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Sapphire Radeon HD6850 and HD6870 Review

Last updated on October 26th, 2010 at 02:13 pm

The Sapphire HD6850 arrives in a very subdued box with a well endowed lady on the front.There is mention of HDMI 1.4A support (with a cable) and a new overclocking tool called TriXX.

Specifications and information cover the back panel and focus is brought to all the awards Sapphire have earned over the years.

While there’s no free game, a comprehensive bundle has been supplied. A power converter cable, VGA adapter, Crossfire connector and high quality HDMI cable. Some literature is included to help inexperienced users. The TriXX software tool was still in development when we received this bundle, however we discuss it more later in the review.

The Sapphire HD6850 is supplied on an attractive blue PCB with custom designed cooler. This is a heatpipe design with an angular blade design keeping everything cool.

This fan is larger than the reference HD6850 design to improve cooling while lowering noise levels.

The Sapphire HD6850 adheres to the AMD reference design with support for 2x mini DP (1.2), HDMI 1.4a, and 2x DL-DVI and SL-DVI connectors. It requires a single 6 pin power connector to operate. We like the fact that this card will expel hot air out the back of the chassis.

The Sapphire cooler is a dual heatpipe design, with two thick pipes running to either side of the heatsink and passing heat through the stacks of fins.

Above, the naked card and a close up of the core and memory chips. These are Hynix H5GQ1H24AFR and we have seen them on many AMD cards in the past.

Game and performance testing was handled with another reference clocked card as the Sapphire board we received had 1120 shader cores.

The Sapphire HD6870 we received was an early ‘boxless’ version so we have no details on what will be supplied within the retail box. We would assume a similar bundle to the HD6850 above. All HD6870’s at launch are based around the reference AMD design, so we will not see custom, overclocked solutions until several weeks later.

The Sapphire HD6870 supports 2x mini DP (1.2), HDMI 1.4a, and 2x DL-DVI and SL-DVI connectors. It requires a two 6 pin power connectors to operate. In a similar fashion to the Sapphire HD6850, the HD6870 will expel hot air out the back of the chassis.

The reference HD6870 cooler is quite substantial, with a copper block running out to several small heatpipes. The fan is positioned on the far side so it forces air across the heatsink and out the rear of the case.

A GPUZ overview of the hardware. The Sapphire HD6870 is running at the reference clocks of 900mhz core and 1050mhz (4200mhz effective) via GDDR5 memory.

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