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ASUS HD 6950 Review

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Testing of the ASUS HD6950 will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where they fall on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing, with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing, where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel. I will test the cards at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see the effects of any increases in clock speed. The cards are placed in order from highest to lowest performing in the graphs to show where the cards fall by comparison.



Comparison Video Cards:



  • ASUS HD 6950 965/1505MHz

Overclocking the ASUS HD6950 was similar to overclocking the Palit GTX 570 in that it was very easy to do so. By using either ASUS Smart Doctor or the commonly available Afterburner overclocking applications, I was able to push the speeds up for additional performance. However, to get to the top clock speeds, the voltage had to be tweaked some to reach the final clock speeds of 965MHz on the core and 1505MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Any higher than 965MHz on the core and stability was dependent on the game or test — it could be pushed as high as 976MHz on the core, depending on the game or test. Still, even with that, 965MHz represents an almost 20% bump in core clock speed. The GDDR5 memory also yielded some big clock speed up to the overclocking gods with a 255MHz increase, or just over 20%, over the default 1250MHz. The voltage was bumped up from 1100mv on the core to 1250mv to make this all possible. The large increase in voltage meant the fan speed had to be increased to 80+% to maintain the clock speeds. This combination of things allowed the card to stay cooler than stock settings, while delivering higher clock speeds. The one trade off is the noise generated by the blower-style fan on the reference cooling solution when the whip gets cracked and the fan spools up above 55 to 60%. There is a trade off for each move you make, but if performance is the end game, what's a little noise?


Maximum Clock Speeds:

In the past, I had used MSI's Kombuster utility to check for stability, coupled with the ability to run through the entire test suite. I have found that some game tests would still fail with this utility, so I have moved to testing with several games at maximum settings through several resolutions to verify the clock speeds that are listed below. Why the change? I have found some cards will play fine at a 4xAA setting, but fail when using 8xAA due to the increased graphics load. If it fails, then the clock speeds and tests are rerun until they pass.



  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
  7. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  9. 3DMark 2011
  10. 3DMark Vantage
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

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