GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked

GIGABYTE slaps the Windforce cooler on the HD 6850 and we put it through its paces by overclocking the heck out of it. Find out if we cracked that 1GHz mark.

Manufacturer: GIGABYTE
14 minutes & 19 seconds read time

Introduction and Package


GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 02

With another 960 SP HD 6850 arrived, it was time to check out the model again when it came to overclocking. The particular one we're looking at today comes from GIGABYTE and carries with it the Windforce cooler which is the dual fan one we've been seeing from the company for a while now.

Today we want to find out how it goes on the HD 6850, one of our favorite new midrange cards and see what it does for us when it comes to overclocking. We've seen people reach the 1GHz mark on the core clock and today that was our aim with the help of some extra voltage on that core.

Since we haven't looked at the GIGABYTE version of the HD 6850, we'll be first checking out the package before we get into the card. Once we've done that we'll have a quick look at the specifications before we go into more detail on the overclock we managed to achieve. With that done it's time to get into the fun stuff and see what the overclock does for performance. For now, though, let's check out the package.

The Package

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 03

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 04

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 05

Checking out the package GIGABYTE has put together, you're not going to really see anything you haven't seen before. We've got a fairly standard box design going on and inside we've got the normal paperwork, driver CD and convertors.

Card and Specifications

The Card

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 06

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 07

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 08

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 09

Looking at the card, you're not going to see anything that you haven't really seen before with the Windforce cooler having already been spotted on a few other GIGABYTE cards. A quick look around the card also doesn't yield any surprises; we've got a single 6-Pin PCI-E connector, Crossfire connector and connectivity is in the form of a Dual-Link DVI, Single-Link DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort.


Like all the other HD 6850s we've looked at already, it comes as no surprise that the one we're looking at from GIGABYTE today carries with it the standard clock speeds. Since we know how the HD 6850 performs at stock, though, we thought with the help of Sapphires TRIXX and a voltage bump to 1.299v we would see what happens when we overclock.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 01

I bumped the core up, bumped the memory up, ran Vantage and did that more times than I would prefer to think about. Eventually we ended up with some very nice clocks; 1050MHz on the core and 4700MHz on the 1GB of GDDR5.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 99

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 thing we'll be looking at today is the OC performance of the card compared to its counterpart at stock. Just for good measure, though, we've included the HD 6870 at stock and overclock along with the HD 5870.

Let's get started!

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 20

Straight out the gate we're seeing some awesome gains with the massive overclock. You can see we're even well past the stock clocked HD 6870 which is very impressive.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 21

We continue to see very strong performance here. The GIGABYTE at over 1GHz falls only behind the HD 6870 which is over 1GHz. The HD 6850 is no doubt looking mighty impressive when overclocked so high.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 22

Very strong performance across the board; you can see compared to stock we've got some good gains and we continue to be well over that 60 FPS average that we want to get.

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:
Product Homepage:

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 23

H.A.W.X. sees some very impressive numbers with the overclock. You can see at the highest resolution the HD 6850 at stock managed to just scrape past that 60 FPS average we want. At over 1GHz we fly past it with the performance overtaking the stock clocked HD 6870.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 24

While performance at 2560 x 1600 is below 60 FPS, you can see we've got good numbers at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. Like H.A.W.X. as well; at stock we can see the 60 FPS average is just seen, in this case at 1920 x 1200. At over 1GHz, though, we fly past it getting well into the 70s.

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:
Product Homepage:

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."

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 25

We see a nice improvement over the stock clocked card, but our numbers across the board are too low under LP2 with these settings.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 26

While we're under the 60 FPS at all resolutions, you can see at over 1GHz we're right on the edge of it at 1680 x 1050. There's clearly some serious power to be had from the HD 6850.

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:
Product Homepage:

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 27

Very strong performance is seen under FF XIV with the overclock. We again see it falls only second to the overclocked HD 6870 which is also at over 1GHz.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 28

Street Fighter really sees some big numbers as it is, but we always appreciate even bigger ones.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 29

Across the board we see a bit of movement in the minimum numbers, but the best gains are clearly seen in the overall average.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 30

Batman AA performance is improved across the board and we continue to see some really good numbers at all resolutions.

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 31

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 32

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 33

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 34

We continue to see the gains with AA turned on, but unfortunately apart from SF IV the numbers are at unplayable levels still.

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 40

Even with the extra voltage flowing through the card the temps are very impressive with the Windforce cooling better than other HD 5850s which don't have their speeds adjusted.

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).

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 41

Noise levels are a little on the higher side, but nothing serious. As long as we're not going much higher than the 63 - 64dB mark we're pretty happy.

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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 42

Power draw continues to be good on the model and any good PSU won't have any problems dealing with the HD 6850.

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 (No CF Support), 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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 50

The HD 6850 isn't the fastest card on the market; that's no surprise at under $200. But you can see the GIGABYTE version overclocked by us to over 1GHz yields some awesome performance.

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 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.

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card Overclocked 51

While the performance might not sit at the top of the pile, it's a different picture for the value. At over 1GHz the card just sky rockets to the top of the leader board.

Final Thoughts

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!

What do awards mean? Click for details!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf

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.

Newsletter Subscription
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.
Newsletter Subscription
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles