ASUS Radeon EAH6850 DirectCU
The major point to glean here is that the Radeon 6850 technically isn’t a successor to the 5850; we saw the performance is actually slightly lower in fact. The rationale for the model nomenclature should become more apparent as AMD releases more models, but the 5850 was more of a premium gaming card, whereas the 6850 is actually more of a lower-end gaming card in this new generation of AMD cards. This will undoubtedly leave consumers rather confused, but despite the baffling choice of model naming, we’re hopeful it will pay dividends in the near future.
There are some other appealing new features brought into the mix, notably 3D and tessellation, though these really do appeal to a very small niche market at this point in time. Our gaming results showed a bit of a mixed bag overall, as the EAH6850 DirectCU runs very well and ASUS has done a great job with the heatsink, temperatures, and noise, not to mention it’s all contained in a card that’s power frugal. These are excellent benefits, even though this card is not a gaming monster; but it’s not designed to be.
Against the GTX 460, the 6850 trades blows across the gaming spectrum, so there’s some consideration there, plus the lack of PhysX and CUDA obviously can be a factor, particularly if you’re into Folding @ Home. Where things get really interesting is when overclocking; the 6850 can match the 6870, and beat both the GTX 460 and 470. However, we also know the GTX 460 can be an overclocking champ as well, so the returns are relative, as both are impressive cards.
Priced at $180 USD, the EAH6850 DirectCU is very attractive, and with recent Nvidia price drops to combat these new series 6800 cards, the competing GTX 460 1GB is about $200. So the price difference is rather minimal, only $20 or so. The question then becomes what does each card bring to the table? It depends on your preference, but with these price reductions from the Nvidia camp, the decision just got a whole lot more difficult.
So there may be some debate as to how the 6850 will fully drop into the marketplace when all the dust settles. We’re not entirely sure, to be honest. Time will soon tell. But we do know that this EAH6850 DirectCU is a very attractive model, running cool and quiet, and packing quite a bit of gaming horsepower and some outstanding overclocking headroom for a very good price. The sub-$200 gaming market just got a whole lot more interesting, offering consumers some excellent choices. And this ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU is a fantastic choice.
ASUS Radeon EAH6850 DirectCU 1GB