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ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU OC Edition Review

ccokeman    -   November 25, 2010
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Testing:

Testing the ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU Overclock Edition video card will consist of running it and a suite of comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where it falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel. I will test the card at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. The drivers used in this test will be the 10.10 Catalyst drivers for AMD and the 260.89 Forceware drivers from NVIDIA for all cards save the GTX 580. Tests will be conducted at both stock and overclocked settings to gauge performance when an increase in clock speed is applied. There is a change in how our graphs are now setup with the card being tested highlighted in RED for AMD Radeon products and GREEN for NVIDIA based video cards. As our tests are very comprehensive, we hope this makes it a little bit easier to pick them out of the crowd. The cards are placed in order from highest to lowest performing.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

  • ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU OC Edition 983/1184MHz

Overclocking the EAH6850 DirectCU Overclock Edition video card was accomplished using ASUS's own Smart Doctor software to increase the clock speeds on both the memory and Barts core. When the HD 6800 series came out initially there were no utilities to increase the voltage to the card to allow for a higher level of overclocking. Then we got to see a utility from Sapphire and MSI's afterburner finally allowed voltage tuning on these cards. With those utilities the voltage levels you can set are limited to 1.30 volts. ASUS has allowed the use of up to 1.35v so you can gain the highest possible overclock as long as the cooling holds out. The factory clock speed of this card is 790Mhz on the 40nm core and 1000MHz on the GDDR5 memory, a 15MHz bump on the core and 50MHz bump on the memory before I even touched the clock speeds. Knowing where the last few HD 6850 cards I have tested reached in terms of clock speed gave me a good indication of where this one might fall so I went straight for 1000Mhz on the core and 1200Mhz on the memory with the voltage bumped to 1.275. Unfortunately I just could not persuade it to finish at this speed and continued to test and tweak until the card could pass the most difficult runs through Crysis Warhead and and Unigine. I found that 983/1184Mhz at 1.265 was the most stable combination of clock speed and voltage that was able to complete the entire test suite without failure or corruption of the video imaging. I feel there is more in the card based on ASUS's forward thinking designs but the cooling starts to get overwhelmed when really pushing the voltage to the core. By dropping the voltage and clock speeds down 10 to 15Mhz from the ragged edge will allow you to get a measurable increase in performance while still keeping the card cool for a long lifespan. The overclocks that I was able to reach measure out at 190Mhz on the core and 184Mhz on the memory or just shy of 25% on the core and 18% on the memory. Both of these increases are well worth the effort to gain some additional performance.

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

MSI's Kombuster utility was used to test stability and to put a constant load on the GPU for the purposes of testing maximum power draw and temperatures. The stability test was used to find a range of settings that are stable through a 15 minute run at 1920 x 1200 8xAA. The reported clock speeds are those that proved stable over a 15 minute test at 1920 x 1200, 8x AA and the run through the benchmarks suite.

   

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
  7. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  8. Resident Evil 5
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: The Video Card
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Far Cry 2
  6. Testing: Metro 2033
  7. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  8. Testing: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  9. Testing: Just Cause 2
  10. Testing: Unigine 2.1
  11. Testing: Batman Arkham Asylum
  12. Testing: Resident Evil 5
  13. Testing: 3DMark 06
  14. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  15. Testing: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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