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ATI Radeon HD 6950 Review

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tristanperry 16th December 2010, 08:16 Quote
A good review. So a pretty decent card, but nothing groundbreaking? Seems about right if so.

And good to have that ATI/AMD business cleared up :) :)
ViPPeR_666 16th December 2010, 08:26 Quote
Not a winner but a great buying option. Just loves when ATi make things right once in a while.
mi1ez 16th December 2010, 08:29 Quote
I'll wait and see what Nvidia can do. I want a decent folding card!
Xtrafresh 16th December 2010, 08:30 Quote
So you advise waiting around for the GTX560 then, even if this card is in your own words still mythical?
V3ctor 16th December 2010, 08:44 Quote
And the winner is!! HD5870... After 1 year and 3 months it's still not worth upgrading and it's still one of the top dogs :P (like a 8800GTX a few years ago)
perplekks45 16th December 2010, 08:46 Quote
Yes, and it makes sense, doesn't it?

If the performance of a 460 is anything to go by and if you look at the performance increases between 470/480 and 570/580, respectively, we might be in for another "big bang for little buck" card from the green team.
The 6950 seems like a solid card but we all know how quickly the next card comes around the corner, bitch-slaps the current king of the hill and goes on to take the crown, don't we?
memeroot 16th December 2010, 08:47 Quote
The 460 will be tempting but the (preumed) lack of memory is a concern
SchizoFrog 16th December 2010, 08:54 Quote
Another interesting thing will be if the 'mythical' GTX560 forces a price drop of the GTX460 cards. They already run at £140 for a 1GB version with a twin fan cooler... a little price drop would see these as a good SLi option. How would 2xGTX460 stack up against these 6950 cards?
Neonhalo 16th December 2010, 08:57 Quote
*Kind* of want.. Very tempted to pick one of these up as I desperately need a new graphics card, but I think I'll wait and see how Nvidia retaliate.

There IS such a thing as too much waiting, though - I've been wanting a new system over a year now and I've ended up waiting for Sandy Bridge. Knowing me, I'll end up waiting for LGA2011 and sticking with my Athlon 64 X2 5000+ for another age.

Someone make up my mind for me please!
Instagib 16th December 2010, 09:01 Quote
What do these cards overclock like? Anyone seen any figures?
xaser04 16th December 2010, 09:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
Another interesting thing will be if the 'mythical' GTX560 forces a price drop of the GTX460 cards. They already run at £140 for a 1GB version with a twin fan cooler... a little price drop would see these as a good SLi option. How would 2xGTX460 stack up against these 6950 cards?

GTX 460SLI (1GB) (assuming the cards don't run out of memory) can outperform a GTX580, especially when they are overclocked (you are looking at roughly 10-20% better peformance when the 460's are clocked). An overclocked 580 should be able to match them though (at a cost of course).

You are looking at around 25-40% faster than a single HD6950 depending on the game in question and settings used.

In certain games above 1900x1080 the 460's will start to run out of memory and thus the 6950 will be the better choice for very high resolutions (although absolute performance may still be lacking).

TBH even though I currently own GTX460 in SLI, I probably would purchase either a GTX570 or HD6950/70 if I was purchasing a card now.

Instagib - Overclocking is currently a bit up in the air so to speak. Reviewers are either stuck at the CCC max (840mhz) or can't adjust voltages to see how far the 6950 can go. I have seen clocks as high as 875mhz but I don't really know if this is representative of the 6950 in general or just a poor clocking card.

The 6970 seems to hit its CCC max of 950mhz quite easily (hardwarecanucks), but again how representative this is I don't know.
wuyanxu 16th December 2010, 09:13 Quote
the just-over-£200 spot has always been the sweet spot. with any card before it. 8800GTS 640MB was very close to 8800GTX at 2/3 of its price. gtx 260 was close to gtx 280 on their release, 5850 to 5870, now 6950 to 6970.


for overclocking, ATI cards since 5000 have been locked by CCC. you can only increase frequency up to a certain point before having to use tricks to by pass the restriction, but the tricks will cost you power management on the card. so realistically, unless you throw your warranty out of the window by using custom BIOS, running these cards overclocked pass its restrictions is foolish. i know 5870 runs at 850MHz, is locked at 900MHz. 6970 runs at 880MHz, is locked at 950MHz.
Jediron 16th December 2010, 09:32 Quote
Sorting on min fps looks odd to me, where those number occur only a very small amount of time. Why not sort on average FPS , which give you a more real view of performance ?
memeroot 16th December 2010, 10:16 Quote
its the mins that kill the game for me (its when the action happens) - most important figure
Elton 16th December 2010, 10:19 Quote
From a HD4850, the upgrade to this still isn't logical.

Owing to the fact that for almost $100 less the HD5850 and the HD6850 not to mention the GTX460 are only slightly slower (20%-ish?)
Hustler 16th December 2010, 10:26 Quote
The Nvidia 560 is, at most, 3mths away, there are no games coming out that need the grunt of a 6950 yet, so it makes sense to at least wait until the 560 appears and then decide.....

A 560 is amost certainly going to be as fast as the 470 and at least as quick as a 6950 and most likely cheaper.

No brainer to wait just a few more months for Nvidia's response.
impar 16th December 2010, 10:39 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
A 560 is amost certainly going to be as fast as the 470 and at least as quick as a 6950 and most likely cheaper.
Doubtful.

PS:
What makes sense is wait for 28nm cards as long as your current card can handle the games you play.
memeroot 16th December 2010, 11:13 Quote
560 is jan 20th the story goes....

28nm is likely q4
PlayedStation 16th December 2010, 11:17 Quote
Why do i feel stupid for buying a 6870?
xaser04 16th December 2010, 11:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu



for overclocking, ATI cards since 5000 have been locked by CCC. you can only increase frequency up to a certain point before having to use tricks to by pass the restriction, but the tricks will cost you power management on the card. so realistically, unless you throw your warranty out of the window by using custom BIOS, running these cards overclocked pass its restrictions is foolish. i know 5870 runs at 850MHz, is locked at 900MHz. 6970 runs at 880MHz, is locked at 950MHz.

MSI afterburner allows clocks past the CCC limit - profiles could also be set for correct 2D clocks. My old HD5870 used to run quite happily at 1000 on the core. The same can be said for the HD69xx series as Guru3d pushed the HD6950 up to 873mhz on the core using afterburner.

How the power management will affect overclocking though (especially through software like afterburner) will be interesting though. Perhaps we will see the -20%/+20% feature added into a future revision of afterburner.

Memeroot - minimum framerates are important but only if they are provided as more than just an absolute number. A single number doesn't tell us alot about the actual gaming experience as the minimum could be a outlier rather than the norm (say for example when the game saves on the fly causing a random yet normally unseen minimum).

The only way to get a good picture of minimums is to look at framerate plotted on a line graph against time (for the set benchmark period). Perhaps Bit could start adding this (at least for one resolution - say 1920x1080) as the data is easily available from the Fraps log files.

This is one good thing about the HardOCP reviews, they include this sort of data for both their normal run throughs and the "apples to apples" tests they run.
Xir 16th December 2010, 11:32 Quote
a possible typo in the last paragraph
Quote:
doesn't have the high price tag of the HD 5970 2GB and GTX 570 1.3GB.
Could it be that you mean the 6970 2GB?

Also, why is the "discuss in the forums" button on the bottom of the "comments" page?
rollo 16th December 2010, 11:34 Quote
5870 is nearly below £200 on some websites

overclockers have it for £187 on a weekly sale

makes this card look crap value to be honest

scan are at £206

both are in stock

both are £20 + below the 6950 both perform the same

cheapest 6950 is xfx on scan at £226
cheapest 6950 is his on overclockers at £219

5870 is cheaper than both of them yet performs the same I don't see how this gets an 8 on review. 9 on value? if you can get the same performance for £30 less how can a card get a 9 on value

maybe a re review in February when the 5870s have disappeared but as it stands you would have to be crazy to buy a 6950 over the 2 cheaper 5870s

id of given the card a 5 outta 10 maybe 6 at best

performance is the same as a year + old card no matter how much it cost at release thats not a sign of progress

and if noise isnt a huge issue which its not to some people the 480 is around £250 on overclockers and performs a fair deal faster than this card across most of the games tested yes it has heat and noise issues but they are not always relevant to everyone

feel like the entire 68 and 69 series has been duds so far they have let a years lead slip through there hands, i have read somewere they are all ment to crossfire well but most people wont spend £400 for crossfired 6870s. they want the best single card solution and the 6 series can not claim to be the best card for any price bracket. Its the best in thermals and noise in those brackets but thats not always a concern to everyone.

Considering you recommend a custom 470 why wasn't that tested against the 6950, i know you have always said you do reference models only but you recommend the 470 amp edition so were does it lye in performance wise compared to the cards here and that card isn't hot or noisy
fingerbob69 16th December 2010, 11:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Greetings!
PS:
What makes sense is wait for 28nm cards as long as your current card can handle the games you play.

^^^This! Unless your building/buying a unit right now or have a gpu die on you in the next 9/10 months or so I can see no good reason for up grading to any card from either side at the moment.
fingerbob69 16th December 2010, 11:41 Quote
@rollo

Could it be the 5870 is not long for this world?
Hustler 16th December 2010, 11:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fingerbob69


^^^This! Unless your building/buying a unit right now or have a gpu die on you in the next 9/10 months or so I can see no good reason for up grading to any card from either side at the moment.

Battlefield 3 will hopefully provide reason enough for me to upgrade from my 4850 to a 560 or 6950...:))
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