The tests were performed in a controlled air conditioned room with temperatures maintained at a constant 25c – a comfortable environment for the majority of people reading this.
Idle temperatures were measured after sitting at the desktop for 30 minutes. Load measurements were acquired by playing Crysis Warhead for 30 minutes and measuring the peak temperature. We also have included Furmark results, recording maximum temperatures throughout a 30 minute stress test. All fan settings were left on automatic.
The customised solution on the HD6850 delivers great results, with a maximum peak of 60c when gaming. Furmark pushes the core 9c higher, although the fan is very moderately paced, more on this shortly.
The HD6870 is a reference design with the standard AMD cooler and as such gets a little hotter. The results are still very good however, reaching only 65c when gaming.
Return to ambient is a feature we have recently added to our reviews … we measure the time it takes for a solution to return to idle temperatures, immediately after full load. The faster the time, the better the cooler – for example a Noctua NH D14 cooler will return an Intel processor to idle temperatures much faster than a reference cooler. This is a good indication of how quickly a heatsink can dissipate heat.
The improved cooling solution on the Sapphire HD6850 means it can return to idle in 15 seconds, 7 seconds faster than the reference HD6870 cooler. When Sapphire get the chance to enhance the HD6870, we can expect low temperatures and a faster return to idle state.