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HIS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card in Crossfire w/ 960 Shaders

We have our hands on a pair of HD 6850s which carry the correct 960 Shader count. We finally test HD 6850s in Crossfire properly.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Nov 24 2010 5:41 AM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT

Introduction and Specifications


Introduction

HIS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card in Crossfire w/ 960 Shaders 02 | TweakTown.com
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To be honest, I'm not sure why it took me so long to get around to testing the HD 6850 in Crossfire. Yes, while I had tested it already, the problem was that the initial article was done with two 1120 Shader cards, which as we discovered later had just completely thrown out our results.

Combined with other products that came in and the normal rush before the holiday season begins, it's been a crazy month and then some. Today, though, I've finally paired up a pair of HD 6850s which both carry 960 Shaders. We'll see how performance looks and we'll then get the right results into our TPR graphs.

We're using the HIS HD 6850 today which we've already looked at previously, so we won't go into any real detail on what it comes with in that. If you want to see what comes in the package, I suggest checking out the HIS HD 6850 1GB Review. Just note that the performance in that review is based on the 1120 Shader version. If you want to see how it will perform in single card mode, you'll be able to see it in our graphs today.

Anyway, we'll just have a quick look at the specifications of the cards we're using today before we get stuck into the testbed we'll be using and more importantly, the performance we're able to achieve out of two HD 6850s in Crossfire.


Specifications

While there's no "reference" design as such for the HD 6850 due to the fact that the AIB is designing the card, there are reference clocks and that's exactly what the cards we're using today have.

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That means our core clock is 775MHz while 1GB of GDDR5 comes in at a nice round sounding 4000MHz QDR. The only other thing to really take out of the GPU-Z screen shot above is the fact that Crossfire is indeed enabled.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage


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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

We've got a bunch of cards in our test results today including the ECS GTX 460 Black Edition, Sapphire HD 5870 1GB, reference AMD HD 6870 1GB and probably the most important, a single Sapphire HD 6850 1GB.

Let's get started!


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

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Straight out the gate Crossfire performance is very strong from the HD 6850 CF setup.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark




Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//



New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Heaven a benchmark that used to favor NVIDIA a lot due to its heavy emphasis on Tessellation; but it sees the AMD HD 6850 CF setup really shine with some excellent performance.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5


Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/




Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

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Getting into some real world games, we see some fantastic performance from RE5. These are the kind of numbers users of 120Hz monitors want to see.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.


Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/





Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS.

The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series. Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target.

Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.

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Like RE5, we've got some great performance here and an average off over 120FPS means that if you're using a 120Hz monitor, your frame rate is going to be silky smooth.

Benchmarks - Mafia II


Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here




Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Across the board we see some strong performance increases with the most important being at 2560 x 1600 which turns our game from un-playable to playable.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2


Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/




Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

HIS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card in Crossfire w/ 960 Shaders 25 | TweakTown.com


Under Lost Planet 2 we can see that any single card setup struggles to get a 60 FPS average we need. With two HD 6850s, though, we're able to break the 60 FPS average we want at both 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. Unfortunately we're still a bit behind at 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator


Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Under Aliens vs. Predator we see some very strong gains when compared to the single card setup. While the HD 5870 is able to break the 60 FPS average we want at 1680 x 1050, the Crossfire setup manages to break it at 1920 x 1200 as well which is great.

Benchmarks - Final Fantasy XIV


Final Fantasy XIV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Elezen (Male)
Developer Homepage: http://www.square-enix.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/




Final Fantasy XIV, also known as Final Fantasy XIV Online, is the fourteenth installment in the Final Fantasy series. The game is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and is developed and published by Square Enix. The game takes place in a land called Hydaelyn, mainly in a region named Eorzea, which will have a contemporaneously aesthetic blend of science fiction and classic fantasy elements.

The battle and job systems will be different from the one previously used in Final Fantasy XI, which utilized experience points and level-based progression. Final Fantasy XIV is being designed to utilize a skill-based progression[15] system similar to that of Final Fantasy II. Character races will resemble and allow players to create avatars similar to ones in Final Fantasy XI. Group play has been de-emphasized, and now solo and group play have been balanced. Weapon use will alter "character development".

Note: Final Fantasy XIV gives us a score and not a normal FPS rating, our understanding is that anything around 2000 points or above is considered playable.

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Because the FF XIV benchmark runs in windowed mode, it's not able to make use of Crossfire.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV


Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.streetfighter.com/




While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called "Focus Attacks" ("Saving Attack" for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.

All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, similar to the Street Fighter EX sub-series Capcom produced with Arika. However, there are a couple of key differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.

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Street Fighter IV has strong performance already, but when we Crossfire that performance grows even more for some massive numbers.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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We're already above the 30 FPS minimum we want with a single card, but when we add a second those numbers sky rocket for some great performance.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum


Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/





Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.

Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

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Like Far Cry 2 we've already got strong performance with a single card. Add a second, though, and performance really does sky rocket.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

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HIS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card in Crossfire w/ 960 Shaders 32 | TweakTown.com


HIS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card in Crossfire w/ 960 Shaders 33 | TweakTown.com


HIS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card in Crossfire w/ 960 Shaders 34 | TweakTown.com


We see some really good gains when we turn on AA, with some games going from non-playable to playable.

Temperature Test


Temperature Tests



The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

HIS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card in Crossfire w/ 960 Shaders 40 | TweakTown.com


Temps on the cards are good under Crossfire which is great.

Sound Test


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

HIS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card in Crossfire w/ 960 Shaders 41 | TweakTown.com


Noise levels on the Crossfire setup are fantastic, which is great for people wanting a setup that's not going to be too noisy.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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Power Draw as you would expect is a good chunk higher than a single card, but it's nothing a decent 650 Watt power supply won't handle.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)


Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and ATI are on an even playing field.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark Vantage, Heaven Benchmark V2, Resident Evil 5, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., Mafia 2 (PhysX Off), Lost Planet 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Final Fantasy XIV, Street Fighter IV, Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off) and our four High Quality tests which include Mafia 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Street Fighter IV and Far Cry 2.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

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The HD 6850 in Crossfire is a strong performer and you can see it has no problems dealing with the GTX 480, and if it wasn't for the FF XIV results it would sit slightly higher up.

Total Value Rating (TVR)


Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on Newegg.com. In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

HIS Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card in Crossfire w/ 960 Shaders 51 | TweakTown.com


In CrossFire the value of the setup isn't that bad and really, considering the performance, it's a great setup for people who want to spend under $400.

Final Thoughts




The HD 6850 in itself is a great card and a great introduction to the HD 6000 series. When we looked at the 1120 cards in Crossfire and HD 6870 in Crossfire, we saw how strong Crossfire performance was and how it has seemed to really improve since the HD 5000 series.

With the HD 6900 series being delayed till December, making it possible that getting one before the holidays could be near impossible, you have to start thinking about what video card setup you should be using when you get some time off.

While we haven't tested the GTX 580 yet, it does seem like a good option. The problem at the moment is it's expensive, and the second issue is stock with 11 being listed on Newegg and only two being available which both cost over $500.

Dual card setups continue to be a slight turn off for some people, but there's really very little reason to not look at it these days. The power requirements of a setup like the one we're looking at today aren't major and performance is extremely strong. The most important thing you need to look at is scaling and it's not uncommon to see gains of nearly 100% which means that the value in the setup is very strong.

For under $400 you're going to get a great setup here that most people are going to really enjoy. The optimum resolution for the HD 6850 in Crossfire would probably be 1920 x 1200, because you can see just about everything we play at that resolution gets a average of 60 FPS which is exactly what you want.

The performance compared to our 1120 cards is slightly down, but that doesn't come as a surprise. Overall, its performance continues to be very good and that's the most important thing.

The performance you get for a setup that costs a good chunk under $400 is very impressive thanks to the improved scaling AMD has given us. Add in other nice features like the improved Tessellation numbers along with the good heat and noise numbers and you've got a really nice setup that most people are going to be happy with.

All we've got to do now is look at what happens when we overclock this already impressive Crossfire setup. Stay tuned for another article later this week!

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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