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.
If you like the price of the HD 6850 but prefer the performance of the HD 6870, we've got good news for you. With a little bit of time you'll be able to get that HD 6870 performance at HD 6850 pricing. For the person wanting a bargain, this is a fantastic result.
Thanks to people like MSI, overclocking has really began to expand and the overclocking ability seen on the cards these days means that you don't have to be some hardcore computer user who deals with LN2 to achieve some fantastic performance increases. Overclocking is simple and fun, and companies like MSI, Sapphire and Galaxy are letting us do things like adjust voltage levels while putting a limit on it so it doesn't kill our card.
Three companies have shown us something fantastic here today; HIS, AMD and Sapphire; one with a card, one with a core and the other with some software. It's safe to say that the HD 6850 has the overclocking ability like NVIDIA and its GTX 460. That's bad for NVIDIA, but fantastic for you.
The out of the box performance probably isn't as exciting as the potential performance, much the same as it was with the NVIDIA GTX 460. It wasn't what the NVIDIA GTX 460 did out of the box, but what it did when we fired up Afterburner.
It will be interesting to see if companies like MSI and GIGABYTE give the HAWK and Super Overclock treatment to this model. Time will tell; for now, though, we've got a ripper video card that has some great OC potential.
As for the 1GHz core, we managed to get it. We also managed to get some 3DMark action in with it. Unlike other sites, though, which just overclock the card and run it through the one benchmark to let you know what a card can do, we instead run it through our whole benchmark line up and while at 1GHz the HIS HD 6850 wasn't stable in everything, what we showed you today was and gives a real representation of overclocking performance.