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Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 Toxic review

Can an overclock make this card more desirable?

Sapphire radeon hd 6850 toxic

Clearly, based on these results, the HD 6850 performance scales much better than the Radeon HD 6870. That card is also based on AMD's Barts architecture, which sits in the HD 6850, but it has a full working die where the HD 6850 has one processor cluster switched off.

An overclocked HD 6870, such as the HIS HD 6870 Turbo edition, isn't noticeably faster than a stock model, but the five per cent increase to the speed of a basic HD 6850 that Sapphire offers us here translates to at least the same sort of performance increase – and often more – in games at 1920 x 1080 resolutions.

That's rarely the difference between playable and unplayable, since no £170 card is struggling at that resolution these days, but it does make it almost comparable to the higher spec HD 6870, and raises it (just) clear of the 1GB version of a GeForce GTX 460.

If you want to push it even further, the Sapphire TriXX application for tuning clockspeeds and voltages is a likable and simple app that will let you get even more performance out of the HD 6850 Toxic.

Experienced overclockers will find it wanting, though, because the range of timings it opens up are limited and there's no panel for keeping track of on-board temperatures while you move clock speeds around.

Getting the board running stably at 850MHz was effortless, though.

It's not, however, the fastest card available for the price. Similarly overclocked GTX 460s are available for less, as is the Radeon HD 5850, which is more capable at higher resolutions.

It's a card we'd recommend if you want to tune it further than the factory settings and really customise your rig yourself, because the extra power connector gives you a lot of options to play with. For most other people, though, we'd be obliged to point you in the direction of cheaper cards that are faster out of the box instead.

We liked

The extra clockspeed translates directly into more frames per second, and the customised heatsink is quiet and good looking. Sapphire's overclocking app gives you plenty of control for getting even more out of the card, too.

We disliked

It still doesn't feel right recommending any HD 6850 variant without the usual price caveats. It's a good card, but the GTX 460 and HD 5850 would be the logical choices with this much to spend.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeGraphic Card
Chipset ManufacturerATI
Chipset Model6850
HDMIYes
Chipset LineRadeon
Chipset SeriesHD 6000
DisplayPortYes
Maximum Resolution2560 x 1600
Brand NameSapphire
Standard Memory1 GB
Host InterfacePCI Express 2.0
Bus Width256 bit
Multi-GPU TechnologyCrossFireX
Digital SignalYes
Dual Link DVI SupportedYes
DVIYes
Number of DisplayPort Outputs2
Number of DVI Outputs2
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Memory TechnologyGDDR5 SDRAM
ManufacturerSapphire, Inc
Memory Speed4400 MHz
Product Model11180-03-40R
Product NameRadeon HD 6850 TOXIC Edition Graphics Card
Manufacturer Part Number11180-03-40R
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sapphiretech.com/en/
Marketing Information

Hot on the heels of the global launch of the new HD 6000 series of graphics cards based on the latest generation of graphics technology from AMD, SAPPHIRE Technology announces its first enhanced product - the HD 6850 TOXIC Edition.

Package Contents
  • Radeon HD 6850 TOXIC Edition Graphics Card
  • CrossFire Bridge Interconnect Cable
  • D-Sub Adapter
  • Mini-DP to DP Cable
  • 6 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable
  • CD
API SupportedDirectX 11.0, OpenGL 3.2