Powercolor HD6970 PCS + Review


Powercolor HD6970 PCS + Review


The PowerColor 6970 PCS+ is like an Express Train. It came out the box running hard, and never let up at all, giving great results through out all of our testing.

We're often complaining of how manufacturer clocked cards don't get anywhere near the limits of the chip, yet here with the PCS+ we're enough below it to allow for the odd chip that doesn't perform quite as well, but still at about the limit of the speeds available without the user needing to do anything.

This needs really considering. Sure there is a price premium to pay for the PCS+ when compared to a reference card, but you get so many benefits with it. You aren't stuck playing the silicon lottery in the hopes of getting a chip that will happily run at 940MHz. You aren't stuck, if you do get lucky with your GPU, with a reference cooler whining away like a shadow cabinet minister. Lastly of course you don't actually have to go through the whole overclocking process, making sure the card runs at those speeds upon bootup and reapplying them with every driver update.

Pricewise it's damn good too. £270-280 is certainly at the very peak of HD6970 pricing, and it's right up against the price of a very stock, basic, GTX570 card.

But you're not getting a basic card, you're getting an absolute premium model, that looks gorgeous, is quieter than a ninja in slippers and hits like a sledgehammer. Plus of course a copy of Modern Warfare 2 if that particular title has slipped by you.

About the only downsides are more to do with the age old ATI driver issues than anything else. Although ATI drivers are a massive improvement on those of old, they are still a little inconsistent. The performance drops in Unigine are staggering to be honest and whilst not many games take advantage of Tessellation yet there certainly will come a day in which they do, and then who knows.

Now and again a manufacturer can start to rest on their laurels and hope that the name alone will make the customer choose them over a competing product. It's clear that PowerColor most certainly aren't complacent and the HD6970 PCS+ is absolutely deserving of the PCS+ branding and we're happy to award it the OC3D Silver Award.


**Edit 08/02/2011**

After speaking with Powercolor they have advised us the card should support voltage changes in MSI afterburner. We do run a driver sweep before every GPU review and always run the latest drivers available at the time of testing, but it is advised that if you do run into problems please make sure you are using the latest drivers, the latest version of Afterburner and have ran a driver sweep before installing. If all else fails and you do wish to have the voltage options please try a fresh OS installation. It is not confirmed but this could be an issue with the latest Catalyst drivers.


Thanks to PowerColor for providing the 6970 PCS+ for review. Discuss in our forums.

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Most Recent Comments

07-02-2011, 05:56:30

The PCS+ cards from Powercolor have always been a mighty fine performer. Is their 6970 version as potent?

Continue ReadingQuote

07-02-2011, 06:14:57

Love the Powercolor red PCB, it's a nice deep proper red that suits an ATi/AMD build extremely well.Quote

07-02-2011, 06:19:15

Its not the card, its the new ATI drivers.Quote

07-02-2011, 06:20:19

Mental note don't skip to graphs xDQuote

07-02-2011, 07:49:54

Nice curvy heatpipes now thats one card i would like to have.Quote

07-02-2011, 08:58:27

watched the video the otherday , been waiting for the writen review Quote

07-02-2011, 09:10:56

I watched the vid and was quite surprised, Powercolor are one of the last brands I think of when buying a graphics card Asus and MSI being the first but they have done a good job of the 6970. It might not be the bedt looking card (in my opinion) but it's the best performance wise.Quote

07-02-2011, 14:28:59

The cooler is the same as the one Palit used on their 285 cards, red pcb too, (I'm trying to kill one atm) except I wouldn't swear the copper's the same thickness. Shrouds are shrouds.

I've got to take a look at these drivers, there has to be a reason for what they've done.Quote

07-02-2011, 14:45:41

Great vid tom gd to see you liking a ati again, just as ive been talked into buying a ati on here so where do i sign cant find 1 any whereQuote

08-02-2011, 06:31:44

Add another 120£ and get two GTX 560 TI & run them in SLI and this whole review will be blown to bits, Seriously AMD has got to do something about the prices of 6970 &6950 because OC UK are selling the ASUS 480 GTX for 219£ & SCAN have just put it out for 208£ so a word of advice to AMD’s marketing department you need to sit-down and rethink your pricing strategy because the time of stupid impulse buyers is over everybody these days has become specialist in buying computer components and read loads of reviews before buying anything, the world has changed and we now have very smart customers, believe me that’s the message I’ve been trying to but in my dinosaur boss head for months now but without any results unfortunately.


10-02-2011, 23:15:10

south side sammy
I have to ask since this review is different from what I've seen elsewhere. The FarCry2 benchmarks using the GTX560, they seem very low in comparison to others I've seen. Way low as a matter of fact. Are they correct or is this a misprint?Quote

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