The R6850 is built on a black PCB with a silver / chrome colored Cyclone cooler. The Cyclone cooler features a 90mm PWM-controlled 9-blade fan and heatpipes that transfer heat from the base of the cooler to the exterior fins. The base of the cooler is nickel-plated copper which should provide adequate heat transfer. These types of coolers usually work pretty well but there is one drawback; instead of dumping the heated air out the back of your case like some reference designs do, this style of cooler recirculates the heated air in your case. It's up to your case cooling to expel this added heat which will likely warm up other nearby components like your processor and memory.
Noise shouldn't be a concern as MSI has added a fan switch on the top of the card with two profiles labeled "Performance" and "Silence". Performance is selected by default so that is what we will use during our testing.
It's worth noting that the memory chips on this card are not cooled by a heatsink but rather depend on airflow from the GPU fan to stay cool. MSI does, however, passively cool the 6-phase power system for the GPU which can be found under the GPU heatsink on the left. This 6+1 power phase provides higher current power for the GPU and memory as well as higher overclocking capability and better stability under peak loads.
Connections on this card include two DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort with support for AMD Eyefinity.
MSI uses the same Military Class II components on this card that they have made popular on their motherboard lineup like the P67A-GD80. This includes Hi-c CAP (Highly-conductive capacitor) with Tantalum core, SFC (Super Ferrite Choke) and solid aluminum core capacitors.
Let's move ahead and get the card installed in our test system.