The XFX Radeon HD 6850 (XFX HD-685X-ZNBC) card was a pleasure to work with as we ran into almost no problems at all with any of the benchmarks we ran. Although it did struggle a little with some of the more intensive benchmarks like Heaven and 3D Mark 11, it had no problem putting up really decent numbers in all of the video games we threw at it. And you get the killer door hanger seen below; that alone is worth the price just to have some privacy.
With a very nice looking, sleek black look the card will definitely catch the eye of those who get a look at it. But as we learned, beauty isn’t everything. A great example of that is that when the card starts to get hot the fan starts to rev up to keep it cool for us; it’s just too bad that it gets a little too loud and seems to have this almost metal screeching sound when it starts to hit the higher RPM’s. Now, let’s keep in mind, too, that the sound did go away once it reached a certain speed, but if you happen to fall into the speed range where it made that noise it gets really irritating really fast.
I played a ton of games on the XFX Radeon HD 6850 and loved every minute of it, even though I am used to a cross fire setup. Unless I was looking at the FPS meter in game I couldn’t visibly tell the difference between the two setups. At a price like $176.99 with a double lifetime warranty it was well within the same price range of the other cards at this performance point. All in all this was by far one of the most interesting reviews I have ever done. I am going to go and try to tweak this card now so that I can rid it of that sound when it starts to speed up.
When it came down to it this card was an overclocking monster. A 23% stable overclock is nothing to scoff at, and I think it had more room to work with. If you are less chicken than me go for it and see how far you can take this card. Compared to the 5770’s the XFX Radeon HD 6850 was way more agreeable to overclocking. With the 5770’s I could only get to around 960 MHz before I was afraid to go any further. So to break the 1GHz mark with this card was killer to me.
So now I know the question you are all asking is, “How does this card fare against year old technology?” The answer there is… after taking a look at all of the benchmarks there is roughly a 30% performance increase for your $159.99 investment. To make it plain and simple in 2009 you got 49 FPS in Furmark for your $159.99 investment and in 2011 you get 65 FPS for the same money. Now if you want to improve that and go with the Black edition that we looked at today you can add $20 to the price tag and that nets you about 5 more FPS, or if you have the guts to tackle an overclock of over 1GHz you can look forward to 81 FPS. All of the aforementioned Furmark ratings were at a resolution of 1680×1050. Do you have the GUTS?
The Legit Bottom Line: Although the XFX Radeon HD 6850 had a few minor problems overall it was a good card that put up respectable numbers in some of the most popular games played today. Hey, did I mention how it overclocks? If I didn’t I should have.