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Mardi, 18 Octobre 2011 07:01

The Radeon HD 6950 Sweet Spot: Five 1 GB Cards Rounded-Up

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AMD’s 1 GB Radeon HD 6950s are certainly cheaper than their 2 GB predecessors. But are they really a better value? In theory, the Cayman GPU runs out of steam before 2 GB is needed. So, we're comparing five custom 1 GB cards to the 2 GB part to find out.

Although we haven't seen too many examples of it recently, adding tons of memory to a lower-end GPU was once a common practice, if only as a relatively affordable way to beef up a card's spec sheet. It turned out that gamers who didn't understand what really made one board faster than another would buy an overpriced GeForce 2 MX, for example, because it had more memory than a standard GeForce 2 GTS, and then end up with a slower product that was cheaper to manufacture.

Of course, we all know that the Radeon HD 6950 is far from a low-end part. Instead, the most likely reason that AMD's Radeon HD 6950 originally came with a massive 2 GB of GDDR5 RAM was based in its origin as a Radeon HD 6970. The company specified a top-end memory configuration for its best card, and the easiest way to make its number-two part was to simply flash a separate firmware to disable shader cores and drop the clocks. Using the next-lower speed grade for RAM, the Radeon HD 6950 was born.

The Radeon HD 6950 Sweet Spot: Five 1 GB Cards Rounded-Up

A lot has happened since that launch, however. To begin, the Radeon HD 6970 targeted triple-GPU configurations, where super-high resolutions and details could occasionally make use of that extra RAM. AMD's less expensive 6950 was marketed toward gamers looking to save a little money. Lower thermal ceilings allowed manufacturers to adopt more compact circuit boards for even greater cost savings and installation flexibility.

Three-way configurations and 2 GB Radeon HD 6950s are still available, but if you're running a single card, it's safe to say that, in most cases, you're going to run out of GPU muscle before you hit the limits of a 1 GB board. As a result, the Radeon HD 6950 1 GB appears to be this market’s sweet spot.

Five companies agreed with our assessment enough that they were willing to send their cards for evaluation.

The Radeon HD 6950 Sweet Spot: Five 1 GB Cards Rounded-Up

Single-Slot Graphics Comparison Specifications

Gigabyte 1GB
GV-R695OC-1GD
HIS ICEQ X 1GB
H695QN1G2M
MSI R6950 PE OC
912-V246-047
Sapphire HD 6950
1GB GDDR5 PCIE
XFX 800M 1GB
HD-695X-ZDFC
GPU Clock870 MHz800 MHz850 MHz800 MHz800 MHz
DRAM RateGDDR5-5000GDDR5-5000GDDR5-5200GDDR5-5000GDDR5-5000
DVI1 x Dual-Link
1 x Single-Link
1 x Dual-Link
1 x Single-Link
1 x Dual-Link
1 x Single-Link
1 x Dual-Link
1 x Single-Link
1 x Dual-Link
1 x Single-Link
HDMIFullFullFullFullFull
DisplayPortFullTwo MiniTwo MiniFullTwo Mini
VGABy AdapterBy AdapterBy AdapterBy AdapterBy Adapter
Output
Adapters
NoneDVI-I to VGADVI-I to VGA
Full DisplayPort
DVI-I to VGANone
Length11.0"9.7"10.8"10.3"9.6"
Height4.7"4.8"4.6"4.7"4.6"
Total
Thickness
1.5"1.6"1.6"1.5"1.5"
Cooler
Thickness
1.3"1.4"1.4"1.3"1.3"
Weight25 Ounces23 Ounces28 Ounces24 Ounces21 Ounces
PCB VersionCustom 1.0CustomV246 2.0CustomCustom
VRMEight PhasesFour PhasesSix PhasesFour PhasesFour Phases
WarrantyThree YearsTwo YearsThree YearsTwo YearsLifetime w/reg
Added Value
DiRT3 CertificateDual BIOSDiRT3 Certificate

Authors:

French (Fr)English (United Kingdom)

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