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PowerColor 6850 PCS+ Review


Closer Look:

The Powercolor HD 6850 PCS+ is covered in a very sleek looking heatsink that has three copper heatpipes and a large 90mm fan that should be able to move a lot of air at fairly low volumes. The heatsink's base is pure copper, which helps it achieve up to 15% lower temperatures than the reference design. The huge draw here is the large factory overclock that pushes clock speeds to rival some higher end cards. With 820MHz on the core, and 1100MHz on the RAM, you can expect some pretty nice numbers from this card. Being a PCS+ card has its advantages as well — with this series, Powercolor is extending its standard warranty to three years from the standard two and promises up to a 50% faster turn around time to boot!















With this PCS+ edition card, connectivity options are fairly extensive. The card boasts both a Single Link DVI port and a Double Link DVI port, an HDMI port supporting all standards up to 1.4a, and a Display Port adapter. These ports allow for a full tri-monitor Eyefinity setup with a single card and come fully protected in the packaging with plastic covers. The vent on the back is a standard grid and doesn't seem like it will allow too much air to vent out of the case, but all the vents in the shroud itself should negate this shortcoming as long as you have a well ventilated case. On the rear of the card, there is a single 6-pin PCI-E plug for the card's additional power requirements and a single CrossFire bridge is found along the top of the card.




The PCS+ cooling system takes a fairly large leap from the stock cooling solution using three pure core copper heatpipes to dissipate heat throughout a large aluminum array. The pure copper base and high quality thermal compound should be quite effective in tranferring heat away from the GPU core. Powercolor also put on a larger 90mm fan to allow for increased airflow over the fin array. The top of the shroud is heavily perforated with tons of vent holes to allow for heat to dissipate freely, however the GPU core is the only component covered by the system. This is a very impressive cooling system for a midrange card.



The 6850 PCS+ is built around the standard 40nm process and specs out with 960 Stream Processors, 48 texture units, 32 Color/ROP Units, and boasts a full gigabyte of GDDR5 memory running through a 256-bit bus. Pretty standard so far, but the PCS+ edition pulls away from the competition with its clock speeds. Where the reference 6850 design calls for a 775MHz GPU clock and 1000MHz on the memory, the PCS+ edition goes all the way to 820MHz on the GPU and 1100MHz on the memory. Those factory overclocks should bode well for the benchmarks, as well as for further overclocking potential.



Okay, moving on to the specs!


  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: The Video Card
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Far Cry 2
  6. Testing: Metro 2033
  7. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  8. Testing: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  9. Testing: Just Cause 2
  10. Testing: Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
  11. Testing: Batman Arkham Asylum
  12. Testing: Resident Evil 5
  13. Testing: 3DMark06
  14. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  15. Testing: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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