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Radeon 6950 2GB vs GTX 580

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March 3, 2011 8:46:08 PM

Hey guys, I am planning a new build. It's been 3 years since I have looked at PC stuff and am now finding myself overwhelmed.
I am trying to decide between the
6950:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And the GTX 580:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: By the end of the year. Trying to keep it around 1k or less.

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming! Want to run Battlefield 3 and Skyrim at full, and hopefully play som other games in the future.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: GTX 260; Antec True Power 850W

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: upgrading Mobo/Ram/Cpu/Video Card Keeping PSU and HDD.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:Newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: That's why Im here :) 

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe In the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (1920x1080)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I only plan on Running One monitor. Maybe my old one just for screen space while editing videos and things. Would probably start with One GPU, then possibly add another after they come down in price a little.

Any help I can get would be greatly appreciated. I have read a bit about each card, but I don't know what Ill need. If I do what I want for a cheaper card, that would be better. Ill be getting whatever one will suit me though.

Also, Is it bad if the motherboard only uses PCI-e x8?
a c 125 U Graphics card
March 3, 2011 9:13:09 PM

Well the 580 is significantly faster. At 1080p to max out most games for a decent budget I'd say look at CF 6870, 6950, SLI460, SLI470, 560, 570... ehh really depends on overall budget. There's a lot of good options.

A single PCIe at 8x? That doesn't make sense... if it's 8x/8x for a 2 gpu setup then that's ok but I wouldn't get a top end card.

IMO set your budget and head over to the Systems forum, under New Builds and you can get a lot of help with picking parts.
Related resources
a c 536 U Graphics card
March 3, 2011 10:34:00 PM

There is a big difference in the performance of the two cards you listed, not to mention the price. If you can afford the GTX 580 at $500, I can recommend that. But I think you would be better off with the GTX 570 at $350, which is still better than a 6950.
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2011 11:25:25 PM

the gtx 580 is alot faster than the 6950, but than again its comparing 300 dollar graphic card and a 500$ graphic card,
a b U Graphics card
March 4, 2011 1:32:08 AM

Note that link is a triple slot card. So no, not stock cooling. The Asus DirectCU is much better than the stock cooling.
a b U Graphics card
March 4, 2011 2:40:50 AM

That is a beautiful cooler. If going single card (which most 580 owners are) that looks like the best choice to me too. What sort of temps do you get with that beast?
a b U Graphics card
March 4, 2011 11:31:05 AM

And not surprisingly those are excellent temps. Thanks!
March 5, 2011 12:52:20 PM

Wow, that card is awesome looking. If money permits when I buy, I will be getting the 580, if not I would get the 570. After looking around, they seem to have fairly close (580 is ahead of course) performance in games. If I did end up with the 570, do you think it could handle BF3 when it comes out? Or would it be better to save a little longer and get the 580?

EDIT: I saw on new egg that Asus has the same type 3 slot card in the 570 too.
March 5, 2011 2:06:51 PM

gtx580 is %15faster than 6970
6950 can easily be turned into 6970
After moded to 6970 it can be overclocked upto 970mhz
which will perform very close to stock gtx580

so why spending on 500to GTX580 while 6950 (6970) costs half price?
do you have money growing on trees? i guess not :) 
a b U Graphics card
March 5, 2011 11:22:35 PM

some people went the best of the best, it all depends on how fat ur wallet is
a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2011 1:17:03 PM

only 2GB 6950's flash to 6970's
March 13, 2011 1:21:17 PM

shrkbay said:
only 2GB 6950's flash to 6970's


That one is a 2GB. So every 2GB will flash to the 6970 than? Guess I am going to need to look at some bench marks. ATI does not have PhysX, is that real bad? How much effect does PhysX have in game? Also, if I were to buy the 6950, then flash it and wanted to add another in the future, how much wattage would the PSU need? (Would be OC the CPU)


a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2011 1:32:23 PM

^not every, but most of them, PhysX is good, but not all games have it..
March 13, 2011 1:34:31 PM

I know it's hard to say until it's released, but I figure you guys have a lot of experience and things. How well do you think the the 6970 will preform in Battlefield 3 and Skyrim?
a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2011 1:37:29 PM

it's one of the best cards, i believe it might perform quite well, and even better than you'd need
March 13, 2011 1:40:33 PM

Cool, I just get worried when buy PC stuff as it's expensive, and don't want to get something that will suck. I only get a new pc every 3 or 4 years, so while not going all out on a 2,000$ rig, I try not to skimp. Thanks for all your help guys, best community out there ;) 
a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2011 6:43:25 PM

i've searched for Kepler and i got some answers that it'll be more likely a HTPC card than gaming..
March 13, 2011 6:54:44 PM

All reference models flash into a 6970. Some non-reference models flash into 6970. I've personally flashed XFX, HIS, and Powercolor 6950's into 6970s. All were reference models and were successful with no errors.
March 13, 2011 6:56:04 PM

how do you know if it's a reference model?
March 13, 2011 7:00:35 PM

FoldingZebra said:
how do you know if it's a reference model?


A couple of ways.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The fan is always at the end on the 6950 models.

And AMD will never put their logo on the PCI-Express connector on the video card unless its a reference model.

Edit:
If there are 2 fans or if the fan is in the middle then it is a non-reference model (talking about 6950 only).
March 13, 2011 7:06:53 PM

Ok cool. It does look like the 6970 is the way to go in terms of performance per dollar. Looking over bench marks 6970 is just behind the 580 for half the price. With an overclock it's even closer. Am I wrong?
a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2011 7:11:01 PM

yeah when you OC it, it won't be far away from 580, and when you compare 6970CF to 580SLI then it's almost same
March 13, 2011 7:13:13 PM

whemian said:
gtx580 is %15faster than 6970
6950 can easily be turned into 6970
After moded to 6970 it can be overclocked upto 970mhz
which will perform very close to stock gtx580

so why spending on 500to GTX580 while 6950 (6970) costs half price?
do you have money growing on trees? i guess not :) 


Probably the smartest post on here. I wanted a 580 because Nvidia drivers are usually reliable. I had such a bad experience with the 5870 drivers that I was switching to Nvidia. I'm an enthusiast gamer but also a college kid with limited funds. When I found out that I could flash the 6950 into a 6970 and the Powercolor 6950 was on sale for $230 with free shipping/MIR I couldn't pass it up. I was willing to take a risk with AMD drivers and so far the drivers have been excellent.

Being a Dragon Age fan I would've been really angry with myself if I had gotten a GTX 580 because atm Nvidia drivers aren't doing too hot with Dragon Age 2. The only game that has beasted my card at maxed settings is Metro 2033. Other than that my card beasts every game. Also I'm the type that finds 30fps+ very playable. I don't need the full 60.
March 13, 2011 7:18:25 PM

Carc369 said:
Probably the smartest post on here. I wanted a 580 because Nvidia drivers are usually reliable. I had such a bad experience with the 5870 drivers that I was switching to Nvidia. I'm an enthusiast gamer but also a college kid with limited funds. When I found out that I could flash the 6950 into a 6970 and the Powercolor 6950 was on sale for $230 with free shipping/MIR I couldn't pass it up. I was willing to take a risk with AMD drivers and so far the drivers have been excellent.

Being a Dragon Age fan I would've been really angry with myself if I had gotten a GTX 580 because atm Nvidia drivers aren't doing too hot with Dragon Age 2. The only game that has beasted my card at maxed settings is Metro 2033. Other than that my card beasts every game. Also I'm the type that finds 30fps+ very playable. I don't need the full 60.


It really looks like at this time that is the way I would go.I'd like to thank everyone who has posted in this thread! You all have helped a lot!
March 13, 2011 7:55:39 PM

in order to do CF, would I need more than 850W PSU?
March 14, 2011 5:50:11 PM

If you plan on xfiring a 6950 whether it be stocked, overclocked, or unlocked/overclocked a quality 850W PSU would be sufficient.
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2011 7:16:23 PM

shrkbay said:
^not every, but most of them, PhysX is good, but not all games have it..


lol really the only games ive ever played that use it are batman aa, mafia 2, and mirrors edge, it was mostly overrated, take BFBC2 for example its physics engine runs on the cpu and does just fine with the right system and looks beautiful. In the end it comes down to preference however because many people will argue that physx is the greatest thing since sliced bread so its up to you to try it out and determine for yourself... but imo I'd say its not a reason to make a gpu purchase based upon...
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2011 7:19:45 PM

are you cross firing 6950s or 6970s?
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2011 7:24:13 PM

^ik its overrated
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2011 7:31:39 PM

I wonder how much a gtx 580 is cut back by an 8x pci-e slot, if a 5870 is bottlednecked by 2-3% I wonder what happens when you try to use a gtx 580 in an 8x slot?
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2011 7:34:11 PM

^boom happens :p 
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2011 7:42:36 PM

im looking for a percentage
a c 125 U Graphics card
March 14, 2011 7:47:31 PM

You'd probably lose 10% of the performance, but the 580 SLI at 8x/8x would still kick significant ass.
March 14, 2011 9:38:21 PM

jjb8675309 said:
are you cross firing 6950s or 6970s?


Would be 6950's unlocked to 6870's, so 6970's.
March 14, 2011 9:39:26 PM

FoldingZebra said:
Would be 6950's unlocked to 6870's, so 6970's.

Would be 6950's unlocked to 6970's, so 6970's.*
March 14, 2011 9:55:25 PM

To be honest the 2gb ram is overkill unless you're running 2560x1600 with AA. I was going to get a 6950 2gb, but instead I opted for the 5870, which has just about the same performance, give or take a few %. It only has 1gb RAM instead of the 2 on the 6950, but by the time I upgrade this card that won't even matter. I picked up the 5870 for $200, I saw it for $180, at the time it was about $80 cheaper than the 6950 which I didn't find worth it.

As far as Battlefield 3 performance goes, you could compare a bit with todays performance on Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Battlefield 3 will run on Frostbyte Engine 2, so probably similar but maybe a little bit more demanding. Since it'll just be an upgraded engine I wouldn't think too much more demanding than BC2.

I'm fairly certain than my 5870 will handle Battlefield 3 just fine at 1920x1200. However, I'm pretty hardcore about my battlefield, so I don't run any AA to reduce input lag, no vsync, and I do run at all low settings to see as much as possible.

The answer to your question depends on what settings you require your games to run at. If you run at 1920x1200 or higher and want to run maximum settings with 4xAA 16xAF, and you have the cash then I would definitely say get the GTX 580. If you're shooting lower get the 6950.

Depends on your budget, and what settings you really want to run.

I honestly hate AA and I think it creates some input lag, so for me there was no reason for a GTX 580, I just went for the 5870.
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2011 11:03:48 PM

What framerates do you get on mostly low settings?

Have you tried (or is there a way) to time the actual input lag?
March 15, 2011 12:24:14 AM

lmulder said:
To be honest the 2gb ram is overkill unless you're running 2560x1600 with AA. I was going to get a 6950 2gb, but instead I opted for the 5870, which has just about the same performance, give or take a few %. It only has 1gb RAM instead of the 2 on the 6950, but by the time I upgrade this card that won't even matter. I picked up the 5870 for $200, I saw it for $180, at the time it was about $80 cheaper than the 6950 which I didn't find worth it.

As far as Battlefield 3 performance goes, you could compare a bit with todays performance on Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Battlefield 3 will run on Frostbyte Engine 2, so probably similar but maybe a little bit more demanding. Since it'll just be an upgraded engine I wouldn't think too much more demanding than BC2.

I'm fairly certain than my 5870 will handle Battlefield 3 just fine at 1920x1200. However, I'm pretty hardcore about my battlefield, so I don't run any AA to reduce input lag, no vsync, and I do run at all low settings to see as much as possible.

The answer to your question depends on what settings you require your games to run at. If you run at 1920x1200 or higher and want to run maximum settings with 4xAA 16xAF, and you have the cash then I would definitely say get the GTX 580. If you're shooting lower get the 6950.

Depends on your budget, and what settings you really want to run.

I honestly hate AA and I think it creates some input lag, so for me there was no reason for a GTX 580, I just went for the 5870.


I sold my 5870 for a 6950 and unlocked it and lemme tell you, it is a HUGE upgrade. I bought the 6950 for $260 ($230 after $30 MIR check) with free shipping so it was a great deal. I was now barely able to play Metro 2033 on maxed settings. With the 5870 it was impossible. 5xxx series aren't that great with tessellation as the 6xxx series are. Seeing as most of the games I play/planning on playing provide DirectX11 support, I chose a card that would be capable of handling it at highest settings. Battlefield 2/3, Crysis 2, Dragon Age 2, Civilization V, Metro 2033, Shogun 2, and Homefront are all games that I currently own or have pre-ordered.

You're right, the 6950 isn't much better than the 5870 stocked. However, if you unlock the card and are playing a DirectX11 game, the unlocked 6950 is soooo much better than the 5870. I'm speaking from experience. The last 3 cards I've had were 6950 > 5870 > 5850. The 5870 wasn't that much of an upgrade from 5850 but the 6950 was a huge jump seeing as I play DX11 games for the most part. In DX10/DX9 benchmarks, the performance difference between the cards is insignificant.
May 23, 2012 1:22:16 PM

FoldingZebra said:
Hey guys, I am planning a new build. It's been 3 years since I have looked at PC stuff and am now finding myself overwhelmed.
I am trying to decide between the
6950:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And the GTX 580:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: By the end of the year. Trying to keep it around 1k or less.

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming! Want to run Battlefield 3 and Skyrim at full, and hopefully play som other games in the future.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: GTX 260; Antec True Power 850W

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: upgrading Mobo/Ram/Cpu/Video Card Keeping PSU and HDD.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:Newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: That's why Im here :) 

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe In the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (1920x1080)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I only plan on Running One monitor. Maybe my old one just for screen space while editing videos and things. Would probably start with One GPU, then possibly add another after they come down in price a little.

Any help I can get would be greatly appreciated. I have read a bit about each card, but I don't know what Ill need. If I do what I want for a cheaper card, that would be better. Ill be getting whatever one will suit me though.

Also, Is it bad if the motherboard only uses PCI-e x8?



you said u r looking to buy gtx 580, why not buy a hd 7950 its cheaper and has much les gpu temp, and much less power consumption than gtx 580 and its also good in games not much behind gtx 580. Take a look at the benchmarks

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/517?vs=550
a c 216 U Graphics card
May 23, 2012 1:25:34 PM

UAhmed said:
you said u r looking to buy gtx 580, why not buy a hd 7950 its cheaper and has much les gpu temp, and much less power consumption than gtx 580 and its also good in games not much behind gtx 580. Take a look at the benchmarks

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/517?vs=550


This thread is over a year old, that didn't exist then, and everything is out dated information anyways.
May 23, 2012 1:30:31 PM

Oh it happens to me all the time :D  sry it was at the 1st page i thought it'd be a few days ago :D 
a c 271 U Graphics card
May 23, 2012 6:04:43 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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