PROS / This graphics card has very low power consumption compared to similar cards, and you can use up to six displays with Eyefinity.
CONS / You can't overclock the HD 7850 as much as you can higher-end cards.
VERDICT / The AMD HD 7850 is a great choice for a video card that doesn't strain your PC at higher settings.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Graphic Cards here.
When you are ready to move up from the low-range graphics cards to the heavy hitters, the AMD Radeon HD 7850 is a great first step. Boasting 1,024 stream processors and using a DirectX 11.1 application programming interface, the HD 7850 is an affordable video card that lets you immerse yourself in high-definition gaming and video. Despite being somewhat outdated, this AMD graphics card performs reasonably well and fares all right in our graphics card comparison.
While it is in the lower levels of high-end graphics cards, the HD 7850 does not pull any punches with its 860MHz clock speed and flowing memory bandwidth of 153.6GBps. These speeds make it so you can enjoy stable frame rates in games with demanding graphics on high or ultra settings. In our testing, the card averaged 42.9 fps across a large number of modern games. The HD 7850 is PCIe 3.0 ready and is a double-wide card, taking up two spaces on the back of your PC. Fortunately, PCIe is backward compatible, so if you do not have a PCIe 3.0 board, you can still use this graphics card, although you won't get the fastest performance from it in a 2.1 or 2.0 PCIe slot.
The best feature of the HD 7850, besides its great graphics, is its low power consumption. The power drain rating is only 130 watts, lower than that of many competing cards. Additionally, the HD 7850 incorporates AMD's ZeroCore power scheme technology to save on power drain. The ZeroCore power scheme recognizes when you are not using your GPU for heavy graphic workloads and reduces power consumption, helping you save power and letting your graphics card rest. As with all higher-end graphics cards, make sure you have a power supply unit that can handle your video card without taxing the rest of your system. Fortunately, it only takes a single six-pin feed to power the HD 7850.
We are impressed with the HD 7850's performance and speed, but it is lacking in how much it can be overclocked. You can tinker with the card through AMD's OverDrive program, but the HD 7850's limited range does not give you much to play with. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you are looking for a graphics card to play mad scientist with, you may want to look at upgrading to a higher-model card so you can tweak to your heart's content.
The AMD Radeon HD 7850 packs a punch and is a great way to step up your PC graphics experience. This is an excellent card to start with if you are serious about your graphics, and it is more affordable than the top-tier models. With its power efficiency and strong processing ability, the HD 7850 takes your gaming and video experience to the next level. Just don't expect it to be the best graphics card available.