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XFX HD6850 Dual Fan CFx review – ultimate gaming for £300 ?

Rating: 9.0.

Without question, 2010 has been a great year for gamers. Both AMD and nVidia have released fantastic graphics cards at all price points and there really has never been a better time to upgrade your system.

If you had £300 burning a hole in your wallet and wanted to improve your gaming system, what makes the best value for money purchase?

There are many options to choose from. On the nVidia side you could opt for the ever popular GTX460’s in SLi, or perhaps the stunning new GTX570. If you prefer AMD graphics cards then you could opt for a HD6970, or even a Crossfire solution … but which?

This is why we are here today and it gives us a good opportunity to look at the new XFX HD6850 dual fan cooler cards. At £144.15 each including vat, you could pick up a Crossfire setup for under £300 …. but does it make sense?

To compare today we are putting the XFX HD6850’s head to head against a selection of performance video cards from various manufacturers. The only criteria is that they must not exceed a price point of £300 inc vat. Later in the review we will also show how the HD6850 cards perform across three screens. We also present some video footage of the cards in action. AMD are leading the way with three screen gaming right now, and trust me, it really is something you need to experience first hand to truly appreciate.

First lets look at the potential solutions for the single screen performance gaming section of our review:

Palit GeForce GTX 460 Sonic 1GB GDDR5 (in Sli)

We couldn’t have a £300 performance gaming test without including the GTX460 in SLi. The only problem was finding a 1GB card that was selling in the UK right now for £150 (or less) inc vat. Our good friends at Yoyotech supplied us with two of the Palit Sonic cards which run at 700mhz core and 3600mhz memory. Two of these cost £280 inc vat, so we are well within the monetary limits.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 570 1280MB GDDR5

Next up is the Inno3d GTX570, another card we have reviewed. This nVidia solution is £283 inc vat, so it falls within the £300 guidelines with room to spare. It is the highest performing single chip gaming solution on the market right now (under £300), although it doesn’t support 3 screen gaming. Unless you buy two.

HIS Radeon HD 6970 2GB GDDR5

We have reviewed many AMD HD 6970’s, and as they are all reference clocked right now we opted for the best deal. The HIS HD6970 retails for £284 inc vat meaning it falls well within our £300 limit.

Product HIS HD 6970 XFX HF6850 Inno3d GTX570 Palit GTX 460 (oc)
Shader Units
1600
960
480
336
ROPs
32
32
40
32
Memory Count
2GB
1GB
1.28GB
1GB
Memory Bus Width
256 bit
256 bit
320bit
256 bit
Core Clock
880 mhz
775 mhz
732 mhz
700 mhz
Memory Clock
1375 mhz
1000 mhz
950 mhz
900 mhz
Price
£284
£144 (x2 £290)
£283
£140 (x2 £280)

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