Oh my head! This whole 1120 Shader debacle that has shown up in the last few days has caused nothing but headaches. If you've missed it all and are wondering why we're doing a "Take 2" on the Sapphire HD 6850, let me give you quick crash course on what's happened.
Last week when I started to receive HD 6850 samples, as usual I take the normal GPU-Z screen shot and discover that the numbers are wrong or unknown in GPU-Z 0.4.6. This isn't unusual at the launch of a new card. Anyway, later that day GPU-Z 0.4.7 came out and it displayed everything. Unfortunately the Shaders showed as 1120, where it should've been 960. I checked my other HD 6850 and it had the same thing, so I put it down to a software error.
Come Friday which brought the launch of the HD 6800 series and we're seeing two kinds of reviews; HD 6850s with 1120 Shaders and HD 6850s with 960 Shaders. You ask; the similarity between all reviews? Everyone's using GPU-Z 0.4.7. All of a sudden, what looked to be a software error now looks like it isn't.
Over the next 36 hours it had come out that some HD 6850s did carry with them 1120 Shaders. This is what we know; the HD 6850s that we (and some other sites) received for launch carried with them HD 6870 cores and companies had forgotten to disable the extra Shaders. What we don't know is, do all the HD 6850s carry the same cores on a retail level and companies have now disabled the extra Shaders via a BIOS? We hope to find that answer out in the next few days.
Anyway, we've looked at the Sapphire HD 6850 1GB already and while it carried with it more Shaders, the bundle and look of the card is the same, so if you want to look at what exactly comes with the card I recommend you check out our Sapphire HD 6850 1GB review. If you're not interested or you've already seen it, let's have a quick look at the GPU-Z screenshot and how it differs to the original one.
What I've done is place the two HD 6850 screenshots in a single image below. The left one is the one we're looking at today, while the right is of our original Sapphire HD 6850 sample.
Click image to view
Across the board everything is almost identical and there are only two differences. The main one is the Shaders. You can see our original samples shows 1120, while the one we're using today shows the correct amount at 960. The other difference is the Texture Fillrate which is linked in with the amount of Shaders. The more Shaders? The higher the Fillrate. That's why the 1120 version has a higher number.