Hey I’m not one to brag, but this is a slick looking video card! It has the black cowling with the shiny silver stripes with the XFX logo staring you right in the face, but the thing that really stands out is the bright red fan right in the middle. Can you see it? Yeah, it’s right there. It looks like it has that Vapor-X style cooler with the aluminum fins surrounding the fan blades… yes, the red fan blades. One of things that really stood out to me was the mean looking black PCB. As you can see this has your standard PCI-E connector on the bottom. The card is 9″ long and will have very little problem fitting into most cases that are ATX compliant.
As we flip around to the rear of the card we can get a better look at that black PCB and we can also see that it features the same bracket on the back as all of its 6800 series brethren.
Here we have a closer look at the rear of the card and the six pin power connector. The XFX Radeon HD 6800 only requires one six pin power connector to power the card, but they do recommend that you use at least a 500 watt power supply to safely run the card. We can also see some vent holes in the back. I can’t quite tell if they are actually to ventilate the card or if they are just for looks as I have put my hand up against them and I don’t feel any air being pushed through them.
Now we move to the opposite side of the card and here we can see that the card has two DVI connectors as well as a display port adapter slot and an HDMI connector. You may have also noticed the vent hole here at the back that is cut into the XFX logo. I guess having the logo on the front of and top of the card wasn’t enough so they had to remind us of who made the card every time we plug our monitor in. Just kidding, I think it’s a classy touch.
Here is a close up look at the top of the card. As you can see, there are several slots that are molded into the top of the cowling; that is where a lot of hot air is released from the card. Go ahead and stick your hand over it… I dare you. You may also notice that there is only one Crossfire connector on the top of the card, and of course this means that you are only going to be able to connect one other card to it in your Crossfire setup. So, if you were hoping to do quad or triple Crossfire, it’s not going to happen. I have to admit I hope that this is something that they plan on changing in the future.
The fan on this card really does do an efficient job of moving heat away from the card as is witnessed later in the article in the temperature testing section. I wanted to give you guys a closer look at the fan because to me it looks very similar to the Vapor-X setup that I have on both of my 5770’s, and those two stay fairly cool themselves but at very high fan speeds.
The XFX Radeon HD 6850 seems to accomplish the same thing but with lower fan speeds. One thing that I would like to mention about the fan on this particular card is that it is really quiet during idle, but when you put a load on the card and it starts to ramp up in speed it gives off the shrill, metallic type sound but then goes away once the fans reach full speed. I would hate to get caught in the range of the fan speed that produces that sound as it would distract me to no end. At the higher speeds the fans can be a bit loud but nothing that a killer headset and a fun game won’t drown out.
If you set the fan on the card to auto it seems to hover right around the 40% mark during idle and, of course, it gets higher as the card gets hotter. Once the card reaches around 60% the fan noise is noticeable. If you go above the 70% mark you are going to know that this card is in the house. On all of the hardcore benchmarks I ran for the overclocking section I ran the fan at 100% and you knew it was there; the drag was… so did the rest of the room.