Sapphire HD 6850 1GB Vapor-X Editionairman -
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The Sapphire HD6850 Vapor-X is certainly a potent card given its statistics. Most cards now have moved to the 2GB range, and even though this card only sports a total of 1GB, it still performs quite well — even at high resolutions. The Vapor-X technology it possesses as its cooler does a great job at keeping the temperatures down at a full, overclocked load. Even though at full speed, it is quite LOUD, its still quieter than the blower style coolers that we've seen for years. It overclocked well. In fact, it actually achieved the highest clock speed out of all of the comparison cards. The memory on the other hand wasn't really anything special. I didn't really check the scaling between the core and the memory alone, so I can't really say which one had a greater affect on the performance of the card. I can say, however, that under the temperatures that I saw while I was pushing it as far as I did, it leaves me with the impression of a very good and efficient cooler.
I did find that the Sapphire HD6850 Vapor-X edition outperformed the GTX460 in some cases. That can be more or less a blanket statement for all other HD6850s. The average price of a GTX460 is right there about $170 or so, depending on the vendor and the make of the card. Unless you plan on gaming at resolutions greater than 1920x1200, you may want to look elsewhere. Other than that, my general thoughts about the card itself is that underneath the cooler, it's really nothing special. For the $170 price tag, it's a little steep for the performance return that you'll receive. What you do get over other cards is the free DiRT3 coupon and a top-notch cooler but unfortunately, that's about it. Some HD6850 models can be found for under $130 at certain vendors, which asks the question if the extra cooling performance and the "free" DiRT3 coupon is worth the extra $40. Of course, over the next month or two the price should come down since it appears the availability of this card is sparse and only a couple of people are carrying it — leading to less competition on the product.
Anyways, this isn't a card that I would tell people to go rush out and buy. It's not really for everyone, plus it's not like it's new and groundbreaking. For someone who wants to add another card to their setup and enable Crossfire and stay at stock clocks, money could probably be saved by not getting this card. However, for someone who wants to keep it under $200 and is looking for some money to save, wants a free game and still wants to overclock a good bit while keeping things cool and relatively quiet (and maybe is more partial to AMD cards), the Sapphire HD6850 Vapor-X isn't a bad choice for sure.
- Great temperatures
- Includes DiRT3 Coupon
- Core overclocks very well
- Cooler is not as loud as others at full speed
- A bit more expensive than other HD6850s