27-Jul-12 // Techpowerup Editors choice on the HD 7850 1GB royalQueen
Club 3D Radeon HD 7850 1GB GDDR5 royalQueen
Not long ago, AMD released the HD 7800 Series, based on the company's Pitcairn silicon which uses the GCN shader architecture on a 28 nm process. HD 7850 provides great midrange capabilities beating the Radeon HD 6950 and the NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti.
Club3D has chosen a special memory configuration for its HD 7850 Royal Queen. Unlike the 2 GB found on the reference design and on most other HD 7850 cards, the Royal Queen uses just 1 GB of GDDR5 memory. This lets Club3D price its card at only $195, $35 cheaper than the reference design. At this point you are probably exclaiming, "1 GB! That'll never be enough for the latest titles at higher resolutions". Our testing will conclusively show whether this card has any chance of competing with offers in its market segment or whether it's just a big pile of fail.
The card uses a black-and-red design which looks quite stylish. The flat cooler looks a bit odd, but maybe Club3D wanted to make it look like a playing card.
Display connectivity options include one DVI port, one full-size HDMI port, and one full-size DisplayPort. You may use all the outputs at the same time.
An HDMI sound device is included in the GPU, too. It is HDMI 1.4a compatible which includes HD audio and support for Blu-ray 3D movies. The DisplayPort outputs are version 1.2 which enables the use of hubs and Multi-Stream Transport.
Club3D's fansink uses just one heatpipe, which is doubled up though. The card doesn't need an expensive copper base either.
The card requires one 6-pin PCI-Express power cable for operation. This power configuration is good for up to 150 W of power draw.
Value and Conclusion
The Club3D HD 7850 RoyalQueen is available for $210 in Europe.
The Club3D HD 7850 RoyalQueen comes with only 1 GB memory, whereas most other HD 7850 cards on the market have 2 GB. When I first got the card, I was extremely sceptical whether such capacity could provide enough performance for the latest and greatest titles. Now, after finishing the review, I am impressed. At resolutions up to, and including, 1920x1200, the card is just as fast as the HD 7850 with 2 GB, if not a little bit faster. Only at resolutions of 5760x1080 (Eyefinity), and at 2560x1600 in some games, did we see a performance penalty from the smaller frame buffer. Personally, I don't consider this an issue, because a single HD 7850 is just too slow for these resolutions anyway.