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

Multi-Card Scaling In Battlefield: Bad Company 2

In what is becoming a familiar story, the two Radeon HD 6970s claim first-place finishes in all three resolutions, with the 6950s and 570s trading places below. AMD’s Radeon HD 6870s in CrossFire serve up playable performance across the board, but they’re much slower than the other three configurations tested here.

I chose 2560x1600 as the best resolution to compare scaling performance because, if you’re spending $700 or $800 on graphics, you should probably be running a 30” screen or a trio of 23” displays in Eyefinity or Surround. The fact that we’re still seeing 80 and 90 frames per second on average at the highest settings Battlefield: Bad Company 2 offers at that resolution affirms just how much graphics muscle is at our disposal.

The Radeon HD 6900-series cards handle it in stride. A pair of Radeon HD 6950s achieves what can only be described as idea scaling performance, while the 6970s fare just a tad worse than Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 570s. Meanwhile, the 1 GB Radeon HD 6870s put down less compelling numbers—most likely a result of that frame buffer inhibiting performance.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • terror112
    WOW not impressed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • tacoslave
    imagine when this hits 32nm?
  • 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
  • microterf
    Why drop the 580 when it comes to the multi-gpu scaling??
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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...
  • manitoublack
    I'd have to say wait until the christmas new years dust settles