Value and Conclusion
|9.5||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.|
The card not only is fast, but also has a great cooling system. We see significantly reduced noise levels from the card, which means it could be used in a media PC that supports full HD gaming. Temperatures are great too, lower than those of many other "big" HD 7850 cards. Thanks to the lower memory density, power consumption is also down, especially during desktop work. In 3D, we see similar power consumption as the 2 GB reference design, which could be explained by the use of a more cost-effective VRM design. This also means that the voltage controller has no support for software voltage control, but this is not that big a deal in this market segment.
GPU overclocking works great, better than that in many other HD 7850 cards. Our manual overclocking yielded an extra 27% real-world performance, putting the card on the same performance level as NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580, just a bit lower than HD 7950. Memory overclocking doesn't do so well, because Club3D chose Elpida memory chips which are slightly cheaper, but do not offer as much overclocking potential as chips from Samsung or Hynix.
Club3D's cost savings measures are reflected in the consumer price, which is $195 when converted from euros to dollars, as the card is only available in Europe at this time. A typical 2 GB HD 7850 costs $230 and won't be faster at full HD resolutions. In terms of price/performance the HD 7850 RoyalQueen is the fastest upper mid-range card on the market today, by a quite big margin. For a serious gamer on a budget, lacking enough money for a GTX 670, this is definitely the card to get. I would certainly I would recommend it to my friends.