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MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition Review

ccokeman    -   July 21, 2011
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Testing of the MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition 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. The drivers used are the 11.5 Catalyst drivers for the AMD-based cards and the 275.27 for NVIDIA-based cards

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

  • MSI Twin Frozr III HD 6950 Power Edition 950/1436MHz

The R6950 Twin Frozr III is equipped to overclock from its 6+2 phase power design and triple overvoltage capabilities in MSI's own overclocking utility Afterburner. This should allow for some big clock speeds. Sadly, my sample was only able to reach a stable 950MHz on the core and 1374MHz on the GDDR5 memory. To get over the 900MHz core and 1325MHz limitation in the BIOS, unofficial overclocking had to be enabled in the configuration file for Afterburner. A 100MHz bump in core clock speed over the as-delivered 850MHz on the core and a 136MHz bump on the memory are worth the time to reach for and required some voltage tuning to get there. I found that going big on the voltages was not the solution on the memory or core, as they did not respond as well as I would have hoped with the cooling and VRM circuit, but not every example is going to be in the top 5%. The dual BIOS switch brings up the possibility of flashing the BIOS to enable the additional shader cores, bringing the R6950's 1408 up to the 1536 used on the HD 6970. With plenty of BIOSs out on the web, it was a simple find to get a BIOS that could enable a flash. Again I was foiled, as the card just would not enable the cores after a flash. Some you win, some you lose. Even so, the additional clock speeds allowed an increase in performance with the R6950 Twin Frozr III cooling solution doing its job and keeping the R6950 a cool 57 degrees Celsius under load when overvolted and overclocked.

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consists of looping Crysis Warhead and Unigine 2.5 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds will fail when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment fails, then the clock speeds and tests are rerun until they pass the full hour of testing.

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Civilization V
  4. HAWX 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.5
  7. Mafia II
  8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  9. Lost Planet 2
  10. 3DMark 11
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: Video Card
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  6. Testing: Metro 2033
  7. Testing: Sid Meier's Civilization V
  8. Testing: Tom Clancy's HAWX 2
  9. Testing: Lost Planet 2
  10. Testing: Unigine 2.5
  11. Testing: Just Cause 2
  12. Testing: Mafia II
  13. Testing: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  14. Testing: 3DMark 11
  15. Testing: Temperature
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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