HIS HD6970 & HD6950 Review
Published: 15th December 2010 | Source: HIS | Price: £223 - £289 |
HIS HD6970 and HIS HD6950
ASUS Rampage III Extreme
Intel i7 950 @ 4GHz
6GB Mushkin Redline RAM
Corsair AX1200 PSU
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Because of the "newness" of the cards we're running on the beta Catalyst drivers supplied with the cards. Apparently the 10.12 should be out by the time you read this but as we can't test in the future and don't like to delay our reviews on the off-chance there might be a frame or two improvement in drivers forthcoming, we've used what we had to hand.
For comparative purposes we're putting the best of ATI up against the best of nVidia, the GTX580, the comparison AMD make, the GTX570 and against the last card AMD would have been aware of when designing the HD69 series, the nVidia GTX480. Have Team Red rested on their laurels or really pushed the silicon boat out?
Overclocking and Temperatures
Starting with the HD6950 we can see it's already pretty much at its limits giving up a measly 50MHz overclock. This is a problem we saw in the initial releases of the 6870 and 6850. It's almost like AMD has become allergic to overclockable graphics cards.
The HD6970 didn't fare much better giving us 70MHz extra over its stock speeds. Slightly more worrying is the temperatures under load reaching a pretty toasty 88°C. The problem isn't so much that the card is reaching that temperature. It's more that the drivers, with automatic fan control, didn't raise the speed of the fan above 38%.
We don't know about you but we'd much rather an automatic fan control try and keep the card cool rather than waiting until the GPU is in its death-throws before daring to raise the spin speed at all. In some ways we can see why AMD have done it though as even at this slow speed the card is louder than the nVidia efforts. It's not loud as such, just loud-er.