Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Video Cards arrow PowerColor Radeon AX6850 SCS3
PowerColor Radeon AX6850 SCS3 E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards
Written by David Ramsey   
Tuesday, 05 July 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
PowerColor Radeon AX6850 SCS3
Closer Look: PowerColor SCS3 HD6850
AX6850 1GBD5-S3DH Detailed Features
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX11: 3DMark 11
DX11: Aliens vs. Predator
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.5
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
SCS3 HD6850 Temperatures
AX6850 1GBD5-S3DH Overclocking
PowerColor Radeon HD6850 SCS3 Final Thoughts
AX6850 1GBD5-S3DH Conclusion

PowerColor Radeon HD 6850 SCS3 Review

Manufacturer: PowerColor (TUL Corporation)
Product Name: PowerColor Radeon HD 6850 SCS3 1GB GDDR5
Model Number: AX6850 1GBD5-S3DH
Price As Tested: $204.99 at NewEgg

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.

Powercolor_radeon_hd6850_scs3_box.jpg

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.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: PowerColor Radeon AX6850 SCS3Mack 2011-07-06 19:41
Really nice review. I think I would really like this card if the unit did not eat up 3 slots, and of course price wise, you said it all.
Report Comment
 
 
# Great review choiceJeff 2011-07-10 23:29
I would never buy such a card but its always interesting to see what seem to be engineering exercises by vendors. There are GPUs with quiet fans out there (like my reference GTX 460) so "silent" cards really aren't needed, but they're fun to read about.

Oh, and I'm one of the "disturbing" people who still us XP. Almost all my games are DX9 (amazing how many there are - especially RPGs) and it does exactly what I need it to.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Great review choiceDavid Ramsey 2011-07-11 07:43
With XP, you're not only subject to memory limitations (SLI wouldn't really work for you, for example), but are much kore vulnerable to viruses and malware. But if it works for you...
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Great review choicekater 2011-07-27 05:24
Also, no SSD with TRIM for you :P And SSD w/o TRIM is basically pointless. But hey, to each his own :)
Report Comment
 
 
# Great Review - But that price?Christopher Fields 2011-07-11 09:27
I looked on NewEgg this morning and found this card for $204.99 / ##newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131442

Just thought I would drop the news for those interested in buying it from somewhere else other than "Sears", lol. Since when did Sears get into the PC Parts market?
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Great Review - But that price?Olin Coles 2011-07-11 09:44
Thank you for sharing, but the Newegg price was already linked in the first/last page of this review.
Report Comment
 
 
# Great shot!Zodar 2011-07-17 06:45
I was searching exactly for this card!
I use my PC (tower case) for games but also as media player with a beamer.
Since my PC is very close to my ears during "movie-watching sessions"... to keep noise low is very important.
Currently I am using a hd 4850 with Accelero s1 rev.2, but looking for a performance increase I was disapponted in seeing that I should had bought a card and a new separated special heatsink...

So... This SCS3 for me is exceptional! It fits all my needs. Just bought! It should arrive in 5-6 days...
;)
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Great shot!David Ramsey 2011-07-17 10:51
Glad the reviewvwas useful for you! Let us know how you like it.
Report Comment
 
 
# Nice Card!Zodar 2011-07-27 13:12
I tried this card not so much (I just became father... ;) ) but I like it. I put an enermax Cluster UCCL 120mm fan close to the heatsink to be sure that it will not overheat (I have a Cooler Master case, sileo 500, without side panel fan).
I have to say that the card doen't seem to need the additional fan (my case is however well vented), but as I said, I trid it not so much.
In my case, upgrading from 4850, the performance improvement is impressive (with Crysis 2 now I use Umtra settings, after downloaded hi-res texture and patch for dx11)!
And no noise at all when I watch movies (I have scythe kaze master as reobus for fan controlling and if I don't use the card for gaming, the even -really- ultra silent "magnetic bearing" fan is off).
So, in my opinion, if you search for noiseless card with high performance it is competitive with standard 6850 equipped with third part heatsinks and, for sure, with higher reliability.
Report Comment
 
 
# Good reviewDaniel 2011-11-14 09:08
Thanks for this review. It helped me decide!
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: PowerColor Radeon AX6850 SCS3Fiend 2012-01-30 02:55
Very nice review, thank you.
Report Comment
 

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews
QNAP Network Storage Servers

Follow Benchmark Reviews on FacebookReceive Tweets from Benchmark Reviews on Twitter