Radeon HD 6950 1 GB: But It Has Less Memory!
Although we haven't seen too many examples of it recently, adding tons of memory to a lower-end GPU was once a common practice, if only as a relatively affordable way to beef up a card's spec sheet. It turned out that gamers who didn't understand what really made one board faster than another would buy an overpriced GeForce 2 MX, for example, because it had more memory than a standard GeForce 2 GTS, and then end up with a slower product that was cheaper to manufacture.
Of course, we all know that the Radeon HD 6950 is far from a low-end part. Instead, the most likely reason that AMD's Radeon HD 6950 originally came with a massive 2 GB of GDDR5 RAM was based in its origin as a Radeon HD 6970. The company specified a top-end memory configuration for its best card, and the easiest way to make its number-two part was to simply flash a separate firmware to disable shader cores and drop the clocks. Using the next-lower speed grade for RAM, the Radeon HD 6950 was born.
A lot has happened since that launch, however. To begin, the Radeon HD 6970 targeted triple-GPU configurations, where super-high resolutions and details could occasionally make use of that extra RAM. AMD's less expensive 6950 was marketed toward gamers looking to save a little money. Lower thermal ceilings allowed manufacturers to adopt more compact circuit boards for even greater cost savings and installation flexibility.
Three-way configurations and 2 GB Radeon HD 6950s are still available, but if you're running a single card, it's safe to say that, in most cases, you're going to run out of GPU muscle before you hit the limits of a 1 GB board. As a result, the Radeon HD 6950 1 GB appears to be this market’s sweet spot.
Five companies agreed with our assessment enough that they were willing to send their cards for evaluation.
|Single-Slot Graphics Comparison Specifications|
|Gigabyte 1GB GV-R695OC-1GD||HIS ICEQ X 1GB H695QN1G2M||MSI R6950 PE OC 912-V246-047||Sapphire HD 6950 1GB GDDR5 PCIE||XFX 800M 1GB HD-695X-ZDFC|
|GPU Clock||870 MHz||800 MHz||850 MHz||800 MHz||800 MHz|
|DVI||1 x Dual-Link 1 x Single-Link||1 x Dual-Link 1 x Single-Link||1 x Dual-Link 1 x Single-Link||1 x Dual-Link 1 x Single-Link||1 x Dual-Link 1 x Single-Link|
|DisplayPort||Full||Two Mini||Two Mini||Full||Two Mini|
|VGA||By Adapter||By Adapter||By Adapter||By Adapter||By Adapter|
|Output Adapters||None||DVI-I to VGA||DVI-I to VGA Full DisplayPort||DVI-I to VGA||None|
|Weight||25 Ounces||23 Ounces||28 Ounces||24 Ounces||21 Ounces|
|PCB Version||Custom 1.0||Custom||V246 2.0||Custom||Custom|
|VRM||Eight Phases||Four Phases||Six Phases||Four Phases||Four Phases|
|Warranty||Three Years||Two Years||Three Years||Two Years||Lifetime w/reg|
|Added Value||DiRT3 Certificate||Dual BIOS||DiRT3 Certificate|