AMD's Power Trip: The Radeon HD 6950 and 6970

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drcrazyrich

I like the fact compition brings out improvements !!  wow did Nvidia come out swinging :) not the new ATI cards are bad but there lack of performance could make one think they shoulda waited til they had something that kicks ass accordngly !! SEEMS LIKE A WAIST OF DEVELOPMENT :(

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Ceadderman

The 500 series of cards are updated versions of the 400 series. That means that what didn't work on the 400 series, NVidia went back at and fixed. They are now what they were supposed to be when those cards were launched. Of course it looks like AMD didn't achieve better results. Kinda hard to compete against a card that has been reworked to get their intended results and have similar results with new tech based on the old format. Unless your old format was not what it was supposed to be. The fact that AMD came out with this series and still give NVidia a workout says a lot. Let's see what NVidia does now, that Intel has pulled their contract.

I'm not being a jerk, just saying that AMD did better in this instance. Though their series map could use a redesign to have a linear ranking. The fact that the series is all over the map, that's something I don't like. If I don't know which GPU to purchase from their lineup is the Enthusiast unit, that would directly influence where I spend my dollars. Like many of you I'd imagine. If you are looking through a parts catalog and trying to decipher which model is the one you're looking for that can get pretty tedious for the A.D.D. crowd.

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drcrazyrich

GO PAY FOR ADDS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE ASS!!

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Axel011

Hey ATI....why don't you focus on drivers and driver support for a change? Than after that you can work on your customer support.....this alone would bring you a very long way to surpassing Nvidia. ATI's shotty drivers and all the issues I've had with them alone are enough to make me never buy their cards. In fact I can't stand ATI cards.....the know how to put hardware on a board...but that's where there ability stops.

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Ceadderman

Since you cannot stand ATI, then you missed these two facts...

Fact 1) ATi no longer exists. AMD purchased that company and decided that AMD has better street cred than ATi. The company rebranded under AMD.

Fact 2)AMD updated the drivers and included a driver for multi thread CPUs'. So your GPU gets a boost from your CPU. Which really makes a difference. How much? Well lets' just say my brother averaged a 30% score increase from Unigine Heaven because of it. This is on an Asus Motherboard with onboard Video and Sound with zero peripheral cards to aid in the boost. Stock everything.

Now I won't say this fixed everything but the increase was definitely noticeable. 

You're right that ATi drivers sucked. But AMD has addressed this across the board.

I have the 5770 Juniper XT on a Crosshair IV with 955 BE C3, and I cannot wait until I am back up and able to update my drivers to see what I post. I'd hazard to guess that I see at least similar increases from my system as a result.

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sweetjeebus

The performance gain of the new 6970 is pretty pathetic for a new architecture. This is the kind of performance gain we saw when going from a 4870 to a 4890 a while back. Maybe they should rename it the 5890...lol. I will be sticking with my 5870 for now. This is bad news for AMD. I wish they could compete in the true highend market, but it looks like their best effort is only worthy of a upper mid-range nod. At least they weren't dumb enough to price it too high. Still, they should have matched the price of the 570, which is its true competition. If I didn't have my 5870, I would probably have went Nvidia if I needed a card right now.

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Keith E. Whisman

The Nvidia 570 is an awesome card that even kills off the highend AMD dual gpu cards in some benchmarks. The Geforce 570GTX is the card to have right now for SLI work. 

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Ceadderman

So we're clear on this, SLI is strictly NVidia. So what you're saying is that the GTX570 is the card to have right now for NVidia work. Right? lol

Not being a fanboi here. Just pointing out the obvious gaff in your statement.

Thing is however, AMD kicks NVidia hienie all day where multi monitors are concerned.

NVidia has PhysX but there aren't a lot of PhysX intensive games and apps that require an NVidia card.

Now I'm not saying to run out and get an AMD card. In fact if you're already an ATi owner I wouldn't rush out to buy the new series unless you have to replace what is already working. Cause quite honestly you don't need one since the 5*** series cards are not much different than the 6*** series cards. If you want a better increase, purchase another 5*** series card that you can XFire with and pair the two. Viola better performance for less money and no need to purchase 3D equipment.

Obviously this last bit is not directed toward you since you obviously have the NVidia bug. lol

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THE_REAL_MAVERICK

AMD is smart.  They are producing really good cards at cheap prices.  Especially considering the performance that these cards are getting for the watts they put out.  Great price/performance on their behalf.  I have AMD now, and wont go back to Nvidia untill they bring prices and their power consumption down.  Gotta say its good to have AMD back when they were producing horrid cards a few years ago.  Since the 4xxx series they are making some headway.  Competition is good!~

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Keith E. Whisman

AMD just smiles and suggests that you just ignore the similarities between the new parts names and the previous generation high end parts names. I don't here anyone screaming foul, but if it were Intel, man the world would be coming to an end. You would here people making legal fraud cases against Intel. You would see people starting class action lawsuits against Intel. You would see prosecutors bring unethical and fraudulent business, marketing, and advertising charges against Intel if it were Intel. So why isn't anyone screaming at AMD?

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Jims45wow

Only if they lie about the specs or price. Did you see any suits against GM for calling the same basic car by 2 different names, either within or without the Chevy brand? I expect there's a lot more distinction between the 5xxx and 6xxx than between Firebird and Camaro, or Nova and Chevelle (, if you think the brand name matters).

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JohnP

 I went at 1st with a ATI 5870 when it first came out and then a GTX 580 when it appeared. I have to mod my CoolerMaster Storm scout case's drive bay (pop a couple of rivets off) to get the cards to fit. I have been using a CoolerMaster 750 watt power supply for both and it powers everything fine. Somehow I managed to get a good card (at full price mind) in both cases. The GTX 580 really is a good card, little noise (it's there but just more of a rattle than a whine) and needed with my 27 inch high end Dell monitor.My sons computers have a smaller monitor so the AMD card works fine.

  ATI/AMD just cnnot get a break. They are usually behind the curve in benchmarks for both their CPUs and graphics cards so they have to price their expensive stuff a lot lower to compete. Of course, 99% of the business is with inexpensive laptops and desktops so perhaps they are right to continue this strategy.

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AETAaAS

Im feeling quite disappointed in these new cards. I guess warning bells should have been ringing in my head when the 6870 failed to push beyond its 5870 namesake.

But I held a little hope that the 6970 would have been something amazing.

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JohnP

 This explains the delay AMD had with releasing their card. They were tweaking their drivers to get as much oomph out of benchmarks so they would not be so far behind NVivia's 580...

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Baer

This is about more than benchmarks. Let's say that you want to run three monitors and you also do not want to go larger than a 1000 Wt PSU. If, as I am assuming, the AMD cards still let you connect three monitors without having to install two cards in X-fire that is a big advantage. If the upcomming dual GPU card adds to the horsepower allowing good performance with three monitors that adds to this specific advantage. I have always tended to favor NVIDIA, I am still running GTX 285's but having to use two cards in SLI in order to connect three monitors is a disadvantage IMHO, not only for the cost and space issue but mainly due to the iffy overhead left on a 1000 Wt PSU.

PSU's can not contunue to keep getting much bigger unless we decide to go to 20 AMP wall outlets instead of the typical 15 AMP.

Am I missing something? I intend to talk to both AMD and NVIDIA about this issue at CES.

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CENTURION_L77

How do you reconcile these two statements:

"AMD tries to play catch-up to Nvidia on performance, but STICKS to its EFFICIENCY mantra with the new Radeon 6900 series GPUs"

and

"AMD’s approach of simply “doubling everything” scores some significant performance gains over the HD 6800 series, but seems like an uncharacteristically BRUTE-FORCE approach for a company that’s been priding itself on its focus on EFFICIENCY"

???

Both statements are from your article. Both statements make reference to the efficiency of the HD 6900. Yet they contradict each other.  I think MaximumPC clearly shows its bias here.  Both statements are used to bash AMD, yet what's pathetic is that you can't do so with consistency and without contradicting yourself. I've seen this many times on here now.  Anything "Nvidia" you guys get on your knees. Anything "AMD" you get out your clipboard and red pencil and start trying to find faults.  Personally, I think this card isn't all that.  But I wouldn't go up to someone and make the above statements pretending I wasn't being biased.

This BS is one of the reasons I've stopped visiting your site.  Because I saw an e-mail from XFX in my inbox I decided to see what else I could find about these cards and came to your website amongst others.  You want to learn how to review a product?  Read the review of the 6970 on Benchmarkreviews.com and try to learn something.  Maybe you can go back to what you were a long time ago, MaximumPC.

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loyd

I don't have a problem with saying that.

AMD is trying to pursue two contradictory goals: efficiency and raw performance. On the one hand, they double up on shader engines, which is a brute force architectural technique. On the other hand, they implement their PowerTune technology, which improves efficiency. And the VLIW4 architecture allowed them to improve performance per millimeter squared, which allows them to build the chip on fewer transistors and a smaller die size.

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filip007

Intel is doing the same to CPU, so the best combo is still Intel and Radeon as low power point of view.

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chronium

Did you bother reading the reviews on Benchmarkreviews? They say pretty much the exact same thing.

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Kethsar

As expected of the GTX 580. At least, you would hope it to have power for its energy draw. Even so, I was expecting a closer call on the performance of the HD 6970 to the GTX 580. Either way, still quite amazing. I cant wait to see the next Nvidia chipset, assuming they do a chipset at all.

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