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XFX HD 6850 Black Edition reviewed

by on28 October 2010



Review: The fastest factory overclocked HD 6850 yet
On October 22nd, AMD launched two new graphics cards from its Northern Islands family – Radeon HD 6870 and HD 6870. Today we have the honor of reviewing one of the highest factory overclocked HD 6850 cards. So for their HD 6850 Black Edition, XFX decided on 820MHz for the GPU and 1100MHz for the memory (4400MHz effectively). Note that reference clocks stand at 775MHz for the GPU and 1000MHz (4000MHz effectively) for the memory.

Radeon HD 6870 and HD 6850 are not high-end cards but rather products made with medium budget in mind, so called Gamers’ sweet spot cards. MRSP for HD 6870 is $239 in the US and €199 incl VAT in EU. The HD 6850 will set you back $179 in the US and €150 in the EU. As is usual with overclocked cards, XFX's card will be priced 15-20 euro above reference cost.

AMD introduced some competition to its own HD 5800 as it delivered HD 6800, which offers really nice bang per buck. It has been decided that HD 5700 series will run shoulder-to-shoulder with HD 6000 series, meaning Barts, Cayman and Antilles based performance and high-end cards. The fastest Northern Islands’ GPU will be Radeon HD 6970’s Cayman core, whereas dual-GPU Radeon 6990 comes with Antilles core.

HD 6870 and HD 6850 cards are based on Barts core, which compared to the previous generation offers improvements on the field of tessellation, Eyefinity, video decoding and last but not the least – consumption. UVD engine is now in UVD 3 version; there’s also HDMI 1.4a for 3D Blu-ray as well as two DisplayPort 1.2 outs. The DisplayPorts support Multi-Stream  technology, allowing up to 6 monitors to be used via only two DisplayPorts.

Below you see GPUZ screenshot, confirming the clocks on our card (HD-685X-ZNBC) as well as the number of shaders (960). HD 6850 Black Edition is currently the fastest factory overclocked HD 6850 and as you’ll see in our overclocking section, Barts packs some nice overclocking potential.


XFX HD 6850 Black Edition card is a custom designed card with custom cooling.

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Last modified on 10 December 2010
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