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6950 vs 6970

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February 4, 2012 5:21:43 AM

Hello! I am in the process of building a budget gaming rig, with the goal in mind to play BF3 on ultra, or pretty darn close to it. Maybe ultra without AA or maybe just 2xAA. Anyways, I am pretty much down to the last part: the GPU. I have done tons of research, looked at tons of graphs, but I still don't know what to buy. Honestly every review or comparison I read just makes me double guess myself and become even more confused. So from you guys, which is the better GPU for the price, the 6950 or the 6970. The price difference between the two on newegg is about 60 dollars, and I don't know if the performance difference of the 6970 is worth that money. If the 6950 will do the job for me on BF3, then great. If not please let me know. Or if a cheaper card will do the job, or the 560ti even. Though I doubt a lower radeon card will give me ultra settings.

If the consensus is 6950, let me know about this gigabyte card. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=14-125-...

I really think I want to go with an XFX card so that I can get the lifetime warranty, but I'm not sure. The triple fans, factory overclocked gigabyte look nice as well. It is pretty long for a GPU however.




My Build:
I5 2500k
asrock z68 extreme 3 or gigabyte z68
8GB 1600 DDR3 RAM
750W OCZ ZS
Win7 64bit
7200rpm 500gb sata WD
GPU

More about : 6950 6970

a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 5:57:55 AM

I always recommend XFX and EVGA, MSI comes at a distant third. The 6950 is closer to the GTX 560Ti and the 6970 is neck and neck with the GTX 570. What resolution will you be running at?
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a c 84 U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 7:06:46 AM

all of the brands are good but sapphire is one of the best brand which sell gpus of cheaper price and greater performance.:) 

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

its one of the best card in a cheaper price and its performance is very nice its an 2gb one which is slightly better then 1gb.:) 



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a c 88 U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 7:10:29 AM

If you want to run BF3 optimal on ultra settings its best to get the best card you can afford. Its one of those games that really pushes the hardware of your pc.
With BF3 the gpu is important, a 6950 will do the job, but with AA enabled you will lose fps on Ultra but a 6970 perform even better and it will also handle AA.
All depends on your budget really.
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February 4, 2012 3:02:16 PM

I'll be "hopefully" running at 1920x1080 high def res. Do you guys think the radeon products are better than their nvidia counterparts?

also @ sunnk, I don't think I'm gonna be using dual monitors for a while, so is there really any point in getting a 2gb gpu? I thought 2gb for the market right now was mostly just for those using eyefinity etc.

@ monsta, I would like to run bf3 at optimal ultra settings, but at the same time, if the 6970 isn't adding that much of an improvement over the 6950, and will basically just let me run dual monitors and AA, Idk if it's worth it. In the specs, the clock memory for 6970 was about .5gbps faster and had maybe 150 more stream processing units. Will this make that much of a significant difference?

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February 4, 2012 5:00:26 PM

Here are some GPUs that I am considering for 6950 / 6970, depending on which you guys think I should get. Most of them have pretty good reviews.

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...

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

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

Really there are just three big questions. 1: Will all of these cards fit in my Rosewill Challenger U3 case. 2: Is it going to be more beneficial to buy a card with 2 or 3 fans compared to 1? And lastly: Which of these cards is going to give me the most bang for my buck. If 60 more dollars for the 2gb 6970 is really not going to do much for me, then I will settle for a 1 or 2gb 6950. If for 60 dollars I will see a pretty significant boost in graphics power, then let me know and I'll just go with the 6970 :) . Please let me know soon though! Would like to buy this weekend.
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a c 229 U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 6:25:30 PM

BF3 on ultra everything will require two of those cards

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

$ 240.00 6950 Frozr OC (484/759) $ 0.50 - $ 0.63
$ 320.00 6970 (526/825) $ 0.61 - $ 0.78
$ 215.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.43 - $ 0.50
$ 340.00 570 (524/873) $ 0.65 - $ 0.78

Single card config ..... 6970 ~ 570 > 560 Ti* ~ 6950*

SLI / CF config ..... 570 ~ 560 Ti* > 6970 >> 6950

* denotes factory OC'd models
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 6:43:15 PM

The 6950 has quite a bit of OC headroom to match a 6970 within +/- 3%
To me, saving 60 bucks, and OC is the better idea. I know the other day on newegg they had a 6950 2gb for the same price as the 1gb models after instant savings.
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February 4, 2012 7:25:54 PM

@JacktaylorPE, right now I'm just looking to buy a single video card due to budget, dual cards is in the future like later in the year, so don't let that factor into anything.

I just need to know which of those cards is the best really, or which will give me the most bang for my buck. Also, from some of the reviews on Newegg, a lot of people claim that they can run BF3 on ultra with either AA off or AA on 2x. Were they lying or what?

@omega, OCing scares me for GPUs. I don't know if I want to lose my warranty and risk the thing dying on me in the future, thus being stuck with a piece of garbage :/ . Or does XFX allow OCing and unlocking?

Still looking for a solid opinion / answer for which GPU to run with. Will the 6970 give me all the firepower I need? Or will it just be better to go with a 1gb or 2gb 6950?
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 7:30:55 PM

hedshotx said:
@JacktaylorPE, right now I'm just looking to buy a single video card due to budget, dual cards is in the future like later in the year, so don't let that factor into anything.

I just need to know which of those cards is the best really, or which will give me the most bang for my buck. Also, from some of the reviews on Newegg, a lot of people claim that they can run BF3 on ultra with either AA off or AA on 2x. Were they lying or what?

@omega, OCing scares me for GPUs. I don't know if I want to lose my warranty and risk the thing dying on me in the future, thus being stuck with a piece of garbage :/ . Or does XFX allow OCing and unlocking?

Still looking for a solid opinion / answer for which GPU to run with. Will the 6970 give me all the firepower I need? Or will it just be better to go with a 1gb or 2gb 6950?


Power color had a dual bios 6950 2gb for the price of a 1gb model, the only reason you need the 2gb is in higher than 1080p res, but it doesn't hurt to get it if the price is right. As long as you don't alter voltages, it's virtually impossible to tell if you overclocked at all, and with a dual bios some come with the alternate firmware installed and all you have to do is flip the switch. I've personally never had a problem getting warranty on video cards i've overclocked. If they asked me if i had overclocked and i said yes they might turn me down but i was never asked :) 
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February 4, 2012 7:36:45 PM

so you think I should just go for 2gb 6950 and OC?

Also what is your opinion on number of fans on the GPU?
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 7:50:03 PM

hedshotx said:
so you think I should just go for 2gb 6950 and OC?

Also what is your opinion on number of fans on the GPU?


That's what i would do personally, all of the 6950's i've played with could reach the same clocks as the 6970, even without the shaders they only were about a frame behind about 2-3% slower.

Having more fans means you can have a gpu with less noise since you can have more fans run slower to cool the whole card, but having one doesn't hurt. Personally I have my 6790 OC'd to 925mhz core and the one fan is whisper quiet up to 60%, 70-80% is audible but not bothersome and at 100% it's a little much but while gaming is fine. At 60% i never hear the fan and load (futuremark) at 60% fan speed never gets over 76C with the OC (only 65C during gaming). If i added voltage i could go higher but then i might want to add more fan speed.
Personally one fan is fine, i've never needed more because my case and fans are pretty quiet already.
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February 4, 2012 8:07:11 PM

For you, would the 300$ 6970 be worth it? Or would you go for the 240$ 6950 2gb. I am planning on going with XFX regardless because their warranties are lifetime and they also dont mind overclocking. Which card would you get? Also, can a 1gb 6950 be OC'ed to a 6970?

@wisecracker, what does it mean when it says they are modded? I understand the 20% refers to over clocking, but whats the modded mean? Also why are those temperature readings soooo high??
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 8:26:31 PM

hedshotx said:
For you, would the 300$ 6970 be worth it? Or would you go for the 240$ 6950 2gb. I am planning on going with XFX regardless because their warranties are lifetime and they also dont mind overclocking. Which card would you get? Also, can a 1gb 6950 be OC'ed to a 6970?

@wisecracker, what does it mean when it says they are modded? I understand the 20% refers to over clocking, but whats the modded mean? Also why are those temperature readings soooo high??


The 300 is not worth it in my opinion, not with how much room and potenial the 6950 has for cheaper. The 1GB boards can be overclocked pretty well also, not sure how well the memory scales on those with overclocking memory though. The 1GB models don't have a dual bios switch (some 2gb ones don't either however) but they can still be unlocked to 6970 shader/clocks.

My guess is not having an aggressive fan profile, interesting to see the 6950 perform the same as the 6970 at lower wattage. And by modded i'm sure it means unlocked the shaders, essentially making it a full fledged 6970.
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February 4, 2012 8:27:15 PM

I'm running a very similar system.

- ASUS EAH6970 DCII/2DI4S/2GD5 (great name), slightly overclocked (930Mhz , 1400Mhz)
- i5-2500k @ 4GHz (Will push it further eventually),
- 8GB DDR-1600

Ultra settings run fine (1920x1080, 90° FOV), but even 2xAA makes the fps drop below 50 when things get busy on screen, which is unacceptable when playing online.
Alright when playing casually, but not if you play to win.

Haven't tried High+2xAA yet.
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February 4, 2012 8:38:55 PM

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

Do you think that card will do the job? I can get a combo with some RAM I want to save another 10 dollars off of it so that after rebate it will be 235. What worries me about that card though is the solo fan, and how some people say the card runs hot. I don't know if I want to overclock a card that runs hot on stock settings :/ 

Edit: can anyone confirm which of those cards can be flashed "safely" for 6970 BIOS etc? Some of the reviews for the xfx 2gb version claim it can't be and I don't know.
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 8:39:13 PM


The power chart came from TechPowerUp when the 6950s with single fans were first released.

Furmark easily adds 10-15% to temps as opposed to regular gaming temps. With a double (or triple) fan setup and dialing in your fan speeds, things should be fine and dandy for yah.



edit: I imagine that XFX card would be fine ... I don't believe at your rez 2GB will do yah much good (unless you go Eyefinity) and it does not look as if folks have succeeded in modding that specific card.

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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 8:50:22 PM

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

Do you think that card will do the job? I can get a combo with some RAM I want to save another 10 dollars off of it so that after rebate it will be 235. What worries me about that card though is the solo fan, and how some people say the card runs hot. I don't know if I want to overclock a card that runs hot on stock settings :/ 

Edit: can anyone confirm which of those cards can be flashed "safely" for 6970 BIOS etc? Some of the reviews for the xfx 2gb version claim it can't be and I don't know.


The HIS one for 10 dollars more has a better cooler (even if it's one fan) The reference boards like the one wise uploaded charts for, will have bad temps under full load for a long period (unrealistic for gaming)
The newer boards that are non reference may have trouble unlocking but overall have better cooling.
I should point out you don't need to unlock shaders to get close to 6970 performance.
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February 4, 2012 8:59:52 PM

I did see that about HIS, but it's 270 and only has a 2 year warranty :/ . And idk their policy regarding overclocking.

Is it very strenuous to simply overclock it without unlocking the shaders? I really wanted to go with XFX because of their warranty policy :( 
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 9:07:04 PM

hedshotx said:
I did see that about HIS, but it's 270 and only has a 2 year warranty :/ . And idk their policy regarding overclocking.

Is it very strenuous to simply overclock it without unlocking the shaders? I really wanted to go with XFX because of their warranty policy :( 


If you want the XFX go for it, it's by no means a bad card, remember that some reviews from random consumers may have bad airflow and not know better to fix it so you'll see some say the card runs great and cool some say it's hot. Of course the good majority don't note their ambient temps so what may not work for them may be great for another just due to setup. Unlocking shaders is actually a little more stressful in my opinion, after going through the whole flash process, you still have to test the card to see if it's stable just like you would when overclocking. Just upping the speed via afterburner or CCC you can get pretty high up without touching voltage, should be able to do at least around 880 without a voltage change (at least in the few i played with)

http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/3762/sapphire_radeon_...
Just an article to see some performance with an unlocked 6950 vs 6970. :) 

http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1408...
This one is gives quite a bit more info on the 6950 OC'd vs 6950 unlocked vs 6950 unlocked OC vs 6970
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February 4, 2012 9:16:11 PM

I dont know the answer to your question, but I like your build :p  I'm a 1st time computer builder myself and that is the EXACT build i went with. LOL
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February 4, 2012 9:49:49 PM

They guy from that thread seems convinced that the 6970 isn't worth the 60 dollar increase from the 6950. I like it :p . Now the question is, 1 gb or 2. He said he thought the 1gb was flashable / overclockable, but he wasn't sure.
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 9:55:59 PM

hedshotx said:
They guy from that thread seems convinced that the 6970 isn't worth the 60 dollar increase from the 6950. I like it :p . Now the question is, 1 gb or 2. He said he thought the 1gb was flashable / overclockable, but he wasn't sure.


I don't have a link on hand right now, but i know for a fact they can. 1gb models you edit the stock bios they come with to have the 6970 core, mem, voltage, and shaders instead of over writing the bios with the 6970 bios like you would with most 2GB models.
As for the 1GB or 2GB question, you won't really need the 2GB but if you play alot of games with mods that add in high texture packs you may appreciate having the extra vram, but for the most part you don't need it. It just comes down to price, if you can get a 2gb for the price of a 1gb why not? if you would trade the extra vram for better fans/cooling then why not? It all comes to what you want :) 
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February 4, 2012 10:02:14 PM

Gotcha, well I have new question for you. What do you think about crossfiring 2 6870s instead of buying a single 650. Newegg is selling 6850s for about 140 with rebate, so I could get two for 280 vs. 235 for a single 2gb 6950. Thoughts?
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 10:15:09 PM

hedshotx said:
Gotcha, well I have new question for you. What do you think about crossfiring 2 6870s instead of buying a single 650. Newegg is selling 6850s for about 140 with rebate, so I could get two for 280 vs. 235 for a single 2gb 6950. Thoughts?


They perform a little better than a 6970 or nvidia 580 but you have to deal with the issues that come with crossfire, 6950 is the best bang for your buck in my opinion and then you still have the option in the future to add another for more performance, if you get two 6870/6850's you'll be stuck and have to sell them or buy whole new cards when you need more performance rather than just dropping in an extra card.
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February 4, 2012 10:29:41 PM

When you say it that way, it makes me wonder if getting a 6970 so that I am future proof if I ever wanted to crossfire those, would be a better bargain. :o 

Are overclocked 6950's stable?
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 10:43:24 PM

Well that all depends, ever card is different, some will blow past 6970 some will be kinda close, as long as you are comfortable bumping the voltage one step you probably will be perfectly stable at 6970 speeds. The 6970 only has marginally better performance and not as much OC as a 6950. It's up to you if you feel like spending that much.

I guess its better said, buy the best card you can afford and you can upgrade with a second later.
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February 4, 2012 11:21:20 PM

Alright, last question and I promise. Will 2gb really not make a difference? Idk if people are just BSing or what, but on reviews it seems like more people can play BF3 on ultra using the 2gb 6950 than the 1 gb version.

Also, do you favor overclocking the 1gb more than the 2gb?
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a b U Graphics card
February 4, 2012 11:33:06 PM

hedshotx said:
Alright, last question and I promise. Will 2gb really not make a difference? Idk if people are just BSing or what, but on reviews it seems like more people can play BF3 on ultra using the 2gb 6950 than the 1 gb version.

Also, do you favor overclocking the 1gb more than the 2gb?


In games with high resolution textures and AA I would say you need the extra vram. I would say for battlefield 3 the extra vram would help. In fallout with NMC's texture pack 2 gb will help. If I remember correctly he did the same for new Vegas and Skyrim. So it definitely helps. Just most games at 1080p don't need it but trust me there are some :) 

can't say that I favor overclocking one over another. Most of the time a 1gb 6950 is a bargain and is all you need, but of games like battlefield 3 continue to come out you'll definitely want the 2gb regardless to help keep you from running out of vram for textures.
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a b U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 12:19:24 AM

hedshotx said:
Noted. Well right now I'm trying to find out if overclocking voids gigabyte warranty or not, because I really like this card right now, but Idk if it will change my mind about getting a lifetime xfx warranty :p . What do you think about it?

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

And then these two:

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

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


Like the overclock on the gigabyte board, close to what I was saying was usual for stock voltage.
The 2gb xfx is definitely worth it over the 1gb xfx. So its up to whether you want 2gb and life warranty or a slightly cooler card with a factory OC.
Personally I'd get the 2gb since I play all those games I mentioned that benefit from extra vram. I have to use lower texture packs for fallout since i have only 1gb of vram. It's up to you however. :) 
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February 5, 2012 5:52:40 AM

Well I have a new question for you Omega! I was just about to check out for that three fan gigabyte 1gb 6950 model, when the curiosity to just check out gtx 560ti models ran through my head. I was really surprised by how cheap and by how great the reviews for the things were.

So here is my new question for you! How do these things fare against the 6950s? I found that EVGA has lifetime warranties for their cards, and they (unlike XFX) are getting really solid reviews, which is a huge plus. XFX scared me off by all the overheating stories I heard. Let me know how the cards compare, and check out these cards for price comparison/specs. Also, the 2gb gtx version is cheaper than the 2gb 6950 version. Why are the GTX memory clocks at 4000+mhz while the 6950 is only at like 1800?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=14-125-... - my 6950 choice

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... -cheap evga gtx 560ti

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

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

Which of these will, like before, play BF3 the best on ultra at 1920x1080? Again the question comes into play of, is 2gb worth it or not? I've been reading that BF3 utilizes the 2gb vram regardless of resolution on ultra. Idk if that is bs or not, or if it is even really noticable.
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a b U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 6:19:16 AM

The vram is mostly used by the high res textures that take a lot of space, with AA added in that increases the memory use. The 560ti and 6950 are both great cards, both have great overclocking, both can get to the level of their next tier card, 570 and 6970. The memory speed difference is actually just showing the effective data rate which essentially just a way to flash high numbers. 4000mhz is like saying 4ghz effective, if you look at the data rate effective on the 6950 you'll see what i mean. Radeon cards tend to get better frames and scale better in battlefield 3. Look for the battlefield 3 review on toms. On my phone so its a little difficult to get to :) 
Which ever you feel more comfortable with you won't be disappointed either way, I consider myself to be an Amd fan but would consider NVIDIA for the right price :) 
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February 5, 2012 4:34:14 PM

I've been reading about how more than 1gb of vram on gpus sometimes tends to help (although most comparisons do not show this). I found a cheaper normal 560, but it isn't ti. Is there a big difference between the two? I can get a 2gb 560 for $235, or a 1gb 560 ti for $215. Which would be better? The reason I really want to go with the gtx is because of the lifetime warranty. I heard that if the card breaks and evga has ceased manufacturing that series, they will send you one of their newer models.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

2gb 560 ti is 265

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
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a b U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 4:48:40 PM

You will want the 560ti over the non ti
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February 5, 2012 4:51:30 PM

Do you think the 2gb version is worth the extra 30 dollars?

gti 560 ti 1gb = 220 with rebate and gift cards

gti 560 ti 2gb = 255 with rebate and gift card
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a b U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 5:36:52 PM


The 560ti is a great card -- but no way it keeps pace with a 6850, however, especially when tweaked.

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February 5, 2012 5:57:57 PM

You mean a 6950 wisecracker? And does it not keep pace if its a 560ti 2gb compared to a 6950 1gb?
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a b U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 6:04:17 PM

The 560ti is a little behind the 6950, in my opinion its kinda between the 6870 and 6950.
The 560ti can ran near 570 performance with a high enough overclock. The 570 is pretty even with a 6970. So either a 6950 2gb or 560ti 2gb, the 6950 is usually cheaper.
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a b U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 6:07:08 PM

hedshotx said:
You mean a 6950 wisecracker? And does it not keep pace if its a 560ti 2gb compared to a 6950 1gb?


Doh!

[:fisshy:2]



sorry 'bout that ...



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February 5, 2012 6:16:33 PM

Aasdlfkajsdf. I really do not know what to do. MSI has a 2gb 6950 for 255. Gigabyte has a 1gb 6950 for 230. gigabyte has better 3 year warranty and covers overclocking while I'm not sure about MSI's 2 year warranty, and I thought you guys said 2gb didn't matter for my resolution :( . Or are you referring to the 6950's ability to OC to 6970 settings with 2gb?
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a b U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 6:24:33 PM

I just point out the 2gb since its pretty often you see them for less than 20 dollars more than the 1gb. Either is fine, both unlock and overclock well.
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a c 88 U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 7:49:53 PM

Get a 2GB model if you want a 6950 especially if you play games like BF3 , that extra 20 bucks spent for an extra 1GB of vram is very much welcome if you wanna play it on Ultra at 1080i.
The MSI is a great card too , and the cooling is excellent.
You won't be sorry getting it.
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a b U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 8:08:25 PM

The 6950 2gb his or Msi model is what I'd get. Check what comes bundled between the two and pick since they are the same price pretty much.

That Msi 6950 on tigerdirect has some good games listed as a bundle, I'd go for that.
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February 5, 2012 8:14:43 PM

Alright then, so the HIS or MSI 2gb. As far as bundles go I'm gonna pick the MSI because it comes with Deus ex :) , but I was wondering as far as performance comes, is the 840 clock of the HIS model and the 5.12 gbps speed going to add significant difference than the MSI? Or can I OC the MSI so that it matches or is better than that? I can settle for Dirt 3 if i have to >_>

Btw: What is with the MSI warranty? They say 3 years parts and 2 years labor. What's this mean exactly? Googled and couldnt find a good answer.
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a c 88 U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 8:19:19 PM

The MSI cards overclock very well so I wouldnt worry about that, and getting a free game with it is really cool.

Not sure about the warranty either.LOL

EDit: AH could mean if the card needs replacing you have 3 years , and 2 years if it needs repairing? I guess....
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February 5, 2012 8:29:47 PM

Gotcha. Well then I guess I'm down to the MSI 2gb 6950. I was kind of hoping for the gigabyte because of the ridiculously strong reviews it had been getting, but if the extra vram will help BF3 and any other future games that utilize more memory, this is the way to go you think monsta?
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a b U Graphics card
February 5, 2012 8:37:25 PM

You'll be fine with the Msi one, better cooling and chance to overclock more since heat will be in check.
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