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  1. #16
    Joined
    Mar 2002
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    California
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    26,281

    Re: Upgrading Video Card

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshMST View Post
    With the Catalyst 11.4 drivers, a slightly overclocked HD 6950 is very close to the performance of a GTX 480. I'm becoming really impressed with those particular cards.
    ^^^ Agree. The 6950's are available for about $240 AR if you keep your eyes open for the deals. I picked up a pair of MSI 6950's/2Gb reference cards myself. As stated before, most of the reference boards have the ability to unlock the shaders to match the more expensive 5970 shader count. I unlocked the shaders on mine using a modified 6950 BIOS so there was no possibility of burning out my RAM with higher voltages and different timings as some have by simply flashing to a 6970 BIOS. I then lightly overclocked them. OC'd they stand up very well with not only with the GTX 480.. but also the GTX 570 and even the GTX 580 in some benchmarks and games.

    Stock:


    Shaders unlocked and speeds maxed out in CCC to 840/1325 limits:


    Shaders unlocked and lightly overclocked. Here is where I settled for both my cards:


    ^^^I used the ASUS BIOS here (see the subvendor ID) as it allows me to install the ASUS Smartdoctor software... check the "Overclocking range enhancement" and then uninstall smartdoctor. What that does is unlock higher clocks using the CCC so you do not have to mess with a 3rd party application... like Smartdoctor. Notice the much higher OC options for the GPU and Memory:


    You can disregard that temp reading at 70c idle. The screenshot was taken just after a benchmark. They idle at about 45c and max I've seen after ahours of gaming is about 73c on the top card which always runs warmer in a xfire setup no matter what you are doing. These temps were observed with the stock fan profiles unmodified which are nearly silent as far as I'm concerned. Only time I really notice the cards fans at all is when they ramp up slightly at bootup.



    This is what a single card yielded shaders unlocked and mildly OC'd to just under full 6970 870GPU 1375Memory speeds:


    Xfire:


    ^^ Those last two benchmarks were done on my i7-860 OC'd 3.6Ghz. Just Friday I picked up a i5-2500k. OC'd to 4.5Ghz I picked up about another 100 points:



    Good to know that benchmark is not horribly CPU dependent beyond a certain point.

    Bottom line...

    The new 11.4 "preview" drivers really have upped the ante with the 6xxx series cards. Xfire scaling is excellent and overclocked even mildly the price/performance ratio is excellent. I'd strongly recommend one of these cards. Even if you do not want to bother with BIOS flashing the stock 6950's OC very nicely and from what I have seen in benchmarks are within 5~10 of the 6970's at the same speeds.

    GL on your choice.
    Last edited by AMDScooter; 03-20-2011 at 05:29 PM.
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