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MSI R6850 Cyclone Power Edition Review



Running with a pack of wolves is a dangerous venture at best. In this case, I’d say that MSI has just about mastered the execution. Sure the package may lack theming and yes, the card might look a little barren but really now, why should I care? It’s not really the presentation that matters with PC internals, it’s the performance. It’s about the magical price-to-performance ratio that really pulls a computer together for the common consumer so with this card MSI is definitely in the right. Pricing such a highly binned card that can clock right up with a 6870 I recently reviewed at a sub-$200 price is a very daring feat. The fact that this card competes even remotely close to the rest of the cards here is impressive because of one simple fact: the rest of the cards run over $100 more than this card, all for a drop of 5-10 fps in most cases. When the game is playable regardless, those extra frames really don’t make a $100 difference.

MSI is very good about hyping their Cyclone series heat sink and based on this review, for good reason. The R6850 Cyclone Power Edition performed admirably in the temperature testing, maintaining homeostasis within its realm with refinement and poise. The card is much quieter than a majority of reference cooling solutions out there making it an ideal pull for gamers and movie watchers alike. Perhaps making the card a quality bid for that dorm room build you’ve been planning forever? After all, the card’s Blu-ray enhanced encoding algorithm was one of the three things that MSI decided necessary to plaster on the rear of the package in 30 different languages, it MUST be pretty good video! Kidding, but seriously, the card has definite potential to be an excellent universal contender, especially with that handy hardware fan switch that can quiet the card down even further for movie enjoyment.

Performance matters, this is a known fact. Although this card may not be at the forefront of the Red vs. Green on an FPS standpoint, it is there on value and it comes in swinging. I feel that this 6850 rendition adds a lot to the AMD stronghold and really fills out the body of their market quite nicely. I have quite a few friends who enjoy PC gaming so much that it consumes their life, so much in fact that they find it difficult to amass the income to upgrade their beloved machine on a reasonable basis and are stuck at the lowest settings possible when a game even runs. That seems like an awful shame treating the die-hards so roughly. Releasing all these new parts that tech savvy enthusiasts such as you, our OCC readers can salivate over, along with prices reminiscent of expanded pay checks we would likewise salivate over. MSI has hit a balance. Offering an already good card at a reasonable price to those that want it, as well as an insane value for those brave hearts that know and want that extra performance offered by the impressive overclocks offered here. If that’s not good enough then make a compromise. Buy two, call it $360, plop the cards into a beautiful Crossfire link and go to town with everything turned all the way up and frames to spare. MSI has brought this beast to the table. It’s time for an upgrade.



  • Great Cooling
  • Tons of Overclocking Headroom
  • Great Stock Performance
  • Power Efficiency
  • Noise Level
  • Bin Quality
  • Eyefinity support
  • Price



  • Bland Designs
OCC Gold

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup
  5. Testing: Alien vs Predator
  6. Testing: Metro 2033
  7. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  8. Testing: Tom Clancy's HAWX 2
  9. Testing: Lost Planet 2
  10. Testing: Unigine 2.5
  11. Testing: Just Cause 2
  12. Testing: Mafia II
  13. Testing: Battlefield Bad Company 2
  14. Testing: 3DMark 11
  15. Testing: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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