It is hard to believe but it was only a little over a year ago when the Radeon HD 5800 series was launched and brought DirectX 11 gaming to the public for the first time. Demand for the flagship Evergreen series cards severely outweighed the supply available and, unfortunately, it took a few more months before the stock stabilized. Despite this, sales of DirectX11 GPUs were dominated by AMD for the rest of the year, even after Nvidia’s “Fermi” cards were launched. AMD had a lead time of several months and by then, they had released DirectX 11 video cards across all price points. It took until the release of the GTX 460 GPUs for NVIDIA to take a chunk out of AMD’s DX11 market share. AMD was not satisfied with resting on their laurels, however, and was working overtime on improving their next generation DirectX 11 card and preparing for a hard launch during the fall season.
The result: the HD 6800 series. Although not a board completely designed from the ground up, this release brings a host of performance improvements over the previous generation’s design. The 6800 series was made specifically to handle newer games better while maintaining modest power consumption.
With twice the tessellation power and 25% less silicon than the HD5800 series, the Sapphire HD 6850 is redefining the mainstream GPU market. The Sapphire HD 6850 also offers flexible connectivity options with the addition of HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 support. Featuring improved in-game visual enhancements, accurate color correction, morphological anti-aliasing, Blu-ray, Stereoscopic 3D support and parallel processing, the Sapphire HD 6850 is a video card that does a lot more than push for higher frame rates.