Planning my first build. Deciding between GTX 560 or Radeon 6950. I'm also on a tight budget so missing out on %10 performance doesn't make a difference to me. I'm going to be doing some heavy gaming and stuff like that and........yeah here is my (planned) build:
Get the 6950, definitely the better card and when paired up scales really well for future upgrade. Speaking of future upgrades, I'd go with a 990FX AM3+ board http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or similar. That way you'll be ready for next gen of CPUs, also at least a 750w PSU (min CF 6950 recommended)
For a single monitor setup at 1080p go with the 560 Ti since it performs just as fast as the 6950 at that resolution and is cheaper ($220 shipped vs. $240 shipped for the 1GB 6950 before MIR). Plus nvidia drivers are a bit better.
For multiple monitors or a 30" 2560x1600 get the 6950 2GB since the extra VRAM will be used at that resolution.
The 6950 is not faster than the 560 Ti; they perform about the same as indicated in the benchmarks above.
Anyone who is willing to go through the trouble of unlocking the 6950 (or just the shaders as they should be doing if they were at all informed) is willing to overclock the 560 Ti. When overclocked the 560 Ti will outperform a 6970. Both the 6950 and 6970 can be overclocked as well but the headroom for nvidia cards is much greater than tan for the AMD cards. The 6950 overclocks better than the 6970.
Get the MSI 560ti twin frozr II. My opinion may be biased since I own one, but it's as fast or faster than a 6950 at 1920x1080 in most instances and has plenty of head room to overclock which is quite simple with MSI afterburner. I play with max details on Black Ops, MoH, SC2, New Vegas, etc with no hiccups at all and the card never goes above 65c.
Brand doesn't really matter with nvidia cards since their reference coolers are very good.
that isnt a reference cooler. and manufacturers definitely do matter. i would also go with the msi 560 ti twin frozr 2 because it is the best cooler for any video card out today (besides the twin frozr 3 which is only on higher end cards)