Lower mid-range graphics cards are easy to lose in the clamour about higher-end cards but not the HIS Radeon HD 6850 IceQ X. Like its IceQ X predecessors this Radeon HD 6850 is treated to an enhanced cooler that HIS claim can run the card 13ºC cooler than the reference design and produces 7dB less noise.

Taking the HIS Radeon HD 6850 IceQ X in relation to its nearest rivals though we're going to end up comparing it to the Nvidia GTX 460 and the Radeon HD 6870. The question is whether it's worth spending the additional outlay on the faster AMD card or choosing the Nvidia alternative.

Partly your monitor could already hold the answer as the HD 6850 performs best at around the 1,680 x 1,050 resolution, it'll also cope with 1,920 x 1,080 adequately as well but you'll need to start turning off anti-aliasing and the more demanding effects.

In comparison to the slightly cheaper GTX 460 the HIS Radeon HD 6850 IceQ X generally out performs or equals it. When it comes to this specific HIS IceQ X card the cooler is worth the outlay alone, putting overclocking aside it makes the fan-noise levels (once it's inside a case) drop to a negligible point.

The card comes with a reasonable overlcock already in place and you can squeeze plenty more from it, we happily took it to the limits imposed by the Catalyst driver with a core of 900MHz and a memory clock of 1250MHz, which rivals its HD 6870 big bro.

The difficulty for the vanilla HD 6850 is the plummeting price of the GTX 460. The factory OC is a bonus and that cooler helps you do even more with it.

The stock HD 6850 itself isn't as strong as we might have hoped but this overclocked card is speedy and comes at a good price. There's also a fair bit of headroom too.

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