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6950 - Which brand?

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  • Radeon
  • Battlefield
  • Crossfire
  • Graphics
  • Product
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 30, 2011 2:17:43 PM

Hi I've decided to treat myself to an ATI 6950 since my 4870's in crossfire are having a hard time in BF3!

I'm dead set on getting this card, but what I don't know is which brand should I go for?

I've heard that XFX offer a lifetime warranty which sounds amazing!
Do you guys know what the main benefits are to which brands? What could compete with a lifetime warranty? I'm hoping to order very soon so any advice would be much appreciated!

Thanks :) 

More about : 6950 brand

October 30, 2011 2:27:29 PM

4870's in BF3 should NOT be having a hard time. A 6950 is slower than 4870's in crossfire anyways. What resolution??

4870's are WAAAAAAAY faster than the BF3 recommended HD5850. So you obviously have other issues.

As for the question, I tend to go with the ones that have the best warranty. XFX, EVGA.
October 30, 2011 2:29:31 PM

they are perform the same at the same clocks (some come overclocked) ive never seen more than a frame per second difference in reviews. so it really comes down to cooling and warranties. cooling is all rather good now-a-days, yet still some are better than others.
i myself buy xfx because of their double lifetime warranties. i can sell the card and the person who buys it gets a lifetime warranty. after registering of course.
Related resources
October 30, 2011 4:45:53 PM

well yeh i thought crossfired 4870's should be doin good but ive realised the crossfire scaling on my cards is terrible in bf3, at least at this point. it doesn't really make any difference when i disable crossfire. ive been looking into stuff loads though and really want to get a 6950 and crossfire it next year :) 

so xfx do have good warranties and im leaning towards gettin one for that reason. so what's the evga warranty like?

thanks for the replies!
October 30, 2011 7:59:46 PM

As said above, two 4870's should totally kill BF3 like it was nothing. Either way Tom's wrote an article that the 1GB 6950's were actually a better deal since on a 2GB 6950 like mine, the Cayman GPU would actually run out of juice before it got the most of the 2GB it has. In either spec though, the 6950 is a really good card, just don't make the mistake of getting a reference card like I did.
October 30, 2011 8:08:54 PM

Deemo13 said:
As said above, two 4870's should totally kill BF3 like it was nothing. Either way Tom's wrote an article that the 1GB 6950's were actually a better deal since on a 2GB 6950 like mine, the Cayman GPU would actually run out of juice before it got the most of the 2GB it has. In either spec though, the 6950 is a really good card, just don't make the mistake of getting a reference card like I did.


thanks for the tip man :)  im not sure exactly what you mean by a "reference card" though? Is that xfx one a reference card?
October 31, 2011 3:36:49 PM

Warranties over 3 years only interest me so much. Face it...In another 3 years you will likely be replacing this purchase with something else just like you are now with your 4870s. Many gamers do.

I have been really impressed with my recent ASUS purchase. Their super alloy components and Direct CU cooling units they use are just superb. Not only do they run cool but they typically are quiet also.

Check out this video from ASUS' Senior Technical Marketing Specialist. It is amazing how much quality they put into their cards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rvx3twxDwdk

Below is the picture of my ASUS 6870 Direct CU. The packaging is the best I have ever seen. Nice THICK protective foam totally encases the card. It really gave me peace of mind when opening the package. It made me feel my investment was well protected while in transit to my house. ASUS' other models of cards are packaged similarly.

October 31, 2011 3:58:34 PM

i looked on the xfx website and it confirms you get a double lifetime warranty if you register within 30 days of purchase. this is a pretty attractive offer. generally asus build good quality stuff so they would be an option also.

what do you guys think of this one?
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Graphics+Card...

im still not sure how im supposed to tell if something is a reference design either?

thanks all.
October 31, 2011 5:13:36 PM

The MSI ATI Radeon HD 6950 Twin FrozR II you linked is a good card and is definitely not reference.

Most reference cards look like a box (for both AMD and Nvidia)

Here is a 6970 with a reference cooler:

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

Non-reference cards typically offer lower temps with less noise. This is not true in all cases however for the most part it is.

October 31, 2011 5:18:45 PM

rwayne said:
The MSI ATI Radeon HD 6950 Twin FrozR II you linked is a good card and is definitely not reference.

Most reference cards look like a box (for both AMD and Nvidia)

Here is a 6970 with a reference cooler:

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

Non-reference cards typically offer lower temps with less noise. This is not true in all cases however for the most part it is.

+1 to the MSi twin frozr, not only will your card be near silent and cool, but it is good looking as a bonus
October 31, 2011 5:28:04 PM

rwayne said:
Warranties over 3 years only interest me so much. Face it...In another 3 years you will likely be replacing this purchase with something else just like you are now with your 4870s. Many gamers do.

I have been really impressed with my recent ASUS purchase. Their super alloy components and Direct CU cooling units they use are just superb. Not only do they run cool but they typically are quiet also.

Check out this video from ASUS' Senior Technical Marketing Specialist. It is amazing how much quality they put into their cards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rvx3twxDwdk

Below is the picture of my ASUS 6870 Direct CU. The packaging is the best I have ever seen. Nice THICK protective foam totally encases the card. It really gave me peace of mind when opening the package. It made me feel my investment was well protected while in transit to my house. ASUS' other models of cards are packaged similarly.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f44/Rwayne/ASUS6.jpg


Your looking at it wrong if warranties over 3yrs don't interest you......If your card dies after 2yrs it'll be likely replaced with a newer card cause they don't make those cards anymore, so whether your even using it at the 3yr point or not, you can send it back and get a modern card in return.

How do you think I got my HD5850 a year and a half ago? I sent in a HD4770 that died after 2yrs and 2months. Seems interesting to me.

Besides, you'll have a much better chance at selling your old card to someone else on Ebay if you have a transferrable lifetime warranty vs trying to sell it "as is" with NO WARRANTY.
October 31, 2011 5:41:04 PM

i see. so it's basically the plain lookin ones with a single fan that arelikely to be the reference models. thanks

there is a twin frozr III as well which is clocked pretty close to the 5970's speed. i think that would be the absolute limit of my budget though as i only have £235 to spend.

Althought the xfx warranty is amazing for resale value, i think im probably gonna go for the the 6950 twin frozr III as it looks like it will perform the best out of the lot. some websites are advertising 5970's within the same price range but they're out of stock. i'm buying tomorrow afternoon so will get whatever is the best thing available for my money then.

thanks for all the advice everyone :) 
October 31, 2011 5:43:00 PM

sorry a few typos in that reply. i meant some shops are advertising the 6970's in that price range...
October 31, 2011 5:43:42 PM

clocks dont have everything to do with speed, and the 6950 has better tesselation support than the 5970. the 5970 is a dual GPU card if youre into that sort of thing
October 31, 2011 5:44:28 PM

i stand corrected, lol the 6970 is around 15-20% faster than the 6950
October 31, 2011 5:45:16 PM

FlintIronStagg said:
clocks dont have everything to do with speed, and the 6950 has better tesselation support than the 5970. the 5970 is a dual GPU card if youre into that sort of thing


sorry that was another typo. i meant 6970 both times there, not 5970. been looking at to many 5 series cards on ebay lol... surely the clock speeds affect speed somewhat??
October 31, 2011 5:51:18 PM

the clock speeds help, but a 800/1600/2100 speed on a 6950 still doesnt beat or match a 800/1600/2100 on a 6970. it will increase the performance of that particular card, but the actual GPU has either more shaders, more power, etc. ....
October 31, 2011 6:43:50 PM

FlintIronStagg said:
the clock speeds help, but a 800/1600/2100 speed on a 6950 still doesnt beat or match a 800/1600/2100 on a 6970. it will increase the performance of that particular card, but the actual GPU has either more shaders, more power, etc. ....


yeh i get ya. ive heard talk of people flashing the 6950's with the 6970 bios. any idea how that works? i was wondering if they are essentially the same thing, just that the 6950 is underclocked to be sold at a cheaper price. i know this was the case with some of the phenom II processors...
October 31, 2011 6:45:24 PM

im sure to find a 6950 to flash is few and between nowadays.
October 31, 2011 6:52:22 PM

I thought all 6950 toxics came with a preloaded 6970 bios
October 31, 2011 7:17:38 PM

Gothams Finest said:
I thought all 6950 toxics came with a preloaded 6970 bios


im not sure whether it has the 6970 bios but it does appear to have the same clock speeds. however, it does look like a reference card if im not mistaken?

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...
October 31, 2011 10:49:01 PM

guys ive been looking at 6950's for ages tonight and im really torn between the "twin frozr III" and the "toxic" version. the twin frozr has a pretty good overclock and better cooling. however, the toxic version has even higher clock speeds and still stays pretty cool from the reviews ive read. the problem is - i will be going crossfire with whichever card i chose next year at some point so i really need to take that into consideration.

i've had one crossfire setup and one sli setup since gaming on pc and both have had pretty bad problems with heat. ive had to use msi afterburner to kick the fans in at full speed a lot earlier than you normally would. so im wondering whether that toxic one will get to hot with a second one in there?

im actually finding it pretty hard to decide here and want to make the right choice. i will be buying tomorrow afternoon as i said so was hoping i could round up the opinions on which is the best option out of the 2 and go for it.

what do you all think?

really appreciate the advice... thanks!
November 1, 2011 12:13:17 AM

Asus w/ Direct CUII... Not lifetime warranty, but are still very reliable, cool, and fast... I will soon know how well they perform in Xfire too.
November 1, 2011 3:27:57 PM

Gothams Finest said:
I thought all 6950 toxics came with a preloaded 6970 bios


I would suggest just unlocking the shaders and cores and NOT flashing the bios.

November 1, 2011 3:33:08 PM

geekapproved said:
I would suggest just unlocking the shaders and cores and NOT flashing the bios.


I see you have changed your post while I've been replying to you...but anyway to answer what you said before you edited your post read this

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/08/29/sapphire_toxi...

To reply to what you said after you edited your post, the bios for the 6950 toxic comes already factory flashed by Sapphire.
November 1, 2011 3:37:23 PM

ET900 said:
im not sure whether it has the 6970 bios but it does appear to have the same clock speeds. however, it does look like a reference card if im not mistaken?

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...


Yeah thats the one.

The reason why Sapphire does not advertise very much that the toxic 6950 has a 6970 bios switch is because there is no guarantee that the extra shaders will work.

Sapphire factory flash the secondary BIOS to an HD 6970 with 1536 Shaders. This then gives people the potential for even greater performance, rivaling a 6970 since the clocks are higher.

November 1, 2011 4:25:06 PM

Gothams Finest said:
Yeah thats the one.

The reason why Sapphire does not advertise very much that the toxic 6950 has a 6970 bios switch is because there is no guarantee that the extra shaders will work.

Sapphire factory flash the secondary BIOS to an HD 6970 with 1536 Shaders. This then gives people the potential for even greater performance, rivaling a 6970 since the clocks are higher.


oh man i had to decided to get the twin frozr III but you are swaying me towards the toxic with that comment! i haven't purchased yet because my money won't be cleared until tomorrow now, maybe midnight tonight. i was going for the toxic to begin with but i was just worried it would get to hot in the case when i have 2 of them in crossfire later next year at some point. thats why i went for the twin frozr in the end cos i knew it had better cooling and would probably work out better for crossfire because of that.

if the extra shaders are available with the toxic then it will certainly perform noticeably better, i mean it isn't advertised with more shaders but they might be available as you say. if they are not available then it has the same ram speed as the TF and only 30mhz more on the gpu clock speed which im sure i could easily get out of the TF if i wanted.

So i guess the thing would be to look around for reviews and for people with the toxic version to post here if they would be so kind so i can see what the chances are of the extra shaders being available. also trying to figure out whether it would be suitable for crossfire regarding the extra heat.

thanks.
November 1, 2011 4:59:24 PM

rwayne said:
Just too make your decision even more confusing...

Have you ever thought of HIS?
They make pretty good products.
This 6950 has a lot of 5 egg ratings.
However I am not sure what its clocking potential is

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


thanks for the suggestion :)  but i was sort ofm leaning towards the ones that have the highest factory clock settings with good cooling design. i still think its really between the TF3 and Toxic for me.

As for the toxic version i have seen some reviews on this page saying the 6980 specs simply unlock with the flip of the bios switch:
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...

so that gives more weight to the toxic side of the debate. however, there were a couple people there that said it squeels under heavy load! anyone know anything about that?
November 1, 2011 5:00:13 PM

sorry i meant "6970" specs unlocked with the bios switch...
November 1, 2011 5:05:55 PM

ET900 said:
oh man i had to decided to get the twin frozr III but you are swaying me towards the toxic with that comment! i haven't purchased yet because my money won't be cleared until tomorrow now, maybe midnight tonight. i was going for the toxic to begin with but i was just worried it would get to hot in the case when i have 2 of them in crossfire later next year at some point. thats why i went for the twin frozr in the end cos i knew it had better cooling and would probably work out better for crossfire because of that.

if the extra shaders are available with the toxic then it will certainly perform noticeably better, i mean it isn't advertised with more shaders but they might be available as you say. if they are not available then it has the same ram speed as the TF and only 30mhz more on the gpu clock speed which im sure i could easily get out of the TF if i wanted.

So i guess the thing would be to look around for reviews and for people with the toxic version to post here if they would be so kind so i can see what the chances are of the extra shaders being available. also trying to figure out whether it would be suitable for crossfire regarding the extra heat.

thanks.


Non ref cards are fine for single card set ups but be aware that non reference cards such as the twin frozr III can have problems in crossfire, because non reference cards dump the hot air inside the case (unlike reference cards like the toxic that exhaust it outside of the case) non reference cards can cause a recycling effect were on card will dump the hot air and the other will suck that hot air back in, over long periods the heat builds up and negates the benefit of the cooler design. I'd only use a solution like that if it were totally open air with plenty of airflow and space between the cards.

The main reason to get non-reference is to OC, but with crossfire 6950 I doubt you will need to OC them.

This is just my opnion but I'm sure I will get flamed for saying this by non ref fan boys.
November 1, 2011 7:15:35 PM

Gothams Finest said:
Non ref cards are fine for single card set ups but be aware that non reference cards such as the twin frozr III can have problems in crossfire, because non reference cards dump the hot air inside the case (unlike reference cards like the toxic that exhaust it outside of the case) non reference cards can cause a recycling effect were on card will dump the hot air and the other will suck that hot air back in, over long periods the heat builds up and negates the benefit of the cooler design. I'd only use a solution like that if it were totally open air with plenty of airflow and space between the cards.

The main reason to get non-reference is to OC, but with crossfire 6950 I doubt you will need to OC them.

This is just my opnion but I'm sure I will get flamed for saying this by non ref fan boys.


thats a great answer thanks. that was one thing i was thinking about with the toxic version - it apparently pushes air out the back of the case which in theory will be better for crossfire as you say, and probably all situations to be fair as there will be less hot air for the cpu which is above to suck up (i plan on oc'ing my cpu at some point to). the toxic version has higher temps than the TF3 in single card benchmarks, though i have seen no temperature benchmarks for either type in crossfire. but in corssfire it may actually end up cooler than 2 TF3's due to most of the heat being dumped out the back of the case - leaving less hot air for the top card to suck up. It's this uncertainty that has caused me the most problems with deciding what to get!! I think i would've already bought the toxic version if i wasn't going to go crossfire in the future.

I have to say though - I am leaning much more towards the toxic version now! I'm almost ready to go for it but hopefully there will be some good counter arguments :p 
November 1, 2011 7:37:23 PM

Yes, XFX typically has a double-lifetime warranty, but realistically, how long will you own it? I say go MSI. The Twin Frozr's are excellent cards, super quiet, extremely good cooling and decent headroom for overclocking.

I own the MSI Twin Frozr II OC HD6950 2GB. It's an outstanding card, I overclock it about 10% without any voltage adjustments and the hottest I've ever seen it get is 64C (which is really good). Even at it's peak of 64C, I can't hear the fans over my case fanse. Plus, MSI has a 3 year warranty.

One other thing to note about the MSI cards - they do not use the reference voltage regulators. They actually use their own, beefier regulator that runs slightly over the reference voltages (which is why OC'ing the MSI cards is a breeze) and they are very stable.

I've owned XFX, EVGA, and HIS cards (of various models) - bad luck for me with HIS, XFX has the double lifetime warranty but it ran very loud and hot. EVGA runs fine, it's not extremely loud or hot, but not exactly cool and quiet either.

My vote: MSI


And to the last poster's point about non-reference venting into the case...if you have a decent case, you're side intake fan and rear/top exhaust fans should keep enough cool air circulating, I wouldn't worry about card temps unless you have a really bad case with no case fans.
November 1, 2011 8:09:03 PM

cdub1980 said:
Yes, XFX typically has a double-lifetime warranty, but realistically, how long will you own it? I say go MSI. The Twin Frozr's are excellent cards, super quiet, extremely good cooling and decent headroom for overclocking.

I own the MSI Twin Frozr II OC HD6950 2GB. It's an outstanding card, I overclock it about 10% without any voltage adjustments and the hottest I've ever seen it get is 64C (which is really good). Even at it's peak of 64C, I can't hear the fans over my case fanse. Plus, MSI has a 3 year warranty.

One other thing to note about the MSI cards - they do not use the reference voltage regulators. They actually use their own, beefier regulator that runs slightly over the reference voltages (which is why OC'ing the MSI cards is a breeze) and they are very stable.

I've owned XFX, EVGA, and HIS cards (of various models) - bad luck for me with HIS, XFX has the double lifetime warranty but it ran very loud and hot. EVGA runs fine, it's not extremely loud or hot, but not exactly cool and quiet either.

My vote: MSI


And to the last poster's point about non-reference venting into the case...if you have a decent case, you're side intake fan and rear/top exhaust fans should keep enough cool air circulating, I wouldn't worry about card temps unless you have a really bad case with no case fans.


yeh even though the xfx warranty is great i think i have ruled that out now. its definitely gonna be the TF3 or Toxic.

I did read about the MSI components being great and those temps sound amazing. So even if they are dumping air into the case, it wont be all that hot cos they cool better. but im wondering how much heat would build up after an hour of them dumping that warm air inside the case... also i dont have a side fan. i have the coolermaster cosmos case which is very big and has one intake fan at the bottom (almost front, its behind the hdd bays) blowing in the genral direction of the top graphics card, another intake on the front under the dvd drive which i added, 2 exhuast fans at the top, and one exhuast fan at the back inline with the cpu. currently my pheonm 955 at stock clocks hits about 60c when gaming with all case fans and cpu fan at full speed. the cpu has a copper zalman cooler on it. the crossfired 4870's i have get pretty hot in there. i've msi afterburner kicking the fans in at 100% whenthey hit 75c because the memio temp is usually 12-15c higher than the gpu temp, so at 75c the memio temp is close to 90c. the heat seems to sit pretty badly between the 2 graphics cards as there is no air going out the back between them. i cant really see how i can put another exhaust fan there so its a bit of a problem. this is kinda why i liked the idea of the toxics chucking most the heat out the back.

its a difficult choice for me it really is lol....
November 1, 2011 9:06:17 PM

guys ive been reading around reviews a bit more and serching forums posts all over the place.

the general idea that i get is that the toxic 6950 comes with the 6970 bios preloaded as someone said here before. you just got to flip a switch to access it. there's no guarante you will unlock the extra shaders thought its very likely apparently. sounds pretty good but i dont think i saw any temp benchmarks for the toxic 6950 when its using the 6970 bios.

also, ive read that msi have actually provided their own 6970 bios which you can flash the TF3 with. (some confusion over whether the TF3 has dual bios also but apparently it doesn't void your warranty when you do this, and neither does overclocking the TF3 within afterburners limits).

So some good arguments for both cards there if i can figure out the truth in them.
the thing im having trouble with though is finding the msi 6970 bios download.
looked about on their site and cant find anything on it. anyone know much about that?

thanks.
November 1, 2011 9:31:01 PM

ET900 said:
guys ive been reading around reviews a bit more and serching forums posts all over the place.

the general idea that i get is that the toxic 6950 comes with the 6970 bios preloaded as someone said here before. you just got to flip a switch to access it. there's no guarante you will unlock the extra shaders thought its very likely apparently. sounds pretty good but i dont think i saw any temp benchmarks for the toxic 6950 when its using the 6970 bios.

also, ive read that msi have actually provided their own 6970 bios which you can flash the TF3 with. (some confusion over whether the TF3 has dual bios also but apparently it doesn't void your warranty when you do this, and neither does overclocking the TF3 within afterburners limits).

So some good arguments for both cards there if i can figure out the truth in them.
the thing im having trouble with though is finding the msi 6970 bios download.
looked about on their site and cant find anything on it. anyone know much about that?

thanks.


Your over thinking this too much.
November 1, 2011 9:39:07 PM

Gothams Finest said:
Your over thinking this too much.


haha you may be right! its just i normally dont spend £230 on a graphics card and am just trying to put in the research and have no regrets.
November 1, 2011 9:50:37 PM

ET900 said:
haha you may be right! its just i normally dont spend £230 on a graphics card and am just trying to put in the research and have no regrets.


I understand mate, its not an every day purchase, but they are both good cards.

A lot of people including myself have given good advice, and you have a lot of pros and cons to way up but I think its going to come down to personal preference now more than anything.
November 1, 2011 9:57:54 PM

Gothams Finest said:
I understand mate, its not an every day purchase, but they are both good cards.

A lot of people including myself have given good advice, and you have a lot of pros and cons to way up but I think its going to come down to personal preference now more than anything.


yeh man i might've been getting a bit carried away lol... but i dont spend this sorta cash often as i said... i think ive pretty much gathered about as much info as im gonna get really other than waiting for one person in another thread to reply who has a pair of toxics in crossfire. just interested in the temps mainly... should purchasing tonight in an hour or so when the money in my bank clears. appreciate all the help from everyone so much and im sure i'll be happy, whichever i buy :)  thanks again!
November 2, 2011 3:42:54 AM

Asus hands down, sounds biased, but it wont be a decision you'll regret, it's cheap and packed of power, it's what I have, got it for under $300 and have no problem running Crysis 2 with directx 11, ultra settings, and hi res textures. It's awesome.
November 2, 2011 4:03:25 AM

alexthager said:
Asus hands down, sounds biased, but it wont be a decision you'll regret, it's cheap and packed of power, it's what I have, got it for under $300 and have no problem running Crysis 2 with directx 11, ultra settings, and hi res textures. It's awesome.


thanks for the reply :)  i went ahead and ordered the sapphire toxic 6950 in the end. it was the fastest 6950 out of the box and it has the potential to be pretty much turned into a 6970 out of the box also without voiding the warranty so i just had to go for it in the end!
November 2, 2011 4:17:30 AM

ET900 said:
thanks for the reply :)  i went ahead and ordered the sapphire toxic 6950 in the end. it was the fastest 6950 out of the box and it has the potential to be pretty much turned into a 6970 out of the box also without voiding the warranty so i just had to go for it in the end!

Grats on the upgrade; glad you finally pulled the trigger
November 2, 2011 4:49:48 AM

FlintIronStagg said:
Grats on the upgrade; glad you finally pulled the trigger


haha thanks bud. that was one of the most indecisive moments in my life lol. i can just kick back now and wait for the beauty to arrive then enjoy battlefield 3 the way its meant to be played :D 
November 2, 2011 9:16:14 AM

ET900 said:
thanks for the reply :)  i went ahead and ordered the sapphire toxic 6950 in the end. it was the fastest 6950 out of the box and it has the potential to be pretty much turned into a 6970 out of the box also without voiding the warranty so i just had to go for it in the end!


Congrats. Enjoy your new card buddy.
November 2, 2011 12:36:55 PM

Gothams Finest said:
Congrats. Enjoy your new card buddy.


ha thanks man :) 
!