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Radeon HD6950 or GTX 570 + GTS 250

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  • Gtx
  • Tom's Hardware
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 9, 2011 3:44:18 AM

Hello Tom's Hardware community. I'm looking to get a new video card. I currently have a GTS 250 1 GB. I'm looking at the GTX 570 or the HD6950 and hacking it to a 6970. Which is the better value? Will the ATI card run with the GTS 250 as a dedicated Physx card? Thanks.

More about : radeon hd6950 gtx 570 gts 250

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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 9, 2011 4:16:17 AM

You can use the GTS 250 as a dedicated card with the HD6950 and after it's flashed into a 6970. Given you have no problems with a flash on the 6950, I assume you don't mind using the GenL hack to make the 250 work as a dedicated PhysX card.

Performance wise, the 570 and 6970 are very close. The advantage to the 6970 is better AA options between SSAA and MLAA. With the 250 as a dedicated card, the only draw back might be the extra card creates more noise and draw on the PSU. If you planned to use the 250 as a dedicated card with the 570, I don't see any draw backs going with the 6970. You get the best of both worlds.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 9, 2011 4:18:46 AM

And if you needed help, I've done both the flash and the physX hack with 1 and 2 monitor setups.
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January 9, 2011 4:22:07 AM

Thanks man. The 6950 is 60 bucks cheaper than the 570 right now and can be flashed to a 6970, I think I'll go with that. Do you think a 750W PSU will be enough to run the 6970 and GTS 250 simultaneously.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 9, 2011 4:33:59 AM

Yes, it should be enough.
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a c 177 U Graphics card
January 9, 2011 1:28:13 PM

Unless its a diablotek unit....
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January 9, 2011 8:52:49 PM

Dont count on the flashing trick. I did, and I tried it. It worked for me and well, but I kept getting artifacts that would not go away unless I flashed back to the 6950 bios (there is a reason they tell you to save it). Im going to get a gtx 570. A 6970 is just as good though. Im just very annoyed with amd's drivers, lack of linux support and complete inability to deliver good drivers quickly, something nvidia actually can do. In terms of hardware...aside from eyefinity and physx they may as well be exactly the same.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 9, 2011 9:31:29 PM

Did you try using the 6950 bios with the shader unlock script? For those who have troubles with the bios flash, the shader unlock script worked almost every time.
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a c 248 U Graphics card
January 9, 2011 10:28:50 PM

The 6970 and 570 are as equal as have ever seen from the two companies. But since ya have a 250 and have to redo the driver hack w/ every driver updates, I'd skip the hassles and stick with an nVidia pairing

The 570 scales substantially better if that's a consideration .... 167% for SLI and 157% for X-Fire per Guru3D's testing.
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January 9, 2011 10:54:06 PM

bystander said:
Did you try using the 6950 bios with the shader unlock script? For those who have troubles with the bios flash, the shader unlock script worked almost every time.

No I didnt. I would have but the bad drivers just annoyed me and I know I wont ever reach 6970 speeds so I decided Id get a 570 for 335, which isnt all that much more.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 9, 2011 11:46:29 PM

What was wrong with the driver? I've not heard anyone having bad driver issues.
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January 10, 2011 12:03:08 AM

Mostly nothing. However I did encounter some horizontal tearing at certain points...dunno where that came from. The game il2 (its a popular flight simulator) which is in fact about 7 years old, (not counting updates and patches) is experiencing horrible pixelation on water and artifacting (didnt happen with the 4890) and there is no linux support...which I find quite annoying.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 12:04:50 AM

The pixelation and artifacting maybe the same issue, which may have been due to the flash. Did you try v-sync for tearing? All cards tear randomly with different games based on how the sync up with the monitor.
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January 10, 2011 12:24:26 AM

Yea I had thought of that but it was happening before I flashed it and I have since flashed it back. Still there. The tearing was there at the beginning and its usually in the same place on dirt 2, and a few other games. Its strange. Honestly Im still torn between the 6970 and gtx570. The 570 is fine now but a little voice keeps saying driver updates may make the 6970 the killer card in the near future...so idk. I know amd will eventually release linux drivers for it...but who knows when, since they take forever to get driver issues worked out.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 12:33:32 AM

Well, the 570 is a good card, but tearing is random and not driver based. V-sync is the only thing that fixes it. Artifacting does sound like an issue, likely a clock issue or a bad card.
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January 10, 2011 12:49:15 AM

You make a good point. Given this cards unwillingness to even max its sliders in overclock the way it came, and not in flashed mode, and remain stable, I wouldnt be surprised. I wont be keeping it anyway. The question now comes down to 6970 vs 570. Do you think amd will make any significant performance gains on its drivers that nvidia will not, that could make it worth getting the 6970 over the 570?

(also Im fairly certain the pixelation on the water of that game is a driver issue, as it is opengl and amd took a long time getting it right with the 4890...but thats isolated from all the other problems)
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 1:14:12 AM

I wouldn't expect it to leap ahead of the 570 in performance at any time. The main thing for me, is AMD will have SSAA and MLAA which the Nvidia cards will not. SSAA is much better AA, even if it can't be used on all games, but when it can, it's a lot better. MLAA is good for those games which no AA works.

But if you don't have a dedicated physX card, and you happen to want physX, the 570 has that going for it.
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a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 2:58:17 AM

What case do you have? The 6950 requires a roomy case as it is 11" long.
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a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 3:00:37 AM

Digital Dissent said:
You make a good point. Given this cards unwillingness to even max its sliders in overclock the way it came, and not in flashed mode, and remain stable, I wouldnt be surprised. I wont be keeping it anyway. The question now comes down to 6970 vs 570. Do you think amd will make any significant performance gains on its drivers that nvidia will not, that could make it worth getting the 6970 over the 570?

(also Im fairly certain the pixelation on the water of that game is a driver issue, as it is opengl and amd took a long time getting it right with the 4890...but thats isolated from all the other problems)

The GTX 570 can overclock quite easily and come to GTX 580 levels of performance.The Forceware 266.35 driver has already brought performance gains in several games. If you plan to do Eyefinity, get the HD 6970.If not than just get the GTX 570.
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January 10, 2011 3:10:07 AM

I have a coolermaster storm sniper. I think the longest video card in history would probably fit in this thing. The 6950 I have in it now fits with plenty of room to spare. I am fascinated by eyefinity, the technology is brilliant, but I doubt I will have the money to do it at any point soon since Im upgrading my main monitor soon to ~24" size (from 20). Im more interested about sli/crossfire than eyefinity really...but more for the long term, once games get alot heavier on these cards.
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January 10, 2011 3:34:36 AM

I have a Antec 902. Will either card fit in that case?
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January 10, 2011 3:38:39 AM

The Nvidia probably will. Google hd6970 length, I found a video by ncix tech tips comparing the length of them all, then just measure your case.
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a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 4:01:32 AM

The Antec might fit the HD 6970, but cable management might worry you.
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a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 4:03:37 AM

Digital Dissent said:
I have a coolermaster storm sniper. I think the longest video card in history would probably fit in this thing. The 6950 I have in it now fits with plenty of room to spare. I am fascinated by eyefinity, the technology is brilliant, but I doubt I will have the money to do it at any point soon since Im upgrading my main monitor soon to ~24" size (from 20). Im more interested about sli/crossfire than eyefinity really...but more for the long term, once games get alot heavier on these cards.

Well, if you haven't noticed, the 266.35 beta driver has already brought SLI improvements in several games.
http://www.nvidia.com/object/win7-winvista-64bit-266.35...
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 4:14:41 AM

naterased said:
I have a Antec 902. Will either card fit in that case?


I have the same case, it fits quite easily.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 4:23:09 AM

Just keep in mind, when they say up to X% improvement, don't expect to get that. I've never seen it materialize as said. Of course there could be a setup that sees it.
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a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 4:28:14 AM

What bystander said is true, but at least you know that they're trying to improve performance.
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January 10, 2011 4:54:50 AM

bystander said:
Just keep in mind, when they say up to X% improvement, don't expect to get that. I've never seen it materialize as said. Of course there could be a setup that sees it.

Yea true. Id assume its the same as benchmarks. Under "ideal" conditions you might see that. Given our custom builds there will always be a bottleneck limiting that though, from software or hardware or whatever. Too many variables come into play, but I suppose it is "technically" possible. I suppose its the same with ati stuff as well.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 10, 2011 5:22:38 AM

Ya, those "up to" improvements are rarely true. Although I find benchmarks on these sites to be repeatable. You just have to setup your CPU to be the same speed.

I have a feeling the high point of the "up to" are those systems that are oddball setups that had bugs.
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January 10, 2011 10:08:29 PM

Now I find that not only do you need 2 gpu's (already knew this) to run a triple monitor setup, but also that dual monitor setups are very poorly executed on nvidia vs ati cards... God this just never ends. If it werent for driver support this would be so easy to decide.
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January 21, 2011 2:24:34 AM

Best answer selected by naterased.
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a c 169 U Graphics card
January 21, 2011 6:43:57 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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