XFX HD6950 1GB Overclocked Edition Reviewairman -
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Everything about this card is appealing — we see a visible and statistically significant increase in performance in the XXX Edition over the standard XFX HD 6950. The direct contact heatpipes do a good job at keeping the card cool under typical situations, however it becomes obvious that the performance of the cooler falls apart under a heavy heat load. This heavy heat load is from putting a huge overclock on the card and applying the extra voltage to the GPU. We see this in other "DirectCU" coolers, and they tend to fall apart in this same way.
Moving along to the specifics of the card and other features, it is an attractive card and the black PCB looks good and stealthy inside a black, painted interior case. The noise levels are very low, even at 100% - which is a good and a bad thing. Those looking for quietness while still keeping an edge over similar cards, the XXX Edition is perfect for that. However, once overclocked, the performance begins to degrade and cool poorly. I was surprised at the mini DisplayPort connectors, as I was not prepared for it when I received the card. Fortunately, I was able to have a mini DisplayPort to full-size adapter to my door in a couple of days so I could test out the card.
Overall, I like the card and it's a good pick for an upper-end card that may not be overclocked too far past its packaged speed due to the performance of the fans. This would be a perfect fit for someone who wants a plug and play, overclocked video card that remains quiet and offers a little bit of an edge in comparable performance. I personally wish the card's cooler was a little more capable compared to the reference design. Maybe video card manufacturers can learn something about these direct contact technologies and how to improve them. Hopefully they can knock some design improvements into them soon!
- Stock overclocked
- Slight performance edge over standard HD 6950
- Cool under stock situations
- Overclocks well
- Can get "toasty" when overclocking with added voltage