Radeon HD 6970 And 6950 Review: Is Cayman A Gator Or A Crock?

Multi-Card Scaling In Just Cause 2

AMD’s Radeon HD 6970 and 6950 take first- and second-place finishes at each of our three resolutions, trailed by the GeForce GTX 570 in SLI and AMD’s Radeon HD 6870.

At 1680x1050, the GTX 570 and 6870s perform similarly. However, as resolution increases, the 6870 cannot keep up, leading the Nvidia card to close the gap on AMD’s Radeon HD 6950.

AMD continues demonstrating excellent scaling here. Though CrossFire can’t achieve a perfect doubling of performance, averaging a 90% gain is quite respectable, especially since Nvidia is only able to add 74% more frame rate with a second GeForce GTX 570.

Before wrapping up the CrossFire and SLI scaling, you’ll notice that we didn’t include Lost Planet 2 in our comparison. Nvidia prevents us from running the same 8x MSAA setting on both Radeon and GeForce boards, instead exposing its coverage sampled anti-aliasing technology. It simply wouldn’t be an apples-to-apples comparison. Why does it enable 8x MSAA in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and in Just Cause, but not Lost Planet? Good question.

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    Top Comments
  • terror112
    WOW not impressed.
    30
  • iam2thecrowe
    Dissappointed. well i guess anyone that bought a 5xxx series card that couldnt wait can now be content that they made an ok choice. The only thing i got from this review is that i want 2 x gtx460's or 2 x 6850's, not the new amd cards.
    15
  • bluekoala
    I also urge people to put more emphasis on MINIMUM FPS as that is when you require high FPS the most.
    14
  • Other Comments
  • terror112
    WOW not impressed.
    30
  • Annisman
    Thanks for the review Angelini, these new naming schemes are hurting my head, sometimes the only way to tell (at a quick glance) which AMD card matches up to what Nvidia card, is by comparing the prices, which I think is bad for the average consumer.
    11
  • rohitbaran
    These cards are to GTX 500 series what 4000 series was to GTX 200. Not the fastest at their time but offer killer performance and feature set for the price. I too expected 6900 to be close to GTX 580, but it didn't turn out that way. Still, it is the card I have waited for to upgrade. Right in my budget.
    13
  • tacoslave
    imagine when this hits 32nm?
    3
  • notty22
    AMD's top card is about a draw with the gtx 570.
    Pricing is in line.
    Gives AMD only hold outs buying options, Nvidia already offered
    Merry Christmas
    7
  • microterf
    Why drop the 580 when it comes to the multi-gpu scaling??
    11
  • IzzyCraft
    Sorry all i read was this
    "This helps catch AMD up to Nvidia. However, Intel has something waiting in the wings that’ll take both graphics companies by surprise. In a couple of weeks, we'll be able to tell you more." and now i'm fixated to weather or not intel's gpu's can actually commit to proper playback.
    4
  • andrewcutter
    but from what i read at hardocp, though it is priced alongside the 570, 6970 was benched against the 580 and they were trading blows... So toms has it at par with 570 but hard has it on par with 580.. now im confused because if it can give 580 perfomance or almost 580 performance at 570 price and power then this one is a winner. Sim a 6950 was trading blows with 570 there. So i am very confused
    -3
  • sgt bombulous
    This is hilarious... How long ago was it that there were ATI fanboys blabbering "The 6970 is gonna be 80% faster than the GTX 580!!!". And then reality hit...
    -1
  • manitoublack
    I'd have to say wait until the christmas new years dust settles
    2
  • andrewcutter
    sry i take back what i said earlier. most reviews agree with what toms says. So my apologies..:)
    8
  • tpi2007
    Not bad, but not very impressive either. It's hard to be impressed at 40nm by now.

    But it is quite ironic that AMD has had a tesselator in their cards way before anybody supported the feature (let alone Nvidia), and now Nvidia does better tessellation than AMD.. they should really address that problem.. well, now the only way is to redesign the chip... at 28nm.

    28nm it is then, the next big excitment.

    What I would really like, now that the HD6xxx lineup is here (dual GPU still missing, but that is a niche product), is that AMD now focuses on fixing bugs in their drivers.
    6
  • namelessonez
    It's always the same story! nVidia pulls out a new product and then the wait begins for AMD to release its products! Ultimately, the difference isn't worth the wait. We know that AMD's winning factor is its price, but nVidia's is the quality....imho!

    As rightly stated, 'reality hits'.
    4
  • yyk71200
    AndrewCutterbut from what i read at hardocp, though it is priced alongside the 570, 6970 was benched against the 580 and they were trading blows... So toms has it at par with 570 but hard has it on par with 580.. now im confused because if it can give 580 perfomance or almost 580 performance at 570 price and power then this one is a winner. Sim a 6950 was trading blows with 570 there. So i am very confused

    Actually, in Hardocp review overall 580 has some edge over 6970 as well. Only in F1 6970 is ahead. 6970 is great value though.
    0
  • joytech22
    IzzyCraftSorry all i read was this"This helps catch AMD up to Nvidia. However, Intel has something waiting in the wings that’ll take both graphics companies by surprise. In a couple of weeks, we'll be able to tell you more." and now i'm fixated to weather or not intel's gpu's can actually commit to proper playback.


    If intel entered the graphics market and provided a half-decent dedicated GPU, that would definitely make ANY GPU company shake in their boots.

    But in all honesty i hope Intel does enter the market for graphics, making AMD and Nvidia push harder and faster for better products.
    8
  • Stardude82
    So the answer to the question posed in the title is that it is neither really a gator nor a crock. It works on so many levels! Well, maybe just one since caimans are more closely related to alligators than crocodiles.
    1
  • Tamz_msc
    I wonder if Nvidia will reduce the prices on the GTX 580 and 570.
    10
  • Lamiel
    About the only good news I can see in this for AMD is how much they've increased their multi-GPU scaling, making the 6850's in Crossfire a great bargain. That's great, sure, but the new 6900 cards leave me completely underwhelmed. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to follow up the 6800's in this way. I'm an Nvidia user, but I was still looking forward with curiosity to seeing how much stronger the 6970 would be than the GTX 580. Looks like the hype-machine broke down this time... My guess is that a lot of the AMD/ATI fanatics will be scrambling to salvage some dignity after all their talking up of Cayman and how it would eat Nvidia's lunch.
    6
  • fstrthnu
    This reminds me a lot about the recent release of the updated AMD processors - a temporary holdout while the company plans to release new ones ahead. Except these graphics cards don't even have value going for them. Nvidia was behind just a couple months ago, but now they're ready to crush AMD/Radeon. AMD better have something new coming, and FAST. Holding procedures will only do so much when your competitor is already developing their next-gen GPUs.
    -3
  • iam2thecrowe
    Dissappointed. well i guess anyone that bought a 5xxx series card that couldnt wait can now be content that they made an ok choice. The only thing i got from this review is that i want 2 x gtx460's or 2 x 6850's, not the new amd cards.
    15