Roundup: 9 Radeon HD 6850s!
by Damien Triolet
Published on April 13, 2011
XFX HD 6850 (ZDFC)
XFX is marketing two different models under the same name but a different reference. HD-685X-ZNFC/ZNBC for the first and HD-685X-ZDFC for the second. They use totally different coolers. A single fan with a design that looks very similar to the basic HIS model for the ZNFC/ZNBC and two fans for the ZDFC, which is the one we tested. It’s on sale for €190, in general with the Dual Fan label to distinguish it.
XFX has gone for the design used on the reference cards on sale and only use three of the four available GPU phases. The cooler sticks out 1cm from the back of the card, making it 22.5cm long but this doesn’t affect the amount of space required in practice given that this is similar to the amount of space required by the 6-pin power connector at the back.
The cooler is made up of an aluminium radiator with two copper heatpipes in direct contact with the GPU. Two 8cm fans take care of cooling and there’s a small radiator for the sensitive power stage components.
XFX delivers its card with a CD for drivers, an installation guide for drivers, a guide to mount the card, an advertising leaflet for power supplies and a little ‘Do not disturb’ sign to stick on the door when you’re gaming. No adaptors are supplied.
The card is guaranteed for two years.
Graphics card at idle.
Graphics card in load.
Overclocked graphics card in load.
System at idle.
System in load.
The XFX Radeon HD 6850 ZDFC is the best cooled model of those we have tested.
Temperature and noise readings
The readings confirm the infrared thermography and only a very small part of the hot air is extracted from the casing. Unfortunately the excellent temperature readings are achieved to the detriment of noise levels.
XFX obviously chose to prioritise temperatures when it was calibrating its cooler. While you can correct this manually to reduce noise levels in load, this won’t reduce the prohibitive price of this non-overclocked model that is delivered without any adaptors at all!