The month of November has been an exciting one for PC gamers all over. AMD launched their Radeon 6000 series while NVIDIA followed with the GTX580. We received a stock AMD Radeon HD6850. ASUS sent us their overclocked version of the 6850 - EAH6850 DirectCU and also a Radeon 6870 card.
The Radeon HD6850 comes in to replace the Radeon 5850, which happens to be a more expensive card. ASUS has gone with a custom cooler on their EAH6850 card. The stock design has an enclosure that covers the entire card. A similar design can be found on the Radeon HD6870 card, which is a slightly larger card than the Radeon 6850.
In terms of specifications and numbers on paper, the Radeon 6850 and Radeon 6870 should be faster. The Radeon 6870 runs at a high 915 MHz, while the 6850 runs at a slower 775 MHz. The ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU runs at a slightly higher 790 MHz.
When it comes to performance, the statistics don't convert to mind boggling numbers. The cards are a tiny bit slower than their predecessors. When compared with each other, the stock AMD Radeon 6850 performs more or less 10 to 15 per cent slower than the ASUS Radeon 6870. The overclocked ASUS Radeon 6850, on the other hand, does a much better job. At times, it lags just slightly behind the ASUS Radeon 6870. This still means that you get playable frame rates across all the graphics intensive games. We ran our benchmarks with 4x FSAA and the highest possible quality settings. The scores are presented in the table below. Drop the settings by a little bit and you'll see better frame rates.
What AMD brings to the table is much more affordable hardware that has slower power requirements and run much cooler. Pricing for the stock Radeon 6850 is Rs. 13,000 whereas the overclocked ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU is just Rs. 500 more. The slightly faster ASUS EAH6870 is way more expensive. It sells at an MRP of Rs. 17,500.
As of now, the overclocked ASUS Radeon 6850 is the card to go for. It offers great value for money. If market prices are closer to Rs. 11,000, it's even better. The card is faster than the stock GeForce GTX460. For those who were planning on getting the Radeon 5850, the 6850 is a cheaper alternative by far. With a slightly overclock, it may be possible to match the 5850's performance. The EAH6870 is slightly faster than the Radeon 5850, but only go for it if you can buy it for under Rs. 14,500 in the market.