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Sapphire HD 6950 Flex Edition Review

ccokeman    -   April 3, 2011
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Testing:

Testing of the Sapphire HD 6950 FleX 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 other than applying the AA and AF settings manually in the 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. In addition to the stock testing, I will include performance testing in both Surround (NVIDIA) and Eyefinity (AMD) with the appropriate cards. For this review, a few new games have replaced some of the aging titles.

 

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

  • Sapphire HD 6950 Flex 904MHz / 1505MHz

Overclocking the HD 6950 Flex in no different than overclocking a standard card — the display connectivity aside, they act and clock the same. There are a few utilities available for overclocking graphics cards out on the web that for the most part work with most video cards. Many of the top manufacturers have their own utility and Sapphire is no different with its TRIXX utility. I have used this utility before and it is fairly straight forward to use. Sapphire has equipped the Flex with a Vapor Chamber-based cooling solution that allowed temperatures to hover around the 60 degrees Celsius mark when the fan was spooled up to 100%. This level of cooling let the HD 6950 Cayman core run up to 904MHz, or 104MHz over the baseline setting — this without the ability to increase the voltage on this card. The Hynix GDDR5 memory was able to scale another 255MHz over the as-delivered 1250MHz clock speed. On a percentage basis, these increases equate to 13% for the CPU core and just over 20% on the memory. These increases did lead to significant increases across most of the benchmark suite, with Metro 2033 and Unigine 2.5 showing the least amount of scaling at 2560x1600.

 

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 1 hour of testing.

   

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  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: The Video Card
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  6. Testing: Metro 2033
  7. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  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: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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