PowerColor's SCS3 HD6850: Radeon HD 6850 Goes Fanless

The Card, In More Detail

PowerColor's SCS3 HD6850 is the first passively-cooled Radeon HD 6850 card on the market, and it's the fastest board we've seen without a fan (not counting water-cooled solutions, of course).

Its specifications sacrifice nothing you'd expect from a reference Radeon HD 6850 design, and that includes graphics processor and memory frequencies. Perhaps the card's most significant drawback is that it requires three expansion slots, potentially limiting the environments where it'd work well (certainly not in small form-factor installations). The card's price really isn't a surprise, though. You pay a roughly £10 premium for the massive passive cooler compared to PowerColor's actively-cooled Radeon HD 6850.

Mid-Range Graphics Cards, Compared
 Radeon HD 6790Radeon HD 6850PowerColor SCS3 HD6850
Radeon HD 6870GeForce GTX 560GeForce GTX 560 Ti
1700 Million
1700 Million
1700 Million
1700 Million
1950 Million
1950 Million
1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB
Bus Width
Graphics Clock
840 MHz775 MHz775 MHz900 MHz810 MHz823 MHz
Memory Clock
1050 MHz1000 MHz1000 MHz1050 MHz1002 MHz1002 MHz

PowerColor's retail package includes the card itself, a driver CD, a manual, a CrossFire bridge, a DVI-to-analog VGA adapter, and a DiRT 3 coupon.

The card features two DVI connectors (only one of which is of the dual-link variety). In addition, there is one HDMI output and one DisplayPort connector, both of which are full-size. This is the standard, albeit still excellent, connectivity package compared to Nvidia's best efforts in the mid-range field.

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  • tranzz
    I you rev the nuts off the fan can you get a super over clock from the card?
  • ps3hacker12
    wow, so with just 1 fan its a great card.
  • mi1ez
    the fact remains, to use a silent graphics card at it's full potential, you need a noisy case!
  • Solitaire
    Tom's... I think you've forgotten that heatpipe towers are hugely reliant on static pressure and airflow... of course sticking it on an uncooled open testbench will result in fail...

    Ultimately true passive setups involving mid-TDP parts will always remain impractical or a gimmick, as they always need some sort of forced airflow across them to remain workable. Turning a Big Air system into a Quiet Air one through Arctic/Scythe/Noctua abuse is always the better idea.
  • HEXiT
    i had a fanless solution on my 88gt done by sparkle. it worked, just. i put a 60mm cpufan on it and wow. temps down to 40'c from near 100. the cooler itself was ok but was blinding when you gave it a push... i guess this 1 will do the same. add a couple of low noise 120's and i bet the temps tumble... then again i hoped they would come with a fanless solution because the build quality for there fans is poor... min didnt even last a year on my 5870... also there customer service is second to none... it has to be the worst i have ever encountered from a new-ish entrant into the market.