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AMD 6970 2gb vs. AMD 6950 2gb vs AMD 5970

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 25, 2011 1:02:37 AM

Hello. I am currently building a new computer and am having difficulty on deciding on a graphics card.

I am currently looking at these 3 cards (as per Newegg's Black Friday sale).

First, will there be a Cyber Monday sale with better deals? I really don't know the trends with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Second, based on the following, which card would you recommend.

1. All are within my price range.
2. I want to use the card mostly for gaming. (Everything from WoW to the newest FPS titles with high graphics).
Normally, a high and stable fps is the MOST important for me, regardless of the game. Therefore I don't mind running my games on low / medium settings for absolute stability when I'm competitively gaming.
3. However, I really appreciate the ability to crank the graphics to maximum with high resolution texture packs in games like Oblivion. (In other words, non-fps games I prefer high graphics to stable fps.)
4. I will be using 1920x1080 resolution. I will be running 2 monitors, 1 for the game and 1 for whatever else I'm working on.
5. I only want 1 single card, no Crossfire / SLI.
6. I will probably be using ASUS P8P67 PRO motherboard with Intel i5 2500k cpu.
7. I don't mind overclocking.

Here are the 3 cards I am looking at specifically.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you really think I won't experience much benefit from the 6970 or 5970 over the 6950 let me know. However, with the 5970 on sale for $300 I am really tempted. Is this really an awesome deal I should jump on? However, with the free Deus Ex game on the 6950 I can get it for about $200 after selling the game. It'd be nice to save $100. But if the 5970 will absolutely blow it out of the water I'll just roll with that. The benchmarks seem to indicate this.

Thanks in advance for the advice.
a b U Graphics card
November 25, 2011 2:49:07 AM

I have to go with the first card you posted but the price is a big factor and so is the cooler, it will be so much more quiet than the others
for 100 dollars I might be able to look at the lower performing card.
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a b U Graphics card
November 25, 2011 3:00:57 AM

tough call,the 5970 is a dual GPU card,basically 2 5870's running at 5850 speeds.the other 2 are single gpu cards,the 6970/6950 are good cards,since being newer.some,but not all 6950's can be flashed to 6970 speeds.

I would have to say maybe with the 5970.
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November 25, 2011 3:01:56 AM

I'm looking at that same 5970 - seems like a really nice card, and a decent performance increase vs. the 6950 from what i've read.

I've also read (ON FORUMS, ahem) that the 6000 series handles dx11 (tessellation mostly) better than the 5000 series... if someone can confirm/deny this with a chart or other proof that would be awesome.
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November 25, 2011 3:16:48 AM

You stated you are building a new computer. I just finished purchasing new parts for a build myself. If you're smart, you can find great combo deals on newegg that will allow you to save another 19-35$ off the price of a graphics card. I bought a case and a 6970 in a combo deal. I would definitely try checking those out first.

These are the two I chose between:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

After mail-in rebates, you're looking at a ton of money saved. For me, it was justification against spending $200 on a Corsair 650d case (which I really wanted for aesthetic purposes) and $250 on a 6950. Instead, I got a better cooling case (but not quite as good looking) and a much better graphics card for ~$380 (after rebates--for what that's worth).

If you are buying parts individually, I'd recommend the 6950, but maybe another brand. I don't know much about diamond but I generally think that HIS is great for cooling/efficiency, gigabyte has a really good 6950 performance wise, and xfx has the best warranty of all brands (but sometimes people complain about dealing with their customer service).

A 6950 should be able to handle almost any game on very high settings at 1920x1080. If you are planning on doing custom liquid cooling for your gpu, then you'll be better off using a reference card and getting an aftermarket water block for it. If you are planning on using the supplied air cooler on the card, then I would look at a non-reference card that is already overclocked and has a better cooling system (albeit most of these aftermarket cards release the heat into your case instead of out the back--no wonder they are better at cooling the card itself)
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November 25, 2011 3:34:07 AM

My biggest concern is the future proof of the 5970 vs the newer 6970. Since the 5970 has two gpu's on one card and is currently the top performer as far as fps... It seems like it'd be fine. HOWEVER, each gpu only has access to 1GB of memory. And I know newer games are starting to push past this limit and I think it causes problems. Is this true?
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November 25, 2011 3:49:16 AM

AnimusImmodicus said:
My biggest concern is the future proof of the 5970 vs the newer 6970. Since the 5970 has two gpu's on one card and is currently the top performer as far as fps... It seems like it'd be fine. HOWEVER, each gpu only has access to 1GB of memory. And I know newer games are starting to push past this limit and I think it causes problems. Is this true?


That is indeed a dealbreaker if true... looking around to see if that's in fact the case.
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a b U Graphics card
November 25, 2011 2:59:49 PM

Very few games exceed 1 GB at 1920x1080 but there are a few
Metro canexceed it an so des BF3 at some points but I am to understand these are not constant loads
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November 25, 2011 3:28:21 PM

The 5970 absolutely blows away any graphics card AMD has out now, except for the 6990. I have not seen a comparison recently with the 5970 except the BF3 benchmark that toms did. $300 for a 5970 is a steal, I almost bought two today but, I really want to just wait and see what the 7000's can do. Also, to use both GPUs on the 5970 you will be using crossfire (even if you disabled one you would probably be as good as 6850 anyway) also, crossfire does not work in Skyrim currently, FYI. You really need two 5970s to get above 60FPS (1920x1080) in BF3 running everything maxed.

The truth is no one can really tell you what the best choice is now. You just have to look at where you are right now and what you want. Two 5970s will definitely be future proof at 1080 res for a while.

OH, I believe I read somewhere that if you are running two monitors and gaming on only one, crossfire is disabled. Can anyone confirm? So, maybe the 5970 is out of the question entirely.
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November 25, 2011 5:24:32 PM

XFX has a lifetime warranty :D 
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December 1, 2011 12:22:16 AM

@slev_stutton Thanks for the added info - you helped me decide to hold off and wait for the 7000's too.

I think as awesome as Crossfire is in theory, it still seems like there are not enough games that work with it perfectly, and my 5850 is just going to have to hold out until the 7000's come out.
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