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Performance increase from a GTX 260 to a 6950

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 16, 2011 11:48:28 PM

Hey all, I'm considering upgrading from a GTX 260 to a 6950 2gb (attempting an unlock), and was wondering if that would be worth it? I'm sure it's a solid jump performance wise, but I'm a bit concerned my CPU will bottleneck it a bit. It's an E8500 (which is due for an upgrade itself, but I don't have the money, and feel a GPU is a more substantial gaming upgrade) that has been overclocked to 4.0 ghz. Any thoughts/opinions, or even any alternate GPU suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 12:21:40 AM

At 4.0ghz there should be not bottlenecking with a single card.

I don't think you should buy a 2GB for just because it might unlock. It might not unlock and the 6950s use lower quality RAM compared to the 6970s. If anything only flash the shaders. You can get a HD 6950 1GB and flash the shaders and it will perform the same as a 2GB version.

Consider the 560 Ti from nvidia. It performs about the same and it's cheaper.
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 12:26:48 AM

i agree ..... i also think that 560 Ti will match better with your processor
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 12:31:24 AM

browsingtheworld said:
You can get a HD 6950 1GB and flash the shaders and it will perform the same as a 2GB version.


Sorry to say this but no, you are completely wrong. There is absolutely no difference in performance (>1080p) between the 1G and 2G versions of the 6950. In fact, the 1g actually performed better in SOME benchmarks. Also flashing the shaders has nothing to do with that memory capacity either. Unlocking those shaders just means you have as many shaders as a 6970, just bound with lower clocks than a stock 6970.
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a c 106 U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 12:41:03 AM

You're more likely to find a a 2GB with the BIOS switch than a 1GB (I don't know if any of the current 1GBs have that backup). The extra BIOS is there in case you screw up flashing the card you can switch back to the default BIOS.

Yes going from a 260 to a 6950 will be a big jump, as the 260 is at about the level of the 5770.
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 1:01:54 AM

phishy714 said:
Sorry to say this but no, you are completely wrong. There is absolutely no difference in performance (>1080p) between the 1G and 2G versions of the 6950. In fact, the 1g actually performed better in SOME benchmarks. Also flashing the shaders has nothing to do with that memory capacity either. Unlocking those shaders just means you have as many shaders as a 6970, just bound with lower clocks than a stock 6970.

I meant the 6950 1GB can also be flashed. Why would I recommend the 1GB version over the 2GB version if I thought the 1GB version was inferior?

Obviously the shaders has nothing to do with memory capacity since I said he can flash the 1GB version.
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July 18, 2011 3:36:26 AM

Alright, appreciate the input guys. I was looking at a Visiontek reference design 2gb model. In my research, it seems that reference have a higher unlock rate due to a laser cutting procedure to prevent unlocking in most non reference cards (or, if not most, simply a higher number than reference models). Is this correct?


Also, is there any reason to avoid visiontek, or are they pretty reputable? I usually buy EVGA because I'm normally and nVidia guy.


As far as 1gb vs. 2gb, the price difference is small enough to where I'd rather go ahead and get the 2gb.
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a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2011 12:26:48 PM

reely989 said:
Alright, appreciate the input guys. I was looking at a Visiontek reference design 2gb model. In my research, it seems that reference have a higher unlock rate due to a laser cutting procedure to prevent unlocking in most non reference cards (or, if not most, simply a higher number than reference models). Is this correct?


Also, is there any reason to avoid visiontek, or are they pretty reputable? I usually buy EVGA because I'm normally and nVidia guy.


As far as 1gb vs. 2gb, the price difference is small enough to where I'd rather go ahead and get the 2gb.


I agree that you might as well spend the extra $15 to get the 2gb version. In the future, even lower resilutions might end up using that much but who knows. I honestly wouldn't count on any non-reference models being able to unlock. I know MSI Twin-Force cards have a custom bios somewhere that can be flashed, but otherwise, I don't think many of them are unlockable anymore. Not worth the risk of bricking a card at least.

Go with a reference design that might end up being a little hotter/louder. Overall though, I wouldn't even bother trying to unlock anything. The shaders get you an extra 3-5% increase in performance, however once you unlock it, the potential for overclocking goes down dramatically. I perfer to just overclock the card up to 6970 performance and not having to worry about the unlock that will net you the exact same thing.
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July 18, 2011 3:59:49 PM

Hmmmm, I was under the impression that flashing with the 6970 bios unlocked the shaders, set the card to 6970 speeds, and upped the voltage. The voltage increase would then allow overclocking to be pushed higher than stock 6970 settings. Is this not correct?
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a c 106 U Graphics card
July 18, 2011 4:06:14 PM

Flashing straight to 6970 speeds isn't advised, especially since the the 6970s use higher spec memory than your 6950 may come with. You can make a custom BIOS that will basically use the same voltage and speeds as the 6950, but with 6970 shaders. From there you can overclock the card to see what it is capable of. In my opinion that's the best way to go.
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