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Overclocked AMD Radeon HD 6850 Duel - HIS vs. MSI

Overclocked AMD Radeon HD 6850 Duel - HIS vs. MSI



Conclusion

A Close Call...

As we had expected, the MSI R6850 Cyclone II Power Edition OC with its higher clock speeds recorded higher frame rates than the HIS 6850 IceQ X Turbo. Even though the difference was slight, the fact is that the MSI card is able to distinguish itself from its competitors as one of the fastest Radeon HD 6850 cards in the market today.

When it came to overclocking, the HIS 6850 IceQ X Turbo managed to edge out the MSI card by a smidge. It managed a maximum overclocking state of 1020MHz at the core and 4800MHz DDR at the memory, achieving 7834 3DMarks, 171 3DMarks or just 2% more than the MSI card, which achieved 7663 3DMarks with 1000MHz at the core and 4800MHz DDR at the memory. Again, the difference between the two cards are not much.

The most notable distinction between the two cards is probably the effectiveness of their custom coolers. Under load, the MSI card was 5 degrees Celsius cooler than the HIS card. Even so, the two cards recorded two of the coolest temperatures we’ve ever had for a Radeon HD 6850, so even the difference in operating temperature isn't that much cause of a concern. Consider this, even the warmer HIS card was still a considerable 9 degrees Celsius cooler than the Sapphire card which won in our Tech Awards 2011 ceremony based on the available Radeon HD 6850 cards at the point of assessment then.

At US$189, the two cards are similarly priced, so all things considered, the MSI R6850 Cyclone II Power Edition OC is the card we would spend our own money on because it is both faster and cooler, and it is the best all-round Radeon HD 6850 card we've tested to date based on today's round-up and the previous set of seven cards tested. Hence, it gets our Winner Award for best Radeon HD 6850 tested.

However, that is not to say the HIS IceQ X Turbo is not a good card because it fights back with its slightly superior overclocking performance, and besides, it is not that much slower nor warmer than the MSI card to be a cause for concern. Therefore, the two cards get an overall rating of 8.5 because despite the superior 'paper performance' of the MSI card, we do not think that it is that much better than the HIS card to warrant a better overall rating.

In the end, between the two cards, we think it really boils down to a matter of personal preference. In the grand scheme of things, the two cards are both excellent takes on the Radeon HD 6850. The MSI card might be a tad better, but you won't be missing out on too much if you pick HIS too. Also, considering that the recent launch of the Radeon HD 6790 isn't too stunning in its value proposition, it seems like the Radeon HD 6850 is the way to go.

Final Ratings