Asus DirectCU & AMD Radeon HD 6850 Graphics Cards

Graphics Cards
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Clocks & Voltages

Using Radeon BIOS Editor, we examined the BIOS used by both the AMD and Asus Radeon HD 6850. This revealed how each card handles clock/voltage settings in various states.

Clock/Voltage Settings
AMD Radeon HD 6850
Asus EAH6850 DirectCU
775/1000 MHz, 1.10V
775/1000 MHz, 1.15V
Low (idle)
100/300 MHz 0.95V
100/300 MHz, 0.95V
UVD (video playback)
300/1000 MHz, 0.95V
300/1000 MHz, 0.95V
600/1000 MHz, 1.00V
600/1000 MHz, 1.10V
High (load)
775/1000 MHz, 1.10V
790/1000 MHz, 1.15V

The power difference between the two cards on load is explained simply by the difference in Vcore. The reference Radeon HD 6850 runs at 1.10V with a core clock speed of 775 MHz during boot-up and on load. The EAH6850 DirectCU uses an extra 0.05V, and on load, it is overclocked by 15 MHz. The idle and UVD settings are identical.

Fan Control

AMD and Asus DirectCU Radeon HD 6850 BIOS fan control settings.

Both cards had the same BIOS fan control settings. When the system is turned on, the GPU fan spins up briefly at 70% speed, then stays at 22% until the core temperature reaches 55°C. The duty cycle increases linearly until it tops out at 100% at 102°C.

Asus' SmartDoctor utility as well as MSI Afterburner can be used to adjust each card's fan speeds. However, during our testing both cards ran at the minimum fan speed when idle, so it is impossible to lower the idle noise level through conventional means.


These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 seconds of room ambiance, followed by 5~10 seconds of the VGA test system without a video card installed, and then the actual product's noise at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

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