iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Sapphire Vapor-X HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Card

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Today we shall review a Radeon HD 6850 graphics card from Sapphire that belongs to the Vapor-X series thanks to the custom cooler it has. Let's see how efficient this solution is.


  • GPU: Radeon HD 6850 (Barts)
  • Interface: PCIe 2.1 x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/shaders): 800/800 MHz (the standard is 775/775 MHz)
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 1100 (4400) MHz (the standard is 1000 (4000) MHz)
  • Memory bus: 256-bit
  • Stream processors: 960
  • Texture units: 48 (BLF/TLF/ANIS)
  • ROP units: 32
  • Dimensions: 238x100x35 mm
  • Board color: blue
  • Output connectors: Dual-Link DVI, Single-Link DVI-D, HDMI 1.4a, 2 x Mini DisplayPort
  • Multi-GPU mode: hardware CrossFireX


Comparison with the reference design, front view

Sapphire Vapor-X HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 Reference AMD Radeon HD 6850

Comparison with the reference design, rear view

Sapphire Vapor-X HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 Reference AMD Radeon HD 6850

Judging by two supplementary power connectors, you can see this card has a Radeon HD 6870 PCB. If you're thinking about patching it with some HD 6870 firmware for a 'free upgrade,' you should know this is a lottery: about half of all Barts GPUs are locked by hardware means, the other half, by means of BIOS. So if you brick your card, it's your fault.

Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz maximum refresh rate
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz max. digital (DVI) resolution
  • 2048 x 1536 @ 85Hz max. analog (VGA) resolution

The card has two 6-pin supplementary power connectors.


The cooler features a large primary heatsink for the GPU, a smaller heatsink for power circuitry, a massive, slow fan and a cover. Besides, there's a vapor chamber in the baseplate and heatpipes to improve performance further. The device cools both the GPU and memory chips.

Temperature monitoring results

We measured temperatures using the MSI Afterburner utility.

Just 66°C maximum after 6 hours of non-stop operation is simply a great result.

Package contents

A basic package should include a user manual, a software CD, and adapters where applicable. Now let's see what other accessories are bundled with each card.

This is a basic package with power splitters, a CrossFire bridge and an HDMI cable.


A glossy jacket aroudn a cardboard box. All labels are clear and detailed. The card is in a plastic bag, securely fixed in a papier-mache compartment.

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Article navigation:

Page 1: Intro, specs, design, cooler, package

Page 2: Performance tests, conclusions

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