Update: This article is essentially now an overclocked HD 6870 one since the card used carries with it 1120 Shaders. It's also worth making note that our official HD 6870 overclocked higher than this card. That article will be published soon. The only difference between this HD 6850 and the HD 6870 is the stock clock speeds; all other specifications are the same. What you're ultimately looking at is a HD 6870 that's overclocked 70MHz on the core and 100MHz QDR on the memory.
So we started with the boring stuff and checked out the HD 6850 (with 1120 Shaders) and HD 6870 on their lonesome against a bunch of other cards. We began to have a bit of fun when we started pairing the cards together. There's no denying, though, that for most people Crossfire isn't an option, be it too expensive or just not really feasible.
So now it's time to get into the fun stuff and the stuff that people are going to be interested in as it will cater to a larger audience of HD 6850 users, and that is overclocking. We love it; there's nothing better than getting more performance for the extra cost of nothing.
So the question is, what kind of overclocking potential has the HD 6850 got? And when overclocked, where do we see the model sit? Since we've already looked at the HIS HD 6850 1120 when we tested Crossfire performance; here we will just get straight into the overclocking side of things and see what we have achieved.
Let's not delay!
Sapphire sent me over a copy of TRIXX which is their new overclocking software. Normally we would just jump straight into Afterburner from MSI, but it lacks the ability to adjust voltage at the moment. With that in mind, I thought I would try TRIXX out. While I didn't think it would be better than Afterburner, I had hoped it would offer the ability to adjust voltage and fortunately I was correct.
Before we just get into the overclocking side of things, let me quickly talk about TRIXX. For the most part there's nothing here that we haven't seen before. On a whole it's fairly basic. What I don't like about it is the lack of an apply button when it comes to adjusting your clocks. If you go to settings there's an option for the clocks to automatically apply as you adjust them. It worked fine, but I would've preferred a simple "apply" button to click.
Compared to Afterburner it lacks a few things like the monitoring features. You've also got to jump around screens to go to fan control and back to the clock speeds. It's not a bad thing, but it's not as streamlined as it could be. The thing is, we're in the early stages of TRIXX, but it looks promising. I'm not sure if it's capable of picking off Afterburner as our first "go to" option, but with voltage adjustment on the HD 6800 series at the moment it's what we'll be using in the immediate future.
With that said, let's get onto the clocks. We got some nice clocks actually; bumping the voltage to 1.299v which resulted in 1.297v, GPU-Z told us we ended up moving from a 775MHz core to 970MHz.
We didn't run into any trouble overclocking the memory, but we didn't have the same kind of increase with that moving from 4000MHz QDR to 4300MHz QDR. Don't get us wrong, it's a nice increase, but not quite as strong as the core clock we achieved.