ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU Review

👤by Sahil Mannick Comments 📅21-10-10

As with the HD6870 conclusion, it’s important to analyse the results on the basis of the pricing. The HD6850 was meant to compete with the 768MB variant of the GTX460 and yet at around £150 or £160 in ASUS’s case, it is being pitted against the 1GB card. This is mainly due to aggressive pricing on Nvidia’s behalf but nonetheless price/performance is the most important factor in the highly competitive mid-range market. To get a better overall idea of the performance difference between the GTX460 1GB and the HD6850, a wide selection of game was use to ensure less bias in the result. It’s not mystery that some games tend to prefer either AMD or Nvidia. Unfortunately for AMD, the GTX460 1GB came out top in the majority of games. The HD6850 could only grab a lead in Crysis Warhead, Resident Evil 5, Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Mafia. In those 4 games, it lead by approximately 7% at both stock speed and when overclocked. In other cases, the Nvidia card lead by around 10%. For an overall figure, the GTX460 1GB performed 4% better and it exceeded the HD6850 when it came to tessellation performance by 7-10%. AMD might be right in targeting the 768MB GTX460 with their HD6850 but pricing will have to come down to make it a worthy competitor. The main advantage of the Barts core is its power efficiency drawing an impressive 75W less at stock speed.

Based on the specifications alone, the HD6870 has up to 33% more shader power than its sibling and looking at the real world performance, the difference was much less. With both at stock speed, the HD6870 manages to pull ahead by an average of 20%. At overclocked speed, the HD6850 closes the gap to 10% thanks to the ASUS’s card outstanding 27% overclock. When the performance/price ratio is evaluated, the HD6870 ends up 30% more expensive for a 20% gain in performance, highlighting the excellent value for money that the HD6850 offers. Unfortunately, the same conclusion is reached here and Nvidia have to be commended for offering the best performance/price ratio of the cards tested today. We can take into account the diminishing returns of the more expensive HD6870 but consumers looking to buy a mid-range card will no doubt have value in the minds instead of sheer performance. For those wondering how an overclocked HD6850 fares against a stock HD6870, the difference is a mere 1.2% favouring the latter.

The ASUS card was a joy to work with. Its sleek design follows previous DirectCU models and teamed with the Barts core, it provides tremendous cooling potential. Consequently, it makes sense to have the Voltage Tweak utility to get the most of the HD6850 and boy did it deliver! The result was a sky high core clock of 1GHz, the golden barrier that eludes most cards on the market. A small voltage bump to 1.25V was all that was needed to attain the clock speed and best of all is that no other current HD6850 offers the same custom design and tweak-ability. For a £10 premium, it is definitely worth it over standard models.

+Decent performance
+Very Efficient and low power consumption
+Very cool and quiet operation
+Eyefinity support
+Stable and very high overclocking headroom
+Excellent & intuitive bundled software
+Aesthetically pleasing
+Pre-overclocked and Voltage tweak capability
+3 years warranty
-Naming scheme
-Nvidia’s GTX460 offers better performance for the money

ASUS have done a good job with their EAH6850 DirectCU TOP and earn themselves the Vortez Hardware Silver Award.

I would like to thanks ASUS for giving us this exclusive sample and opportunity.

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