There really is very little to complain about with the PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 SCS3 edition. Sure one might argue that the looks are a bit meh due to the cooler and that red PCB, but that is a matter of taste. Stability and performance wise you never anything to complain and when you opt a this passive model, sound never is an issue either. That makes their graphics card above average and well respected. Fact is that most modern games at a Full HD resolution operate in the 30 to 40 FPS range. And for the money that is mighty interesting of course.
Now we mentioned the looks already, granted ...the card might not be the taste of everybody. PowerColor really needs to let go of the red PCB color. Mainstream and high-end graphics card should have a black PCB, period. The SCS3 cooler again is a bit of a personal thing to comment on. You'll prolly either hate or love it. Most of you however won't care as the card is tucked away inside the PC anyways. But yeah we'll leave that up-to you to decide. That cooler does its job really well though.
Noise levels and cooling
Directly related to the cooling are the noise levels. With the card being passively cooled it effectively does not make any sound. HOWEVER, you do need airflow in the chassis to be able to vent out the hot air, no airflow would result in slowly overheating the GPU. So from that point of view things are all relative. But with a two silent fans inside the chassis and normal airflow, this product will help you out by providing an excellent basis for a silent PC.
The cooling performance for a passive cooler is just excellent, under heft gaming stress we maxed out at 72 Degrees C, and that is the highest monitored temperature after finishing up our entire benchmark session. We had one low RPM fan silently blowing air towards the card. So yes, that is an impressive result.
The Radeon HD 7800 never has been a power hungry product, as such you may expect a power draw of up to 110 Watt per graphics card. So again that is not an issue. Obviously you need to add to that the processor, memory, motherboard and other peripheral devices but our recommendation stands at a 500 Watt power supply, even with a decent overclock.
Overclocking then, we notice okay results. The board is allowed be tweaked quite well. Unfortunately there is a lock (maximum clock frequency) at 1050 MHz, but honestly with a passively cooled product .. you really don't want to force it any higher anyway. Regardless combined with a memory overclock 5700 MHz (effective data-rate) and the power limiter upped with another 20% you can squeeze say another 10% performance out of these cards which at that state are still running quiet. Do make sure you have a good ventilated PC though, as overclocked with a little extra voltage the cards passed 80 degrees C due to the nature of passive cooling.
The 7850 SCS3 1GB cards are going to sell in the 159 EUR / 179 USD range, for that money you will get a very decent mid-ranger that can play all the latest games at very acceptable image quality settings with very acceptable framerates, that all at a resolution of 1920x1080/1200. You will benefit from the price performance ratio big-time as most games offer pretty decent framerates. Combined with a cooler that keeps the product silent and chilled down sufficiently enough you will not have anything to complain about really.
It's time to wrap it up, the PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 SCS3 is impressive for the money, these are very decent mid-range cards that will allow you top play your games at decent framerate with okay image quality settings. We would have preferred to see a 2GB model instead of a rather scarce 1 GB version. Most modern games therse days tend to pass 1GB die to high-resolution textures and that's where the extra Gb would come in handy.
Overall the product performs fine though, the cooler is doing a pretty good job whilst being totally silent of course. Remember that you do need a hint of airflow inside your chassis to get rid of the residual hot air. But other then that there's very little to be concerned about with this PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 SCS3. AMD still has a promotion going, if you purchase a 7850 card you will receive free games. I think right now they still offer BioShock Infinite and Tomb raider 2013 for free, that's just awesome value and as such the product definitely is recommended if it suits your budget and needs. A lovely product that will bring great value, small note to TUL ... black PCBs please ;)
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