With the "Cayman" GPU architecture from AMD came two very good video card models : the Radeon HD 6950 and the 6970. These have both been excellent sellers for AMD and product partners.
ASUS Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II Overclocked :
It seems that every time we turn around there a new PC component that is new to the market that we must have. Just recently we see that AMD just received a new processor featuring quad-cores, Intel is right around the corner (we hope) with their new offering and before we can blank we will probably be seeing new Radeon 7xxx series graphic cards as well as Nvidia 7xx family models.
Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of upgrading to the newest and faster product, will when I can afford them. But before we see these new GPUs, the current units are doing an awfully good job of performing and blasting through today’s video cards as well as other highly graphic utilized applications.
One of these graphic cards would be the Radeon HD 6950 from AMD. This particular GPU is considered by many to be the best band-for-the-buck cards out there. We won’t agree or disagree until we get a chance to put it on the bench.
The Radeon HD 6950 is from the Cayman Pro family that boasts an 800MHz core clock as well as 1250MHz GDDR5 memory clock. This along for many maybe enough to consider the card a worthy purchase but the 1408 shader processors and 2GB of memory definitely does help a lot.
Our sample we are testing today is from ASUS and you know they are not ones to leave reference numbers and parts alone. The Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II increases the stock core clock to 810MHz while the memory clock remains the same. But where this Radeon HD 6950 is in the cooling department which is based on direct heat pipe technology to help keep core clocks are bay.
Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 6970 2GB Dual Fan Overclocked:
If you were to take a look over at Sapphire’s website you will see several Radeon HD 6970 listed, 7 to be exact. Which, besides a possible bundled game, you may want to know what exactly the real differences between the models are. To put it briefly, all have a standard 880MHz core and 2GB of GDDR5 memory; some have a game bundle, some don't, but primarily it is a difference in the equipped cooler. That last one is where today's review sample comes in. It has dual fans to help with sound reduction, as well as better cooling in conjunction with the 8mm & 6mm heat pipes. There is also the dual BIOS switch, something normally available on many Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6990 models. We will get more into this during the review process, but felt we should break down what makes this model stand out.
The new SAPPHIRE HD 6970 has the same internal architecture as the standard model, with 1536 stream processors and 96 texture processing units, and clock speeds are 880MHz for the core and 1375 MHz (5.5Gb/sec effective) for the 2GB of GDDR5 memory. This new design has two 90mm fans with thin impellers that can move the same amount of air at 10% lower rotation speeds than conventional fans, keeping noise low, and their special dust repelling bearings contribute to high reliability.
With the Dual BIOs set to the standard position, the Dual fans keep this model quiet and up to 25% cooler than the standard model even under load conditions. With the BIOS switched to the performance setting, the core voltage of the GPU is raised to 1.2V, the fan speed is set to a high performance profile and the power tune adjustment for overclocking is raised to 50% allowing the user to maximize performance of the card by increasing clock speeds either with AMD Overdrive or with SAPPHIRE TriXX up to a ceiling of 1500MHz core, 2000MHz memory.