Powercolor HD6970 PCS + Review
Published: 7th February 2011 | Source: Powercolor | Price: £280est. |
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.
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.