When you are ready to move up from the low and mid-range graphics cards and step into the big leagues of heavy hitters, the AMD Radeon HD 7850 is a great first step. Boasting 1024 stream processors and utilizing 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.

While it is considered to be in the lower levels of high-end graphics cards, the HD 7850 does not pull any punches with its 860 MHz clock speed and flowing memory bandwidth of 153.6GB per second. These speeds make it so you can enjoy fast, stable frame rates in games with demanding graphics on high or ultra settings, depending on your CPU build, of course. 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 backwards compatible, so if you do not have a PCIe 3.0 board, don't worry, 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 thermal power drain rating is only 130w, much lower than competing cards. Additionally, the HD 7850 incorporates AMD's zero core power scheme technology to save on power drain. The zero core 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 power feed to power the HD 7850.

For the ultimate gaming experience, you can connect up to six monitors to your HD 7850 to expand your view with AMD's Eyefinity technology. This technology allows your monitors to act as a single display, freeing you from the tunnel vision of using only one monitor. Eyefinity does not just stretch the image across the displays, it expands it, letting you see much like you do in real life with peripheral vision. This gives you an edge, especially in first person shooters.

We are very 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 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.

AMD Radeon HD 7850 Summary:
8.3/10

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 will take your gaming and video experience to the next level.

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AMD Radeon HD 7850

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 higher-end cards.

The Verdict
: 8.25/10

If you are looking for a video card that doesn't strain your PC at higher settings, the AMD HD 7850 is a great choice.