AMD’s Radeon HD 6850 is one of the more attractive mid-range offerings on the market right now, and Sapphire hopes to lure potential buyers in even closer with the help of its “Toxic” edition. It features a customized cooler that runs quiet and keeps temps low, and also cranks up reference clocks for an immediate performance boost.
To test our graphics cards for both temperatures and power consumption, we utilize OCCT for the stress-testing, GPU-Z for the temperature monitoring, and a Kill-a-Watt for power monitoring. The Kill-a-Watt is plugged into its own socket, with only the PC connect to it.
As per our guidelines when benchmarking with Windows, when the room temperature is stable (and reasonable), the test machine is boot up and left to sit at the desktop until things are completely idle. Because we are running such a highly optimized PC, this normally takes one or two minutes. Once things are good to go, the idle wattage is noted, GPU-Z is started up to begin monitoring card temperatures, and OCCT is set up to begin stress-testing.
To push the cards we test to their absolute limit, we use OCCT in full-screen 2560×1600 mode, and allow it to run for 15 minutes, which includes a one minute lull at the start, and a four minute lull at the end. After about 5 minutes, we begin to monitor our Kill-a-Watt to record the max wattage.
I admit that I expected some more impressive results here from the Toxic. It draws more power, which is to be expected, but its cooler didn’t make much of a difference. Granted, it managed to keep the card cooler while retaining a higher clock, but even so, I expected more. One perk is that even at full load, the card didn’t have an audible whine, but to my recollection, neither did the reference.