CES 2011 CoverageBosco -
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PowerColor is another one of AMD’s board partners that designs and builds its own video cards and falls under the TUL company umbrella. Much like Palit on the NVIDIA side of the graphics AIB partners, PowerColor's focus is on the consumer who wants something more than the reference offerings in terms of cooling and gaming performance. The first thing we were greeted with was a perfect example of this; a passively-cooled HD 6850. While the cooling solution design and size is not fully nailed down, the card is well on its way to mass production. This card is essentially the company's standard HD 6970, but uses heat pipe cooling to alleviate the noise generated by the reference cooling solution. Just across the walkway was a pair of power supplies that represent its Gaming and Extreme lineups. On display was a 600 watt PG series and a 1000 watt PE series.
The high end AMD graphics solutions were represented with PCS, PCS++, and LCS lineups this year. We got a look at the upcoming PCS++ that is equipped to make the popular HD 6950-to-HD 6970 flash with the Dual BIOS switch used on the HD 6950 and HD 6970 a reality for everyone — it even comes with a warranty. One of the concerns when making this flash (that seems to work on just about every reference HD 6950), is the fact that you are still running with an HD 6950 power circuit. The PCB used is beefed up with an improved VRM circuit to make sure you get the power you need and don't burn up the board components. Along this line, PowerColor has increased the power input to a pair of 8-pin peg power connections and increased the cooling via a large dual-fan heat pipe based cooling solution. Once released, this one should be a screamer. Next to these were a pair of HD 6800 series cards — the PCS+ HD 6870 and the HD 6850 PCS+, both reviewed by us earlier in the year.
Last year, the big card in the LCS product line was the LCS+ HD 5970 that saw a nice clock speed increase when an EK water block was added as the cooling solution. This year, the LCS lineup includes the just-released HD 6970. Anyone one who has tested a reference-cooled card can tell you about the howl emitted by the included blower fan. However, this card is not for everyone, as it requires that you connect it up to an existing water cooling system. For those that can take advantage of this requirement, you'll receive a card that is capable of increasing the performance and cooling of the card significantly. The Powerjack system shown below is used to support the latest heavyweight video cards so you do not damage the card or the PCIe slot on your motherboard due to the stress imposed on it.
This year there have been a proliferation of mini-ITX solutions that use AMD’s Fuzion APU. On display were both a fully-featured and a more bare bones example of the Brazos Platform. To make use of this platform, the TUL company is building two barebones Mini PCs — one with an ODD and the other without, for an even smaller space requirement.
It looks as though PowerColor is going to be shooting out a few really high-end cards to compete with the larger board partners, along with a few entries into the mini PC market.