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So Many Radeon HD 6970 2GB Choices - Which One?

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December 9, 2011 7:34:54 PM

I have a post in the Home Build forum under Custom Systems where I asked for recommendations on components. For dual video cards with Crossfire and multiple monitor support the Gigabyte Radeon HD 6970 2GB was recommended.

I went to Newegg and did a search for "Radeon HD 6970 2GB" and lo and behold I get a list of 13 different choices! That's a lot of variations of the same video card.

The prices are all within about $30 of each other but as you probably know, Newegg does a lot of sales, instant rebates, and of course there are mail in rebates sometimes.

Is there something that makes one or two of these choices better than the rest? I mean, other than reviews, which is kind of hard to go by when there are new releases in the bunch, and specific needs, it looks to me like most of these video cards are identical with the exception of the Brand and maybe the number of cooling fans.

Anyone care to clear this up for me?
a b U Graphics card
December 9, 2011 7:58:19 PM

pickupcash said:
I have a post in the Home Build forum under Custom Systems where I asked for recommendations on components. For dual video cards with Crossfire and multiple monitor support the Gigabyte Radeon HD 6970 2GB was recommended.

I went to Newegg and did a search for "Radeon HD 6970 2GB" and lo and behold I get a list of 13 different choices! That's a lot of variations of the same video card.

The prices are all within about $30 of each other but as you probably know, Newegg does a lot of sales, instant rebates, and of course there are mail in rebates sometimes.

Is there something that makes one or two of these choices better than the rest? I mean, other than reviews, which is kind of hard to go by when there are new releases in the bunch, and specific needs, it looks to me like most of these video cards are identical with the exception of the Brand and maybe the number of cooling fans.

Anyone care to clear this up for me?



I personally own 3 x sapphire toxic 6950 2gb which are converted to 6970s. In terms of which brands to pick, the good ones are MSI, Asus, Gigabyte, XFX, Sapphire and a few others that I can't remember now. Each of them has their own specialty and reference cards. The specialty cards have better coolers, custom PCB design, more powerful components for longer life and tolerance to overclocking etc.

The best cooler among all in terms of performance is MSI Twin Frozer 3 and also the lightning one.
2nd would be the Gigabyte 3 fan cooler /Asus Direct CU 2 and followed by the rest.

MSI, Asus and Gigabyte generally do put extra effort to improve component quality so you can overclock with stability. Never pay extra for a pre overclocked card because you can save the money and get a cheaper dual fan card and overclock it manually for a much higher overclock...and yes there are safe limits to everything..its not that risky nowadays.

My recommendation is to go with the cheapest dual fan design for 6970s because they can get toasty and the Vram on that card really needs some good cooling for overclocks in my experience. However, in all honest the 3 cards I own have a single fan and temps never exceed 80C (95c+ is danger zone). If you have the option to get a single fan/reference cooler 6970 for $20 cheaper go with that...save the 2x$20 and use it somewhere else. The reason for that is the 6970 does overclock but its not like the Nvidia cards that can pump out another 150-200 on the core and 100+ on the memory. Its generally just 50-100mhz for 6970 if you wanna be safe. So that custom cooler and stuff isn't that helpful for overclocking. The custom stuff is much quieter and keeps temps low.

In terms of customer service, XFX is one of the best but their cards are generall overpriced...just like EVGA is best for nvidia but is also overpriced. The rest of the companies are solid too.

This one below appears to be the best choice as of now. Cheapest dual fan card from a good company.

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

Hope this helps.
a b U Graphics card
December 9, 2011 8:07:16 PM

dharmenparikh said:
I personally own 3 x sapphire toxic 6950 2gb which are converted to 6970s. In terms of which brands to pick, the good ones are MSI, Asus, Gigabyte, XFX, Sapphire and a few others that I can't remember now. Each of them has their own specialty and reference cards. The specialty cards have better coolers, custom PCB design, more powerful components for longer life and tolerance to overclocking etc.

The best cooler among all in terms of performance is MSI Twin Frozer 3 and also the lightning one.
2nd would be the Gigabyte 3 fan cooler /Asus Direct CU 2 and followed by the rest.

MSI, Asus and Gigabyte generally do put extra effort to improve component quality so you can overclock with stability. Never pay extra for a pre overclocked card because you can save the money and get a cheaper dual fan card and overclock it manually for a much higher overclock...and yes there are safe limits to everything..its not that risky nowadays.

My recommendation is to go with the cheapest dual fan design for 6970s because they can get toasty and there Vram on that card really needs some good cooling for overclocks in my experience. However, in all honest the 3 cards I own have a single fan and temps never exceed 80C (95c+ is danger zone). If you have the option to get a single fan/reference cooler 6970 for $20 cheaper go with that...save the 2x$20 and use it somewhere else. The reason for that is the 6970 does overclock but its not like the Nvidia cards that can pump out another 100-150 on the core and 100+ on the memory. Its generally just 50-100mhz here and there if you wanna be safe. So that custom cooler and stuff isn't that helpful.

Hope this helps.
Personally, but that would be just vouching on personal experience, I would go for the Asus 6970 DirectCUII model. It is perfect! run's inaudible under idle, and does not run any louder than the rest of the system under load. You truly do not notice it is there.

It's just that it has a 3 slot cooler, which might be a offputter for some due to space constraints...

I love it though :love: 
Related resources
a c 88 U Graphics card
December 9, 2011 8:09:38 PM

I find the MSI and Asus the best for cooling and low noise, the Gigabyte also has a great cooler , I would choose either of the 3 as they are all great cards. Just comes down to the finer details and your personal preference.
December 9, 2011 8:23:29 PM

My choice ASUS lol big monster cooling units.
December 9, 2011 9:24:47 PM

dharmenparikh said:
I personally own 3 x sapphire toxic 6950 2gb which are converted to 6970s. In terms of which brands to pick, the good ones are MSI, Asus, Gigabyte, XFX, Sapphire and a few others that I can't remember now. Each of them has their own specialty and reference cards. The specialty cards have better coolers, custom PCB design, more powerful components for longer life and tolerance to overclocking etc.

The best cooler among all in terms of performance is MSI Twin Frozer 3 and also the lightning one.
2nd would be the Gigabyte 3 fan cooler /Asus Direct CU 2 and followed by the rest.

MSI, Asus and Gigabyte generally do put extra effort to improve component quality so you can overclock with stability. Never pay extra for a pre overclocked card because you can save the money and get a cheaper dual fan card and overclock it manually for a much higher overclock...and yes there are safe limits to everything..its not that risky nowadays.

My recommendation is to go with the cheapest dual fan design for 6970s because they can get toasty and the Vram on that card really needs some good cooling for overclocks in my experience. However, in all honest the 3 cards I own have a single fan and temps never exceed 80C (95c+ is danger zone). If you have the option to get a single fan/reference cooler 6970 for $20 cheaper go with that...save the 2x$20 and use it somewhere else. The reason for that is the 6970 does overclock but its not like the Nvidia cards that can pump out another 150-200 on the core and 100+ on the memory. Its generally just 50-100mhz for 6970 if you wanna be safe. So that custom cooler and stuff isn't that helpful for overclocking. The custom stuff is much quieter and keeps temps low.

In terms of customer service, XFX is one of the best but their cards are generall overpriced...just like EVGA is best for nvidia but is also overpriced. The rest of the companies are solid too.

This one below appears to be the best choice as of now. Cheapest dual fan card from a good company.

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

Hope this helps.



That does help a lot. Thank you.

I did look at the Sapphire version a few days ago and tried to compare it to the Gigabyte card. The main difference being the Gigabyte card has 3 fans and it's about 2" longer. Not a big deal for me as I'm putting them in a Rosewill full tower case that has plenty of room.

The only other difference I noticed was the DVI ports. In the Details for the Sapphire card it says 1 of the DVI ports is Single-Link and the other is Dual-Link. The Gigabyte card has the same ports (2 DVI, 2 DP, 1 HDMI) but doesn't have that note about the 2 DVI ports. Not sure if that would make any difference or not. Just need to be able to tell which one is Dual-Link. I will probably use one of the 2 cards to drive my center 30" monitor and the other card to drive my two 20" side panel monitors.

I've read that the Gigabyte card can be kind of loud when playing a demanding game as the fans pick up speed. I don't do a lot of gaming though. Some of course but what I do more is video rendering. Not sure if that would cause the fans to speed up and get louder. One guy said it sounded like a turbine inside his case so that was kind of a turn-off for me.
a b U Graphics card
December 9, 2011 10:04:59 PM

pickupcash said:
That does help a lot. Thank you.

I did look at the Sapphire version a few days ago and tried to compare it to the Gigabyte card. The main difference being the Gigabyte card has 3 fans and it's about 2" longer. Not a big deal for me as I'm putting them in a Rosewill full tower case that has plenty of room.

The only other difference I noticed was the DVI ports. In the Details for the Sapphire card it says 1 of the DVI ports is Single-Link and the other is Dual-Link. The Gigabyte card has the same ports (2 DVI, 2 DP, 1 HDMI) but doesn't have that note about the 2 DVI ports. Not sure if that would make any difference or not. Just need to be able to tell which one is Dual-Link. I will probably use one of the 2 cards to drive my center 30" monitor and the other card to drive my two 20" side panel monitors.

I've read that the Gigabyte card can be kind of loud when playing a demanding game as the fans pick up speed. I don't do a lot of gaming though. Some of course but what I do more is video rendering. Not sure if that would cause the fans to speed up and get louder. One guy said it sounded like a turbine inside his case so that was kind of a turn-off for me.



Yes the gigabyte 3 fan cooler is louder than the Asus and MSI. The MSI is the quietest and best performing cooler. As far as loud noise every single cooler on the market will sound like a turbine above 50% but if you leave it at auto which I do on my single fan design the speed never goes above 40% and that 10% difference is quiet vs a jet plane...so you'll be fine.

As far as I know video rendering can stress out the GPU. I am not an expert on that. my experience is being a gamer and overclocker (safe overclocker)

Here's a useful list of videos from a person who does in depth reviews on youtube.He is testing the Asus, Gigabyte and MSI cards for the new GTX 560 448 cores. Its not the same card but the coolers are the same and will perform identical to what you're considering. He does sound tests the good old fashioned way and explains things in detail and is fairly objective. It will help solve questions about which cooler is really good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FANoIKwwbg&list=UU_SN80...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGnoNPpd14Y&list=UU_SN80...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSm3MOBzUs8&list=UU_SN80...

!