If you want to spend under $200 on a discrete graphics card you have a large number of choices, but one card that recently managed to catch our attention is the AMD Radeon HD 7850. The AMD Radeon HD 7850 came out on March 4, 2012 and cost $249.99 when we originally reviewed the reference card. This video card is now seven months old and the price for an entry level AMD Radeon HD 7850 card has fallen below the $160 price point, which is impressive. One video card that stands out in particular is the XFX Radeon HD 7850 1GB Core Edition (FX785AZNFC) as it appears to be the lowest priced AMD Radeon HD 7800 series card on the market today at $159.99 after rebate. One of the reasons that this card is priced so low is that XFX is using just 1GB of GDDR5 memory instead of 2GB. By slicing the amount of memory in half, XFX was able to obviously reduce costs, but what about overall gaming performance? The point of this review is to see if 1GB of ‘VRAM’ on a Radeon HD 7850 is adequate for 1920×1080 gaming with the settings cranked up!
The XFX Radeon HD 7850 Core Edition 1GB is one of nine AMD Radeon HD 7850 based cards offered by XFX. The part number on the card that we are looking at today is FX-785A-ZNFC and this particular model features a core clock of 860MHz and a memory clock of 1200MHz (4800MHz effective). As you can see from the image above the card uses the a single cooling fan to keep the 1,024 stream processors and 2.8 billion transistors in this 28nm GPU nice and cool!
Turning the XFX Radeon HD 7850 Core Edition 1GB video card over we don’t find too many interesting things as the card doesn’t have a back plate or any of the GDDR5 memory chips on the back of the PCB. The serial number sticker is the most important thing that is located on the
back of the R7850. The PCB of the card measures ~7.75″ in length and stands at ~4.4″ in height. We used a pair of dial calipers and found the mounting holes around the GPU use a 53x53mm mounting hole pattern in case you are curious about mounting a water block or a third party GPU cooler.
We noticed that the GPU cooler screws have stickers on them and if you remove them or break the seal to get to the screws it will terminate the two year warranty that XFX places the Radeon 7800 series cards depending on your region. After talking with XFX we were able to confirm this for all regions except North America. For some reason they allow customers in North America to remove those stickers and their warranty will still be intact. We also learned that XFX doesn’t care if you change the GPU cooler and thermal paste just as long as you re-install all the original equipment before you return it. If the card is put back to stock when you send it in, all is said to be good.
XFX went with Elpida GDDR5 memory IC’s with part number W1032BBBG for the XFX Radeon HD 7850 1GB Core Edition video card. These memory IC’s have a speed rating of 50-F, which means they are rated at 5.0Gbps at 1.5V+/-0.045. This card comes with the memory running at 4.8Gbps, so there might not be much overclocking headroom on the memory chips.
The XFX Radeon HD 7850 has a pair of mini-DisplayPort 1.2
connectors, a full size HDMI 1.4a output for 3D video (Blu-ray 3D)
support, and a dual-link DVI-I when it comes to video outputs. The AMD
Radeon HD 7800 series supports up to six DisplayPort displays by
“daisy chaining” them to two mini-DisplayPort outputs. XFX also placed
their logo in the exhaust fan as you can see in the image above.
The XFX Radeon HD 7850 has one CrossFire interconnect, so you can
link up to two of these cards together for improved performance. Notice that there is a large 1.7-inch gap between the PCB and the fan shroud along the entire top edge of the card. The vast majority of the hot air from the fan is exhausted out here and back into the system rather than out the rear exhaust port on the card
The XFX R7850 has one 6-pin PCIe connector located along the end of
the PCB that need to be hooked up. This card requires a 500W or greater power supply with one 75W 6-pin PCIe
connector for proper operation.
The XFX R7850 1GB Core Edition video card uses Ghost Thermal Technology to keep everything nice and cool. This GPU cooler uses HSF solution that has a copper base that is connected to two large 8mm copper heat pipes that transfer heat to aluminum fin cooling arrays. In the middle you’ll find a single 65mm cooling fan that moves air across the fins to keep temperatures down.
Let’s take a look at the retail box & bundle next and then move on to testing this bad boy out in some games!