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6950 2GB (unlocked to 6970) vs. 7870

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 29, 2012 8:56:13 PM

So I may have a bead on one of the 2GB 6950 cards that has the switch on the back and the extra shaders still available (maybe even two of them). I can get one or both of them for $250 each (new).

The other option I have been considering strongly is the 7870, which goes for $350 or so.

My question is, which option should I go for? One 6950, two 6950s, one 7870, or some other option? The proposed setup of my new build is below. Thanks in advance!

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K - $179 (194 with tax)
Mobo: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA - $134.99 (146.80 with tax)
GPU: ASUS HD7870-DC2-2GD5 Radeon 2GB DDR5 - $349.99 shipped
PSU: OZC 750W modular bronze rated - $75 (81.20 with tax)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid tower case - $50 ($54.12+tax)
RAM: G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB - $46 (49.80 with tax)
CPU Cooler: Coolermaster 212 EVO - $35 ($37.88 with tax) or Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus $20 ($21.65 with tax)
SSD: Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT128M4SSD2 - $124.99
DVD: LG 22x DVD±RW Super Multi Dual Layer Burner - $16 (17.30 with tax)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium -64 bit - $100
April 29, 2012 9:09:25 PM

2 x HD 6950s are the best performance, but they are probably a reference design cards as you say, you'll have to suffer some noise and heat though.

Even if the HD 6950 is unlocked to HD 6970, HD 7870 is still faster than it, it's almost as powerful as a GTX 580, much cooler, runs quieter and consumes less power.
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April 29, 2012 9:12:46 PM

If you can afford the 7870, I recommend that. It performs better than a 6970, uses less power, and has better gpgpu performance.

Also, taking the chance at unlocking the shaders may not work in your favor.
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April 29, 2012 9:19:19 PM

ilysaml said:
2 x HD 6950s are the best performance, but they are probably a reference design cards as you say, you'll have to suffer some noise and heat though.

Even if the HD 6950 is unlocked to HD 6970, HD 7870 is still faster than it, it's almost as powerful as a GTX 580, much cooler, runs quieter and consumes less power.


The actual 6950 I am looking at is the Sapphire Dirt 3 Edition 100312-3SR. I was under the impression that this is not a "reference version," but I am not sure.
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April 29, 2012 9:27:47 PM

viridiancrystal said:
If you can afford the 7870, I recommend that. It performs better than a 6970, uses less power, and has better gpgpu performance.

Also, taking the chance at unlocking the shaders may not work in your favor.


"If you can afford" is the key here. Reading these forums has increased my appetite for a good GPU(s), but I am trying to balance performance AND value. I am certainly not expecting either of these cards to be the "best thing" out there.

I think, at this point in time, that I am either going with one card at this point. Assume that the 6950 is fully unlock-able. Is a $250 2GB 6950 (6970) a better value than a $350 7870?

The consensus so far seems like I should go with the 7870...
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April 29, 2012 9:40:46 PM

No, a $250 is not a good value, for a $250 you can get a HD 7850 which outperforms the HD 6950. I thought you'd be getting 2 of it for $250.
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April 29, 2012 9:44:45 PM

Yea 7870, is your best option
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Best solution

April 30, 2012 12:47:12 AM

6950 vs 7870: (barely outperforms)
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/510?vs=549

6950 dirt 3 unlock:

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=350307

both of my 6950 dirt 3's already had unlocked shaders on the 2nd bios.

cheapest 7870 on newegg is $329

If you can get 2 dirt 3's,and haggle the price down a little,2 in xfire are very powerful.

also,if your already willing to consider $500 for the 2 6950's,It may be more beneficial to get a 7970,especially since they are now down as low as $479.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/508?vs=548
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April 30, 2012 1:02:48 PM

Best answer selected by puddlegoo.
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May 10, 2012 9:13:28 AM

careful , unlocked 6950 will not work on z77 mobo just yet
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May 10, 2012 3:02:14 PM

benny888 said:
careful , unlocked 6950 will not work on z77 mobo just yet


I decided not to gamble and went with the 7870.
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May 15, 2012 11:41:13 AM

I can't tell you about single cards, but in crossfire the cayman cards are beastly. My 6970x2 rig gets 11500 graphics score in 3DMark 11 performance benchmark. That's beastly and 100% + scaling. I am pulling down 80+ fps in BF3 totally maxed in 1080p with every setting jacked and my CCC settings all set to quality. I doubt very seriously any single GPU out today, let alone a 7870, could ever top my graphics solution.
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