Sapphire HD 6950 Flex Edition Reviewccokeman - April 3, 2011
Category: Video Cards
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Following up on the recent release of the HD 6870 FleX, Sapphire is introducing the HD 6950 FleX Edition video card to bring the performance level up a couple notches for the FleX series. This gives the gamer the ability to run a three monitor SLS (Single Large Surface) display with lower-priced, DVI-equipped monitors. What makes this special when the HD 6970 and standard HD 6950 can do that? Well yes they can, but either DisplayPort-equipped monitors or expensive active DP to DVI adapters are required to make the solution work. Sapphire eliminates this expense with the FleX Edition HD 6950 by allowing the two DVI ports and an HDMI to DVI adapter (included) to become the connectivity option of choice to feed three less expensive DVI monitors. Under the surface, you still get all the HD 6950 features, such as full DirectX 11 support, Dolby® TrueHD and DTSHD Master Audio TM Support, VLIW4 shader architecture, Vapor Chamber cooling, and AMD Advanced Parallel Processing Technology. The Cayman GPU still sports 22 SIMD, 1408 Streaming processors, 88 texture units, 32 ROPs, and a 2GB frame buffer running through a 256-bit bus. Clock speeds are still bone-stock HD 6950 clocks at 800MHz on the core and 1250MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Let's see what Sapphire has to offer with the HD 6950 FleX Edition.
The packaging for the FleX Edition has all the usual flair that Sapphire uses to present its product and stand out from the crowd. On the front panel, you have the latest representation of "Ruby" against a metallic blue background. The front panel contains a wealth of information about the capabilities of this card. First and foremost is the FleX Edition badge that shows Eyefinity support for three DVI monitors right out of the box and support for up to a total of five monitors with the appropriate adapters. This card is equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and is most definitely not a 1GB card to shed some cost — with SLS support, it will need the full 2GB. Additional features mentioned include DirectX 11, DisplayPort 1.2, 7.1 Surround, and AMD Eyefinity. The back side lists highlights of the HD 6950, while to the right there are brief descriptions about many of the AMD specific features, such as Accelerated Parallel Processing, AMD CrossfireX, and AMD Eyefinity Multi-Display technology.
The inner packaging is made mostly from recyclable materials — with the exception of the bag holding the card and some of the accessories, the rest is 100% recyclable. The card sits in a cardboard-formed shell, while the accessories reside in a box under this shell.
The bundle of accessories for a product can add or detract from the value of the whole package. Sapphire includes one of the most complete bundles of any manufacturer. Included with this offering are the manual, driver disk, invitation to join the Sapphire Select club, a 6-foot HDMI cable, Crossfire Bridge connector, DisplayPort to HDMI dongle, HDMI to DVI dongle, DVI to D-Sub adapter, and a pair of 4-pin molex to 6-pin PCIe power adapter.
The Sapphire HD 6950 FleX Edition offers up a unique way to drive multi-display functionality. Let's dig a little deeper to see what's under the hood of this latest 6900 series offering from Sapphire.