Introducing the Cards
ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU
Taiwanese components giants ASUS was one of the first to release custom editions of the Radeon HD 6850 and their take on the new AMD GPU makes use of their effective DirectCU cooler. The cooler is termed such because it has copper heat pipes that are in direct contact with the GPU core, which ASUS says this keeps the card up to 20% cooler.
On top of that, the card comes mildly overclocked getting a slight 15MHz bump at the core to bring it up to 790MHz, whereas memory clock speeds remain unchanged at 4000MHz DDR. For adventurous users, the card also features ASUS’ Voltage Tweak utility which lets users increase voltage values for greater overclocking potential.
Gigabyte HD 6850
The Gigabyte HD 6850 might come with stock clocks - 775MHz at the core, 4000MHz DDR - but it makes up for that with Gigabyte’s very own Windforce 2X cooler with large 80mm dual fans. What’s unique about Windforce coolers is that they are specially designed to reduce turbulence. By letting air flow quickly and smooth over the heatsink, cooling efficiency is improved. To better understand Gigabyte’s Windforce coolers, it’s best you check out their microsite.
Judging from the massive 90mm fan, the MSI R6850-PM2DIGD5 (henceforth known simply as MSI R6850) is obviously a firm believer of the saying “size matters”. But sadly, despite the sizable fan, the card still sports reference clock speeds, which means 775MHz at the core and 4000MHz DDR. Fortunately, to make up for that, the card comes bundled with the latest version of MSI’s popular Afterburner overclocking utility, which lets users overclock the card for greater performance.
PowerColor PCS+ HD 6850
The PCS+ line of cards from PowerColor comes factory overclocked and are fitted with custom “Professional Cooling System” coolers, and the PCS+ HD 6850 is no different. In the case of the PCS+ HD 6850, the card has a massive 95mm fan and underneath the fan is amalgam of cooling fins and thick heat pipes. And to fully capitalize on the cooler, the card is factory overclocked at 820MHz at the core and 4400MHz DDR, which should give it a significant performance boost when compared to a reference card.