AMD Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 Overclocked Round-up

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Introduction



As enthusiasts, one of the things we can always count on is the never-ending progression of computer hardware. Year after year, video cards get faster, processors offer more cores and / or performance, and motherboards provide additional features. That top of the line, $500 GPU you bought a few years ago can't touch the performance of a $200 graphics card available today. Yes, it's tough to keep up with the rapid pace of technology. But by shopping smarter, you minimize the chance of feeling buyer's remorse a few months down the road.  


Right on cue, a new year brings a new series of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA. The trio of video cards we're looking at today are designed to provide the best bang for your buck. These factory overclocked Radeon HD 6800 series graphics cards from PowerColor and HIS have made their way into our testing lab, and it's time once again for another round up.


Some might glance over these products and wonder what the hook is. Any time a new series of graphics cards are launched by ATI or NVIDIA, it is common for add in board (AIB) partners to tweak various features so that consumers have even more attractive options to choose from, beyond the original reference design. Well, each one of the cards here has taken the basic blueprint from AMD, and gone a step further. In addition to higher GPU speeds, they also provide improved cooling solutions. The heatsinks have been redesigned to provide improved cooling in order to handle the increased frequencies that are set for their graphics engines, while also reducing noise output. Read on to find out if one of them has what it takes to be your next upgrade.

Overclocked AMD Radeon Mid-Range GPU Round-up
Let's Get It On!

PowerColor HD 6870 PCS+
940 MHz Core / 1100 MHz Memory
$274*
HIS HD 6870 Fan Turbo
920 MHz Core / 1120 MHz Memory
$259*
PowerColor HD 6850 PCS+
820 MHz Core / 1100 MHz Memory
$209*
                 * Current street pricing


When compared to reference design models, these cards command higher prices due to their improved features and performance. The PowerColor HD 6870 PCS+ sells for $274 at the moment, considerably more than a stock HD 6870, which we've seen as low as $229. In addition, the HIS HD 6870 Fan Turbo can be purchased for $259. The PowerColor HD 6850 PCS+ goes for $209, a $50 price premium over the most affordable HD 6850 we spotted ($169). Now let's take a closer look at each one to see how they differ and how much of a boost you can expect to see from them in various benchmarks.

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