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Sapphire Radeon HD6850 and HD6870 Review

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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  • JC

    Your 6850 have 1120 sharders. o_o”

  • harry

    these are really good cards, love the performance and price.

  • Hank

    Excellent boards those, really look the part and performance is awesome. overclocking is great !

  • P1n3apqlExpr3ss

    Shit… haha 6850 is a killer card and guess what? its right in the price range im looking at 😀
    Only thing i can say reading other reviews is that the 6850 reference cooler is pretty weak. These sapphire cards look great for the money 😀 (6850) will reserve judgement til i seem overclocked 6870s

  • Tri Color

    Killer card indeed, couldnt agree more.

  • Terrid Fayid

    HD6870 is good, but I dont like reference designs, too noisy/hot/ I will wait for sapphires or XFXs custom cooling one.

  • Harris

    HD6870 is the one I would get, but not reference version. will wait a month for vapor X or toxic version.

  • Trev

    6870 reference design is a waste, waiting on other solutions

  • steve

    the hd6870 isn’t my first choice until they get third party products out of the stable,

    Its always the way with launches, but its weird AMD have let their partners make third party solutions for 6850s

  • Jon

    over clocked HD6870s might be hard to get out the door with such poor over clocks on the core. seems both boards max out around 950

  • Frank

    While these cards aren’t awe inspiring, when you look at the price 150 for a 6850. about the same as the 5770. 25% more performance, looks good.

  • Lux

    those overclocks on the 50 are great. id say overclocked versions will be out really soon. vapor x anyone ?

  • Michael

    As JC stated, this 6850 has 1120 shaders instead of the default 960…

  • Tech head

    The bottom gpuz screenshot is for the 6870

  • Ned

    I get the same 3dmark vantage score as this HD6850. I was hoping I might even up with a 1120 shader version but sadly not 🙁

  • @ Jon

    I saw in another review that they managed to get the Sapphire 6870’s core clock to 1000mHz stable. I’m sure if put under water, these cards will have a bit more overclocking headroom anyway.

  • Efe Eren Kaya