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Home > Hardware Reviews > Graphics Cards

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Club3D Radeon HD 6950

1. Meet the Club3D HD 6950 1GB Graphics Card

AMD released its Radeon HD 6950 earlier this year, strategically positioned perform faster than the company's HD 6800 series as well as Nvidia's GTX 460 GPUs and the recently released GeForce GTX 560 Ti. The card is utilizing AMD's Cayman PRO GPU chipset, which has a redesigned microarchitecture aimed against Nvidia's Fermi-based solutions.

The Radeon HD 6950 has 1408 stream processors, 88 texture units, and still all 32 ROPs attached to the same 2GB of GDDR5. The core clock is set to 800MHz, while the memory clock is 1250MHz . TDP is 200W, while idle power is the same as with the 6970 at 20W.

As you see in the table below, the HD 6950 featuring a stripped down version of the Cayman's PRO GPU, which also powers the HD 6970 card. So the HD 6950 features the same amount of transistors with the HD 6970 but also less stream processors, texture units and memory:

  AMD Radeon HD 6970 AMD Radeon HD 6950 AMD Radeon HD 6870 AMD Radeon HD 6850 AMD Radeon HD 5870
Stream Processors 1536 1408 1120 960 1600
Texture Units 96 88 56 48 80
ROPs 32 32 32 32 32
Core Clock 880MHz 800MHz 900MHz 775MHz 850MHz
Memory Clock 1.375GHz (5.5GHz effective) GDDR5 1.25GHz (5.0GHz effective) GDDR5 1.05GHz (4.2GHz effective) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz effective) GDDR5 1.2GHz (4.8GHz effective) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 2GB 2GB 1GB 1GB 1GB
FP64 1/4 1/4 N/A N/A 1/5
Transistor Count 2.64B 2.64B 1.7B 1.7B 2.15B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Lowest Price $340 $250 $210 $170 $230

In the biggest change to AMD's core GPU architecture, AMD is moving to the VLIW4 architecture, which allows better utilization than the pervious VLIW5 design, according to AMD. With AMD Radeon HD 6900 series graphics, AMD has further enhanced its GPU design efficiency, realizing a 10 percent improvement in performance/mm2.

The Cayman GPU also implements AMD's 8th generation tessellator, which implies is the 7th generation tessellator with even further enhancements. The dual 8th generation tessellation units deliver up to 2.9x tessellation performance compared to ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics. It also features a refined texture filtering engine and supports the DisplayPort 1.2 standard, which doubles DisplayPort's bandwidth to 21.6Gbps, giving DisplayPort a significant bandwidth lead over dual-link DVI. This means that it's now possible to drive multiple monitors off of a single root DisplayPort. The 6900 series also comes with an HDMI 1.4a output.

The HD 6900 series also features AMD's PowerTune technology, which automatically adjusts GPU power draw by dynamically controlling clock speeds, allowing gamers advanced performance inside of the power envelope they specify.

The AMD Radeon HD 6900 series also enables an exceptional game play experience in DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL titles in single card or multi-card AMD CrossFireX configurations.

Enhanced anti-aliasing features enable dramatically improved image quality and enhanced visual quality features . New features include Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA), which uses a new sampling technique to help improve visual quality, Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA), compatible with any DirectX 9, DirectX 10, or DirectX 11 application, and improved anisotropic filtering.

The cards also feature AMD HD3D technology, backed by our open 3D initiative for stereo 3D gaming and movies, AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology and the Unified Video Decoder 3 (UVD3), a dedicated video playback accelerator that helps users get the most out of HD video, online video and Blu-ray 3D, while enjoying a video quality improvements such as advanced post-processing and scaling, dynamic contrast enhancement, color correction and more.

Pricewise, the cheapest Radeon HD 6950 1Gb solution is currently available for $250. Below you see the prices of some other cards:

Card
Lowest online price
Nvidia GTX 460 (2gb)
$210
AMD Radeon HD 6870
$210
Nvidia GTX 470
$240
GeForce GTX 560 Ti
$250
AMD Radeon HD 6950
$250
AMD Radeon HD 5870
$270
Nvidia GTX 570
$340
AMD Radeon HD 6970
$340
Nvidia GTX 480
$400

It is obvious that Nvidia is offering the GTX 560 Ti GPU at the $250 price point.

Today we have in our labs Club3D's version of the AMD Radeon HD 6950, the Club3D Radeon HD 6950. The card is is equipped with 1GB of memory rather than the standard 2GB, and it is considered as AMD's response to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti GPU. The reduction in memory capacity means it will not be able to scale as high in resolution and AA settings, especially with CrossFireX, since it will be limited by its RAM.

Specifications

Model Product Name: Radeon HD 6950
Product Series: Radeon HD 6000
Item Code: CGAX-69524F
EAN Code: 8717249409250

Bus Interface: PCI Express 2.1
GPU Chipset: Cayman Pro

GPU Clock: 800MHz
Stream Processors: 1408

Multi-GPU: CrossFireX
Memory Size: 1024 MB
Memory Interface: 256BIT
Memory Type: GDDR5
Memory Clock: 5000MHz
Cooling Type: Active Fansink

3D API DirectX version: 11
OpenGL: YES

Slot Width: 2 Slots
Profile: Standard profile
Card Size: 267*125*38 mm

Output Configuration:

DVI: 1x Dual Link
DVI: 1x Single Link
CRT: via Adapter
HDMI: 1x
Mini Display Port: 2x
HDCP ready: YES

RAMDAC: 400MHz
Max. Res. digital: 2560x1600
Max. Res. analog: 2048x1536

- Package

The Club3D Radeon HD HD 6950 1GB retails in the black package you see below:

 

Besides the Club 3D Radeon HD 6950 graphics card, the bundle includes a CrossFire Bridge (CAC-CB), driver & e-Manual CD and a quick install guide:

The dual-slot card measures 267*125*38 mm and it should be installed to a PCI Express x16 slot:

The card is equipped with Club 3D's CoolStream dual-fan cooling system, which is features heatpipes that keeps the components cool:

The card should be powered by two 6-pin PCIe PEG power connectors:

Connectivity options include 1x dual link DVI port, 1x single link DVI, 1x HDMI and 2x mini Display port.

That's all for the packaging and the card's looks. We installed the card and fired up the GPU-Z utility, which confirms the card's basic specifications:

 




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