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6970 vs 6950

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  • Graphics Cards
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Last response: in Graphics Cards
May 17, 2011 9:10:41 AM

Obviously the 6970 has better performance but it is currently about $340(aud) where as the 6950 is $240(aud) is the 6970 worth the extra $100 or should I get one 6950 now and wait till the prices comes down to get another? Will the 6970 get a significant price drop anytime soon? or ever?

I'm thinking maybe just go for a powerful single card as people seem to be against Crossfire in general and this is my first build. I'm wanting it for BF3, MW3, Crysis and other games just I assume they will be the more demanding of the things I plan to play.

Anyone want to point me in the direction of the best card for my needs, looking to play at MAX settings @ 1920x1200 with a secondary monitor at 1680x1050 both 60Hz

These are the parts that may be relevant to your advice:

CPU: i5 2500K (not OC for a while/if at all)
RAM: 8GB 1333Mhz
PSU: OCZ Fatal1ty 750W or Silverstone Strider 750W
Case: CM Storm Enforcer

More about : 6970 6950

May 17, 2011 9:20:31 AM

a single 6950 card can easily handle 1920X1080 resolution. go for 6950 and may be you are lucky enough to mod it to 6970 by bios.

P.S there is about 10-15% variation in the performance of 6970 and 6950.
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a c 131 U Graphics card
May 17, 2011 9:30:55 AM

Hi,
Don't know if you are aware or not but the 2gb version of the 6950 has a very high success rate of bios flashing to upgrade it to a full 6970.
Its pretty much without risk as the card has a twin bios so you can flash one and if it dosent work you have the other bios.
Full details here http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar...

As its your first build you may not want to try that which is understandable. Personally i don't think the 6970 is worth the extra cash on a strict money vs performance increase. Of course these things are personal decisions that are based on your budget etc and for me it would be more fun to get the 6950 and "play" with it a bit to get more performance out of it.

My advice to you as a first time builder would be to get the 6970 if its within your budget. It will give you the horsepower to play those games at a bit better settings than a 6950 would. You seem to have the idea that keeping things to stock settings is a good idea, it is, and don't let others tell you any different. later on you might want to tinker but for a start stock is good.

If the 6970 is a bit of a stretch budget wise then you can always get the 6950 and keep it to stock for a while then tinker later.
I wouldn't expect any worth while price drops any time soon.

Mactronix :) 
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May 17, 2011 9:39:11 AM

I am aware this is possible and I can't tell you how many times people have reconmended it. I hear the memory can get damaged over time from this though and from what I read it's becoming a less common occurance these days, the second batch is starting to filter through and people are not getting unlockable cards as much.. So I would rather just assume I won't succeed then buy one expecting it to happen.

Thankyou mactronix you are correct on all accounts. I won't even overclock until the i5 starts to slow down, I'm going to be cautious until I learn my way around things :) 

The 6950 has just in the past few weeks had like a huge price drop from $300(aud) to $240(aud) and I'm tempted to get one and wait a few months get another but I'm not sure if Crossfire involves alot of work to setup/maintain. :/ 
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a c 131 U Graphics card
May 17, 2011 9:53:15 AM

I have never used Crossfire or SLi There are things to consider such as crossfire profiles for new games which are usually not available straight away from what i understand but as i say i don't use it so im just going on whats posted on these forums.

Let me ask you this, is it your first computer or what are you upgrading from ?
As said the 6950 is a perfectly capable 1920 x 1080 card, heck even cards under that are ok as long as you don't have to have all the settings turned up. If you do then it a 6970.
However if you can live with turning the textures and shaders down a notch here and there the a single 6950 will do fine.

Mactronix :) 
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May 17, 2011 10:21:54 AM

Not my first computer haha I have a little experience with modifying PC's, adding extra RAM, Installing Windows, adding extra HDD's but not for atleast 2 years so I imagine not alot is the same and I'm not very confident. Currently I have a laptop I got for studies which it does excellently travels well from the coast to home just what I wanted when I got it but after playing XBL being a pretty keen console gamer I've grown tired of it and want to try PC gaming and have the money to build a PC so why not.

Well I would like to turn everything up to MAx on game sliek crysis and still get 30+ fps which it would seem may be the case? http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/293?vs=292 (anyone know better?) with a 6950. I could live with no AA I imagine as I'm coming from console gaming and not alot of magic goes on there...

And at 100 less its seems stupid to get a 6970 as that 100 is close to half way to the second 6950 :p 

Just wary of Crossfire issues :/ 
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May 17, 2011 12:15:05 PM

why in the world would people be against crossfire? Currently crossfire in the 6000 class GPUs scales better than anything nvidia has to offer.

A single 6950 can handle 1080p with max settings (depending on the title). If you feel you need more power then simply add a second. those cards are beastly.

You should opt to go with the 6950 2GB reference version so you have the option of flashing it, but generally those cards are 40-60$ more expensive. The dual BIOS pretty much eliminates any potential risk of screwing anything up. So long as the heat is kept in check you shouldn't see any increase in long term damage to the cards compared to their 6970 branded counterparts. It's the same damn card.

If you're looking to use a 2 monitor setup and game on both of them then I'd suggest going with the 6950 2GB (flashed to 6970). The extra memory certainly helps in that respect. If you're not gaming on both monitors then the extra memory doesn't really help much. Either way you really can't go wrong as both of those cards are badass and do very very well in crossfire.
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May 17, 2011 12:26:12 PM

Yeah I mean the 2GB, 1GB wasnt in question :p 

But only gaming on one, second one is secondary for skype, msn, itunes etc whatever I have going on in the pre-game lobby :p 

I suppose I could try the 6970 flash, it voids warranty doesn't it?
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May 17, 2011 3:18:52 PM

fshaharyar said:
a single 6950 card can easily handle 1920X1080 resolution. go for 6950 and may be you are lucky enough to mod it to 6970 by bios.

P.S there is about 10-15% variation in the performance of 6970 and 6950.


I think AMD have got rid of the bios switch on the new production cards so he may not be able to flash to a 6970.
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May 17, 2011 4:48:01 PM

olliiee said:
Yeah I mean the 2GB, 1GB wasnt in question :p 

But only gaming on one, second one is secondary for skype, msn, itunes etc whatever I have going on in the pre-game lobby :p 

I suppose I could try the 6970 flash, it voids warranty doesn't it?



What exactly are you looking to buy? Crossfire or no? what's the price range? Considering you're not gaming on both monitors then a single 6850 can suit you just fine -- 6950 if you want to crank up the gimmicks.

I'd say just buy the 1GB version of the 6950 and crossfire another later if you feel you need it. The 6970's are a little harder to find now but if you can get your hands on one with the switch then go for it. I'm not sure whether the switch voids the warranty or not, but that's why it's a switch :p  the decision isn't permanent.
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May 17, 2011 5:43:37 PM

6970 is exactly 8% more capable than 6950. Way more than 8% more expensive though.
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May 17, 2011 8:14:10 PM

I'm looking to buy a card that will require not alot of effort or trouble or pain in the future and that will be able to play games like BF3 and Crysis comfortable on MAX settings possibly with AA off etc. So I know I'll have a setup for a year or two without upgrading.

At first I wasn't keen on Crossfire but when I saw I could get the 6950 for $100 less it seemed stupid to buy the 6970. Now I'm back considering it :p  I've never set up crossfire and really don't know how it's done.. I was hoping it might just be plugging them in but I can't imagine its that easy.

My budget right now I suppose would be $350. But like I said 1 6950 now another in 6 months time? or one now and a new card in 12 months when the next series of Nvidia and AMD cards are released? seems like my best options. Knowing system specifications for BF3 would probably help make my decision for me.

Coming from console gaming will I see a huge difference between Max settings and just High settings?
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May 17, 2011 8:56:42 PM

Not much of a difference. You'll likely notice FPS difference before you will the max/high settings.

Crossfire is very easy to set up. You need a crossfire bridge (which you get with some video cards) and a crossfire capable mobo. Plug in the display on the top card and it'll prompt for a reboot after the drivers are done.

I'd guess that a 6950 would be able to play BF3 very very well at 1080p. Of course, if you find you need more horsepower than just add a second =P

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