AMD Radeon HD 6850

The new AMD 6000 series is the company's answer to nVidia's GeForce GTX 460 GPU

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AMD Radeon HD 6850 The GTX 460 GPU targets buyers with budgets of approximately US $200
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  January 4, 2011

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Key Specs

API supported: DirectX 11
Connections: DVI x2, DisplayPort x1
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6850
GPU frequency: 790MHz
Interface type: PCI-E

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When the Radeon HD 5000 series was released last year, it arrived six months ahead of nVidia's ‘Fermi' product family. Thus the 5000 series - initially consisting of only the 5870 and 5850 - secured the GPU performance crown for AMD. With the launch of the newer 6000 series (codenamed Barts), AMD is going after nVidia's GeForce GTX 460 GPU which targets buyers with budgets of approximately US $200.

Thus far AMD has released two 6000 series parts; the Radeon HD 6850 and Radeon HD 6870. The former is what the card on test here is based on and being a reference design, the GPU runs at a core frequency of 775MHz. The 1GB of GDDR5 memory on the other hand runs at a frequency of 4GHz.

The Radeon HD 6850 is fabricated using the existing 40nm fabrication process and thus is a reasonably cool contender. That said, the card still employs a chunky cooler that will make the expansion slot directly under the PCI-E x16 slot you fit it to redundant.  Thankfully, the cooler was unobtrusive even after hours of gaming.

Put to the test the 6850 returned framerates of 73fps, 53fps and 33.3fps in our Tom Clancy H.A.W.X, World in Conflict and Heaven v2.0 benchmarks at 1680 x 1050 pixels. By comparison Zotac's GeForce GTX 460 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory managed figures of 80fps, 58fps and 37.0fps.

Verdict: A competent DirectX 11 GPU but also one that isn’t quite as fast as competing cards equipped with the GTX 460 GPU.

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