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MSI R6850 Cyclone Power Edition Review



Testing of the MSI R6850 Cyclone Power Edition OC will mean running the card through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors in order to gauge its performance. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea on 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 is disabled in the NVIDIA control panel when applicable. I will test the card at stock speeds and then overclocked to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with or faster than the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. Of course, all settings are left at defaults in the control panels of each respective manufacturer except where noted. I really want to see just how fast this card can fly!


Comparison Video Cards:



Overclocked Settings:

  • MSI R6850 Power Edition OC

With a card that focuses so heavily on function over form, the write up leading to the testing section can build a lot of tension as to whether this product will be worth anything or simply flop. Allow me to allay any fears, this card does not disappoint. It was not, however, a process without hiccups. I began with the software that MSI included on the driver disc, Afterburner version 2.0.0. As it turns out, this version is not one that supports the new card it was bundled with. I could not make any voltage tweaks until I went online to MSI's website to download the newest version manually. Once I had this little irony sorted out, I began overclocking in earnest by warming up the card with Kombustor running in the background then leaving the voltage at stock settings and moving the GPU Core Clock up by 5MHz allowing it to sit for five min. in between nudges until I lost stability. Once the card crashed, I took the clock back down 5MHz and made sure it would remain stable for 20 minutes, this card maxed out at 990MHz. Next, I repeated the process on the memory, which maxed out at 1200MHz. Now these are not bad numbers by any means, this is already a 100+MHz boost on the core but hey, MSI gave me voltage tweaking power, so I’m going to use voltage tweaking power! Nudging the voltage up until I could get the next 5MHz increment on the GPU Core, I was able to push the MSI R6850 Power Edition to 1005MHz at 1179mV, way above the 860MHz core clock the card comes factory overclocked at.


Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each card has been tested for its maximum stable clock speeds using MSI's Kombustor utility. So far my testing has shown that higher clock speeds may be stable in games where GPU usage does not reach 100%, but will crash within a few minutes using this utility. The reported clock speeds are those that proved stable over a 15 minute test at 1920 x 1200 8x AA.



  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. HAWX 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.5
  7. Mafia II
  8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  9. Lost Planet 2
  10. 3DMark 11
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

  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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