XFX HD6950 1GB Overclocked Edition Reviewairman -
Category: Video Cards
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With the explosion of overclocking years ago, we are finding more and more manufacturers are endorsing and embracing overclocking of their products. This included products from NVIDIA to Intel and AMD, to other component manufacturers such as XFX, MSI, Gigabyte, ASUS, etc. Along with this endorsement comes a wider range of product support and quality. Recently, many manufacturers are boasting higher quality military grade components that will allow users to overclock products further and with more stability and efficiency. Over the past several years, we almost never fail to see a new line of video cards coming out and within weeks, have an overclocked version of it — usually with a better cooling solution as well. In some cases, some video cards even release as twins where the brother or sister is an overclocked version!
Having this huge support for overclocking by many manufacturers also opens the market for better aftermarket cooling solutions. After all, the factory coolers on these products are generally designed and produced with the limit being stock speeds. That's where manufacturers such as Noctua, Thermalright, Zalman and many other manufacturers stepped in to help us upgrade our stock coolers and replace them with something that will allow the taking of our hardware to the absolute limit. Mixed together, we end up with an overclocked version of the AMD HD 6950 which was released last year and assembled by XFX. The cooler that ships with it seems to be upgraded, as it has two propeller fans (rather than one single blower) and three large heatpipes peeking out the side of the fan housing. It will be interesting to see what type of temperature differences we see between this version and the XFX reference version, as found in this review. These cards are capable of displaying video on up to six monitors from one video card, that is very neat! This is accomplished by the use of DisplayPort, which can run two video channels per port.
This review will feature a complete evaluation of the XFX Radeon HD 6950 1GB XXX Edition video card. It will start from exterior views, interior and "under the hood" views, providing a comprehensive list of specifications and features, followed by an intense overclocking and testing methology that batters the card with extreme temperatures and loads. Doing so, I will be able to gather results from each testing simulation and compare it to other high-end cards on the market. The conclusion will feature a wrap-up summation of my thoughts about the card, its performance and its price.
The XFX HD 6950 1Gb XXX Edition is packaged in a box that is identical to recent XFX production. It is a black/gray box accented with signature red AMD color along with the XFX and AMD logos with the XXX Edition sticker in the bottom right of the front face. Also on this side are small icons — which include "1GB GDDR5", and "XFX 5-Star Support". Many who have dealt with returns and RMAs from XFX can agree that they were provided with top quality service. The back of the box lists the key offerings of the card, which are relatively standard in this age. Some of the more important ones include HDMI output, "XFX Dual Fan Technology" and AMD Eyefinity Multi-Display Technology. The corners of the box contain other information such as system requirements and supported operating systems.
Opening one of the side flaps will expose an inner box which slides out and contains the video card and all of the other components. Opening the box will reveal a tray on top of the card that holds the user manuals, warranty cards, installation instructions and a CrossfireX bridge. Using bridges like this allows the use of up to four video cards in CrossfireX, assuming the required hardware is present. XFX also supplies a "Do Not Disturb" door hanger, which has the XFX serial number printed onto it. There is also a brochure marketing XFX's new line of power supplies, known as its "PRO Series PSUs".
Now that the video card is out of the packaging, I will now start taking a close look at the card and its components on the next page.