GIGABYTE needed the Windforce cooler as they were one of the only companies who didn't really seem to have their own cooler series. HIS have the IceQ, Sapphire the Vapor-X, MSI the Cyclone and Twin Frozr and GIGABYTE didn't really have anything. Yes, they had cards that carried with them new cooling, but they were just labeled as an OC card.
Now we're seeing the Windforce logo show up and what it tells us is that we should be excited about the card inside. The Windforce has come into our lives quickly and impresses us as it gets used on a number of mid-range cards.
At over 1GHz the HD 6850 is just a beast; you can see it's got some serious performance and really the HD 6870 at over 1GHz isn't that much faster. The value on the HD 6850 just sky rockets when you start to tip 1GHz and there's no denying that the clock is helped along with that Windforce cooler.
It's cool how AMD has let partners attack this model straight away. It needed to be done so it could compete against the GTX 460 which has seen great success thanks to the partners attacking the model with fancy coolers and fancier overclocks.
It would've been nice to see GIGABYTE offer us an overclock on this card, but we're not going to hold that against them as no one has attacked the series yet in that department. It will be interesting to see if this model comes in under the SOC naming later down the track, as we can clearly see the potential.
If you've decided on a HD 6850 then that's the easy bit done. You have to now decide which one to buy and to be honest, you're going to be hard pressed to look past the GIGABYTE one we've looked at today. It'll be interesting to see what some of those aforementioned companies in the first paragraph bring later down the track. For now, though, it's all Windforce!