Cooler, quieter, but is it better?
AMD recently launched their Cayman boards, aka the HD 6900 series, and while I was impressed with the highest end model, the HD 6950 was something I was particularly looking forward to. This was mainly because AMD themselves are targeting this card to be below the GTX 570 but above the GTX 460 (and presumably GTX 480). The HD 6950, according to AMD, is in a “class of its own”. Let’s see where it really stacks up the DirectX 11 GPU ladder.
Obviously the Twin Frozr II name in the title should have already indicated that this is not a reference AMD design, that MSI have applied their own touch to the HD 6950. So what we have here is a completely different heatsink from the reference AMD design, which according to MSI keeps the card 6% cooler and 19.6dB quieter. Due to the heatsink itself, MSI claims the overclocking ability of the card greatly increases, especially due to GPU overvoltage through their Afterburner overclocking utility. That said, the R6950 did come with a miniscule factory overclock of 10MHz on the Core clock speeds.
So without further ado, let’s get down to the number crunching. Turns out the old girl will sing one final song before the year ends. The system specs for our soon-to-be-retired machine comprise of an Intel Core i7 965EE @ 3.2GHz on an ASUS Rampage II Extreme motherboard, packing 3x 1GB Corsairs XMS3-1333 ram, a Kingston 64GB V-Series SSD running Windows 7 Ultimate; all of which is powered by a Corsair HX1000W PSU. For comparisons I have used the AMD HD 6970 and the Zotac GTX 570.