latter, and they have several variants of the AMD Radeon HD6850 video card ranging from plain reference designs to pre-overclocked versions to versions with a single-slot cooler to this one: the SCS3, whose giant radiator allows it to be completely passively cooled.
Changing the reference design cooler is one that that any company making a "custom" video card will do. But most of the time, the idea is to make a cooler that works better than the reference cooler; it's hard to see how a passive, fan-less cooler will be even as effective as the stock cooler, much less better. But remember that different users, and different systems, have different priorities. The advantage to a passive cooler is, of course, the fact that the video card will be completely silent. And in some cases such as HTPCs, silence is a more important consideration that performance.
PowerColor sets the clocks on the SCS3 clocks to 775MHz on the GPU cores and 1GHz on the memory. These are pretty standard speeds for a Radeon HD6850. Interestingly, PowerColor's box doesn't call out the card's "silent cooling", perhaps expecting customers to understand it intuitively from the image of the card.
Video cards based on AMD's Radeon HD6850 GPU are the very definition of AMD's "mid-range" video cards, providing good performance for most games at a reasonable price.