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MSI R6850 Cyclone Power Edition Review


Closer Look:

Removing the MSI R6850 Cyclone Power Edition card from its protective anti static bag, I realized for the first time just how large this Cyclone heat sink really is! Make no mistake, this cooler dominates this card. Around the base are some very sturdy Intel-esque fins while the upper rim is filled by large, standard density fins that are fed by two heat pipes. Without the standard heat shroud, the card looks rather menacingly bare, for lack of a more passable description. Everything feels very sturdy and solid, however, and there is little to no flex found at any point along the card. The underside of the card is pretty standard for a 6850 but of course looks aren’t what we came for. The real draws of this card are in its 860Mhz core overclock, and it’s 4400MHz OC on the GDDR5 with the unlocked voltage adjustment via MSI’s own Afterburner application which should allow the card to clock much higher.











MSI made good choices when it came to onboard connectivity. The R6850 has two DVI ports, a standard sized DisplayPort and a HDMI 1.4a port. Since the Cyclone cooler vents back into the case, there was no need for an open shroud on the end of the card so MSI took the initiative to stamp a lovely logo on the empty space near the ports. On the back end of the card you get to see all the junk in the trunk. The cooler towers over the surrounding components with a wrapped fan cable tucked neatly away underneath. Along the edge towards the back, a single 6-Pin PCI-E power port sits all by its lonesome. Moving further forward, a crossfire bridge connection presents itself to allow for some dual or triple GPU action with its 6000 series counterparts.





This heat sink should have no issues dissipating the heat that the card will throw at it. I like that the fan is a standard fan rather than a blower style fan that most reference cards use. Generally speaking, these standard style fans are able to move more air at lower decibel readings.



With such a large factory overclock and the hardware to back it, it should come as no surprise that this card has the potential to create some serious heat. The product I see here though is well refined, there are no rough edges and heat sink’s surface is very smooth. There are no machining marks on the heat sink which is always a good sign but I’ll really be able to see the effectiveness of these design choices later on when we put this card to the test. One feature that stands out from other cards on the market currently is the fan control switch on the card itself. With a performance mode and a silent mode, a user could actively change the fan speed without accessing the software, useful on a test bench.


Let’s check out the official specs of this card and then see if they stack up to the OCC Test Bench Suite!

  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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