Asus DirectCU & AMD Radeon HD 6850 Graphics Cards

Graphics Cards
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The AMD Radeon HD 6850 is a dual slot graphics card with a length of 22.9 cm (9.0"), making it slightly shorter than the HD 6870. The reference cooler appears identical: An enclosed box style unit with a blower fan pushing air over an internal heatsink and out the back.

A large number of screws on the back as well as a couple on the PCI bracket must be removed to detach the stock heatsink.

The 6850's memory and VRM cooling plate is not attached to the main heatsink and shroud. Also, the VRMs are located on the right side of the GPU core while the pictures of every retail 6850 we've seen show them on the left side. The GPU core is also shifted toward the left side, similar to the HD 5770 / 5850.

Like the 6870 reference cooler, the cooling plate has a big tab sticking out on one side that may interfere with some aftermarket coolers.

One of the MOSFETs was not making any contact with the cooling plate because a thermal pad was missing. This was not discovered until after testing but it did not seem to cause any stability issues. We patched it afterwards with some trimmings excised off the memory chips' pads.

The 6870 reference heatsink has a thick copper base, three large heatpipes, and a block of aluminum fins twice the size of the 6850's. This cooler uses a vapor chamber, essentially a very large, flattened heatpipe that transfers heat in a similar manner. It is said to transfer heat far more effectively than a solit piece of copper the same size.

It looks like a thin copper base soldered to a small stack of aluminum fins, but this combination would be completely inadequate. It's an odd choice for the 6850 as the only reference coolers we know of utilizing vapor chambers are those employed on top-end GPUs like the HD 5970 and GTX 580.

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