Software

The MSI R7850 Power Edition comes with the class leading MSI Afterburner utility. Created by Unwinder of Rivatuner fame, Afterburner has become the most popular utility to overclock cards and adjust voltages. It offers a simple user interface, monitoring functions, fan control, video capturing and the ability to save profiles. It really is an excellent utility offering ease of use, simplicity and reliability. Kudos to MSI for allowing not just their own cards to be used and abused with it, but tacitly many of those from other vendors as well. The video capture feature is useful for capturing things like in game sequences. There's a large range of configurable video settings.

The Power Edition series, like the Lightning and Hawk series features triple voltage control over GPU, memory and 'Aux' which changes VDDCI voltage. As the Pitcairn series responds well to bandwidth increases at high core clocks, the ability to put a bit more voltage into the memory is very useful for benchmarkers and overclockers.

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Test Setup

 CPU  i7 3960X @ 4.7Ghz
 Motherboard  Asus Rampage IV Gene w/ BIOS 0013
 Memory  4x4Gb G.Skill Trident @ 2133Mhz 9-10-9-27 1T
 Power Supply  Antec HCP-1200
 Storage  Intel 330 Series 180Gb SSD
 OS  Windows 7 x64 w/ SP1
 Graphics Cards

 MSI R7850 Power Edition 2GD5/OC

 AMD Radeon HD 7970

 AMD Radeon HD 7870

 ASUS Radeon HD 6970 Direct CU II 2Gb

 (AMD Catalyst 12.4 WHQL Driver)

 

 ASUS GTX 560 Direct CU II TOP

 (Nvidia Forceware 301.24 Beta)

 

Overclocking

Both the 7850 and 7870 series cards are known for having excellent overclocking headroom so our expectations for the MSI R7850 Power Edition were high.

Using the MSI Afterburner utility, we were able to achieve full stability with our entire benchmark suite at the final clocks of 1240Mhz at 1.3v for the core and 1490Mhz (5960Mhz effective) for the memory. This is a full 380Mhz GPU clock increase and a 290Mhz memory clock increase over a stock clocked 7850. Some benchmarks were happy running much higher, but some flickering was seen in Alien vs Predator and BF3 which were removed with the more conservative clocks we settled on.

Knowing that only one or two benchmarks caused stability problems, we ran Heaven and pushed as far as we could go. How does a 50% core overclock from a stock 7850 at 860Mhz to 1303/1560(6240) sound? Look at the temperature at just 66% fan speed. Only 61c! This took 1.32vgpu (disclaimer: not recommended outside of quick benching) and a small bump in vmem and vddci to achieve. 1560Mhz on the memory is the maximum the slider would allow. Expect this card to take some number one 7850 scores at HWBOT very soon.

 

Over 50% core frequency overclock! Awesome!

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