PowerColor HD Radeon 7850 SCS3 Passive Graphics Card Review

/ 6 years ago

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To be a passively cooled card, you need to make up the loss of the fan with additional surface are through which to dissipate heat. As a result, PowerColor’s heat sink is a lot bigger than we would normally, extending the cards dimensions as it overhangs the side of the PCB. The cooler also features and open air design, which as we will see is crucial for the operation of a card of this nature.

To help transfer heat to all parts of the aluminum heat sink evenly, a number of heat pipes run from the core in a direct touch design for optimal performance. As seen below, the extended heat sink also turns up and around the cooler to aid in increasing surface area whilst not pushing the cooler too far towards where a chassis side panel would eventually be.

Whilst the cooler wraps around the card to increase cooling space, there is one slight design floor with one of the heatpipes. PowerColor have included the CrossFireX connector on the PCB and by design the 7850 is capable of a 2-way configuration, however on this card this would not be possible as the heatpipe obstructs the connector from being used.

Moving away from the cooler, the reference speed card only requires the extra power from a 6-pin PCIe cable which in this case faces out from the end of the PCB.

In a slight alteration to the reference display output configuration, the SCS3 features a DL-DVI, HDMI and a full size DisplayPort as opposed to twin mDP instead.

Given the fact that this is a passively cooled card, PowerColor need to do what they can in order to keep the chips temperatures down in the first instance so this means not overclocking the card at all. As a result we see a reference clock speed of 860MHz and a memory speed of 1200MHz (4.8Gbps effective)

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4 Responses to “PowerColor HD Radeon 7850 SCS3 Passive Graphics Card Review”
  1. Wayne says:

    I would struggle to get used to a totally silent PC. I’m so used to the whirring off the fans that I don’t even notice them.

  2. Quartz says:

    Fans are required? Tell that to my Nofan-cooled, fanless PSU, FT02 system which has no fans at all apart from those on my Geforce 660 Ti. How about putting the card in a rotated case like the Silverstone FT02 and make use of the fact that heat rises? It seems to me that Powercolor have done themselves a disservice by limiting themselves to two slots: as a specialist card, I don’t think anyone would blink if it took up 3 or even 4 slots.

    Your benchmarks indicate that this card gives a decent gaming performance at 1080p and as such would be a shoe-in if I weren’t looking to move to 4K. Here’s hoping for a fanless Titan.

    • jfat says:

      Just so you realise something…
      Heat does generally rise, but in a small environment like a computer case, with any airflow, it is not going to take its natural course. Maybe If there is no fan at all, but even then it’ll just eventually heat up the whole area since there wont be any flow to move the heat out.

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