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Choosing between two 6950s

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 21, 2011 1:55:40 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Before BF3 launches BUDGET RANGE: $200-$300

USAGE: BF3, Skyrim, Witcher 2.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 V2 850W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:
Mobo: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
i5 2500k cpu

PARTS PREFERENCES: Whichever has the best dependability and warranty

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 max

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Must run BF3 at 30fps minimum at close to max/max settings, I figured that I would need a 2gb card since I will be running at a pretty high resolution. I also do not want to have to worry about overheating, my system will be air cooled. And I don't want a loud card.
After Christmas if the single card is not performing as well as I wish I will likely sell it and upgrade to a higher spec single card, or go Xfire.

The two cards in question are
PowerColor AX6950 2GBD5-2DH Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity - 264.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
AND

HIS IceQ X Turbo H695QNT2G2M Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity - $269.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am doing the Deus Ex bundle on both, however the HIS card also comes with Dirt 3, this does not matter to me though, whichever performs best is the one I want.

More about : choosing 6950s

a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2011 3:05:23 AM

Do you understand that the two 6950s will perform about the same and that the cooler design is the distinguishing difference? The slight diff in clock speeds is trivial.
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a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2011 3:06:34 AM

yesh, i would just go with the HIS, ive heard nice things about that cooler model.
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September 21, 2011 3:37:29 AM

beenthere said:
Do you understand that the two 6950s will perform about the same and that the cooler design is the distinguishing difference? The slight diff in clock speeds is trivial.

It would be helpful to know if they have different dimensions(HIS is not posted) or other features, such as unlocking to a 6970. DO either of those cards unlock?
Ive looked up this one
SAPPHIRE FleX 100312FLEX Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And someone mentions that they unlocked it - "Sapphire trixxx and the card automatically unlocked to the 6970 shaders". Would this make much of a difference in games?
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a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2011 3:42:16 AM

i never got into that unlocking game, but im pretty sure any new cards you can buy dont unlock, and any left over are very hard to find.
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a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2011 3:46:19 AM

Unlocked 6950 cards supposedly dried up months ago.
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a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2011 3:48:51 AM

there was someone in the forum not too long ago that got one such card but the bios switch had been removed.
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September 21, 2011 4:55:42 AM

So the general consensus is that the Sapphire card is not quite worth the extra $10, also considering its fan problems that people are reporting?
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a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2011 5:01:14 AM

If that's the consensus then yes, you will be happy with the HIS, as I said before I've heard good things about their iceQ cooler
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Best solution

a c 217 U Graphics card
September 21, 2011 7:00:55 AM

I have a set of instructions for unlocking the shaders with a bios edit (still requires a flash, but not to a 6970 bios). Recently there have been a few posts on people who have found the HIS 6950 IceQ cards are still unlocking. That is, of the last 4 people who posted about it in the last month or 2, only 1 was not able to unlock the shaders and it's likely just one with damaged shaders, which was always a possibility before.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/316974-33-radeon-6950...

Because of this, I'd choose the His IceQ. Don't expect to unlock it, but it appears there is a vary good chance it will, even today.
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September 22, 2011 4:59:14 AM

Best answer selected by ekolow.
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