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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
Memory Count
Memory Bus Width
256 bit
256 bit
256 bit
Core Clock
880 mhz
775 mhz
732 mhz
700 mhz
Memory Clock
1375 mhz
1000 mhz
950 mhz
900 mhz
£144 (x2 £290)
£140 (x2 £280)

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  • Jupe

    Christ thats a lot of work. those cards are brilliant for 145. great for a future upgrade if you bought one now.

  • Tech Head

    fucking A1 man. great work

  • Tri Color

    Very very very very nice. I like the cooler design from XFX. these guys are delivering

  • Luke

    Lovely. liked the videos too. I must get that battlefield game, keep meaning to.

  • Stefan

    great design from XFX< especially the power drain and noise. excellent

    Also, have to hand it to you, quality of reviews this week has been top drawer.

  • Hank

    A good point was made on the crossfire driver profiles. are they any faster out of the drawer with them now ? they seemed to be slow in the past.

  • KoRn

    nice performance, but im saving for a 6990. if its good, It better be.


    Keep em coming, but I too am waiting on 6990 review next year. im all set for reading. you got one already Zardon?

  • Francis

    Read this over a cup of tea. what a great article and i liked the rating system, its hard to work out later what did what and what is performing better in which engnie.

    HAWX2 seems like a total farce to me.

  • Troy

    Wicked. The prices of all these cards now are great. still got my GTX460 and love it, no need to move, but ive my eyes on the GTX580, if I ever get the money.

  • Hunting for my mojo

    Am I the only one who finds the new AMD range a little underwhelming? id expected the HD6900 series to do more. these are good cards though for the money.

  • Julian McGregor

    I am ordering these for my son for his birthday in January. if I order now I might get them in time, due to the crap weather here 🙁

  • Colin smyth

    Hard to beat this at the price, I’m sold

  • F1re5torm

    Excellent idea. Unfortuantely AMD can be slow with profiles for CFX sometimes so performance would be much worse

  • Jeremy

    Good detail, 6850s are good value cards, I like this design from xfx

  • Kevin baxter

    Shame scan won’t deliver before Christmas because of our shitty weather. 🙁

  • Garry

    I’ve no idea why AMD and XFX are selling 6850s with such low core clocks, they have huge headroom.

  • Lampchop

    Ordering anything in the UK now is a waste of time, but this card is worth 144 quid ! will wait till new year before deciding anything, but its one of the top 3 choices for me. (not ordering two though, ive only one screen).

  • MDnDdeiela

    nothing to say, but well done. liked the article.

  • Jonny

    Excellent editorial piece from KG. cards are very good, I already have a powercolour HD5850, but I might upgrade next year to a 6950. Crossfire is great in principle, but I had issues with a older cfx setup. never again.