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

With 960 Shader HD 6850s in Crossfire looked at earlier this week, it's now time to see what happens when we overclock these puppies.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, Nov 26 2010 5:08 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Manufacturer: HIS

Introduction and Specifications


Introduction

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We've welcomed the new HD 6800 series with open arms and while the HD 6870 might be the faster of the two cards, the HD 6850 represents some great value for money. When we add a second one into the mix we do see that the overall value does dip slightly, but the performance gains are really strong.

While we ran over a few speed humps early on when we looked at the HD 6850, it's nice to know that it's smooth sailing from here on out. With the correct 960 Shader HD 6850 already looked at by itself, overclocked and in Crossfire, it's time to place the last piece into our puzzle.

That is of course the HD 6850 in Crossfire, overclocked! - We're not going to go into much detail outside of specifications because we've already looked at the HIS HD 6850 before, and we've also looked at the HD 6850 in Crossfire at stock speeds earlier this week. Instead we'll just quickly look at how we overclocked and what we ended up with.


Specifications

Overclocking on the HD 6800 series cards when in Crossfire is a bit of hit and miss. A lot of programs at the moment are having trouble overclocking two cards, which meant that Voltage Adjustment was out for the moment.

Instead we just opted for the Overdrive feature in the Catalyst drivers which while not giving us the most options, does ultimately let us clock both cards and adjust the core clock and memory clock.

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Without extra voltage we managed to bump the core clock from 775MHz to 840MHz and the memory went from 4000MHz QDR to 4400MHz QDR. It's not a huge overclock, but the inability to add more voltage to the core was going to limit our core overclock. Either way, we should see a nice little performance increase.

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.

The main two setups we'll be looking at today is of course the HD 6850 in Crossfire at stock and overclocked to see just what kind of gains we're able to get out of the overclock we managed to achieve. Saying that, we've also included a number of single AMD cards just so you can see how it compares against some other setups.

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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Under Vantage we see a nice little boost in performance in both the X and P presets. Hopefully this translates well into some real world games which we'll check out in just a moment.

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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Checking out Heaven performance, we again see a nice little bump in performance at both resolutions.

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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Across the board we've already got good numbers under Resident Evil 5. Of course, there's nothing wrong with higher ones and you can indeed see a nice little bump in performance at all resolutions.

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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Across the board H.A.W.X. sees some good performance gains; here you also really see some super impressive numbers when compared to the stock single card.

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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Mafia II manages to get an increase at all resolutions with that 2560 x 1600 one being appreciated the most. Since we're not all that far from the 60 FPS average that we require, those extra few FPS that help get us even further is appreciated.

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."

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Lost Planet 2 gets a few FPS bump at all resolutions. The best one is that 1920 x 1200 resolution which moves from 62 FPS (which is right on the edge of that average we need) to 65 FPS which gives us a little more breathing room.

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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AvP sees some great gains with the 1680 x 1050 number cracking the 100 FPS mark. Unfortunately we're still below 60 FPS at 2560 x 1600, but fortunately our 1920 x 1200 numbers are slightly more impressive.

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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While we're not able to make use of Crossfire here due to FF XIV running in windowed mode, the game does run a little faster thanks to those extra MHz on offer.

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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The overclock just makes the SF IV numbers become even bigger than they already are at all resolutions.

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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At the lower resolution you don't see much movement in the minimum department; across the board we do see a nice little bump in the averages, though.

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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Batman AA shows us a similar setup to Far Cry 2; little change in the minimums while averages see a nice bump across the board.

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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Turning on the pressure with AA, we really see some nice performance gains with our overclocks.
Page 14 [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.

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Not much extra heat is brought to the table with only a degree extra on both cards.

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 Overclocked 40 | TweakTown.com


Not much extra heat is brought to the table with only a degree extra on both cards.

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).

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Noise levels also continue to stay strong, being only slightly higher.

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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The idle power is up a little bit, but the overall load shows no difference.

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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When overclocked we see the performance doesn't jump any other cards. Saying that, though, it's a nice increase to the stock setup and it's right on the tail of the Super OC GTX 480 from Galaxy which is an absolute beast.

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.

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Value jumps a little thanks to the price staying the same, but performance being better.

Final Thoughts




Because we didn't have the chance to pump more voltage through the core, we knew that our overclock was never going to be as strong. Saying that, though, we did get a nice increase overall with the core finishing up at 840MHz and the memory jumping up 400MHz QDR to a nice 4400MHz QDR.

Overall we saw a really nice boost in performance across the board in all games and all resolutions and what we've ended up doing is making a setup that costs under $400 even more desirable.

The best thing is, once we've finally got some decent overclocking software that works on the Crossfire setup you're going to be able to achieve even higher clocks speeds and while it's fairly safe to say we won't see the same 1050MHz speeds that we saw on the GIGABYTE HD 6850 due to two cards being close together, we should be up and over 900MHz.

The value of these midrange cards means that going Crossfire on them is a good option. While the HD 5770 in Crossfire was a great little setup, the HD 5870 and its aggressive price meant that you really were better off getting just one of them. The current lack of HD 6900 series cards, though, and excellent scaling on the HD 6800 series means that this is a fantastic setup and while no doubt the HD 6900 series in Crossfire will perform even faster, they're going to cost more at the same time.

No doubt it'll be interesting to see how the new HD 6900 series competes against these more budget orientated Crossfire setups. If you're ready to get your game on, though, and your budget is around the $400 mark, don't think about getting one HD 6870 now and then another later down the track, because it rarely ever happens. Go out and pick up a pair of HD 6850s today, bump the clocks up a little and enjoy some awesome gaming.

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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.

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