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Cody Cardarelli

Feb 18, 2011

XFX Radeon HD 6970

At A Glance

SUAVE

2GB frame buffer; good performance; Eyefinity support; great warranty.

GAUCHE

Drivers still immature; priced too high relative to the competition.

We’re not sure why this card isn’t faster than it is. In many ways, it’s two HD 6870s built onto one chip, but overall throughput may be hobbled by having only 32 ROPs and a 256-bit memory interface. Overall performance is nowhere near double an HD 6870, and the card beats the GTX 570 in only five of 12 benchmarks. The HD 6870’s power draw is a bit lower, but only marginally so. If we had to hazard a guess, it’s likely that AMD still has significant driver work to do to realize the full potential of the HD 6970.

If you look at the benchmark spreads, it’s essentially an even match between the XFX card and the GTX 570; it’s only the super-tessellated HAWX 2 that shows a huge margin, and even then, the HD 6970 is pumping out an impressive 81fps.

There are other things to like about the XFX HD 6970, too. Two Mini DisplayPort connectors fully support DisplayPort 1.2, which will let the card take full advantage of up to six monitors via daisy-chaining, once new LCDs supporting DisplayPort 1.2 ship.

All that aside, for purely gaming purposes, it’s tough to recommend the HD 6970 over the lower-cost GTX 570 card. Driver updates and price drops could shift our opinion.

SPECS

XFX Radeon HD 6970
Shader Units*
1,536
Texture Units
96
ROPs
32
Power Connectors
1 x 8-pin, 1 x 6-pin
Core Clock
880MHz
Shader Clock
NA
GDDR5 Memory Clock
1,375MHz
GDDR5 Frame Buffer
2GB
Memory Interface
256-bit
Benchmarks

XFX Radeon HD 6970
3DMark 2011
5,313
3DMark Vantage
20,443
Unigine Heaven 2.1 (fps) 27
Crysis (fps) 36
Battle Forge (fps) 47
Far Cry 2 (fps) 94
F1 2010 (fps) 65
HAWX 2 (fps) 81
Metro 2033 (fps) 22
STALKER: CoP (fps)53
Just Cause 2 Concrete Jungle (fps) 41
Aliens vs. Predator (fps) 40
Power @ idle (W)
139
Power @ full throttle (W)331

Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition in an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB of DDR3/1333 and an 850TX Corsair PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows Ultimate. All games are run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA.

THE VERDICT

XFX Radeon HD 6970

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