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Sapphire HD6950 2GB DiRT3 Edition Review

Price: $269.99


Are you looking for a new graphics card for your system? Are you unable to play some of your favorite games at a high resolution while still being able to keep the advanced settings high? Maybe you are behind the times and still running Microsoft DX10 or even DX9, while more and more games are beginning to use DX11 in their graphics engines? Are you a fan of the DiRT racing-sim series and have not made it out to the stores or on Steam to purchase a copy of it yet? Well you are in luck if you are in the mood to upgrade your graphics card and receive a free copy of DiRT3! Sapphire has just released a new packaged card in its line-up, the HD6950 2GB; however, this time it comes with another perk, DiRT3! With the release of the Sapphire HD6950 2GB DiRT3 Edition graphics card, you can expect to not only find a powerful card inside with a copy of Codemaster's DiRT3 that you can redeem and activate on your Steam account, but you are also going to find an upgraded cooling solution installed on the card. I am very curious to see exactly what the Sapphire HD6950 2GB DiRT3 Edition looks like, as well as what kind of graphics performance and cooling performance it yields. So let's get to it!


Closer Look:

When you take the first look at the packaging for the Sapphire HD6950 2GB DiRT3 Edition, you will see the Sapphire logo printed in the top left hand corner of the package and "Get Radeon in your system" printed in the top right hand corner. In the center of the package, justified to the right, is the Radeon HD6950 name printed with the tag "DiRT3 Special Edition Graphics Card" printed below. In the center, moved over to the left-hand side of the package, is an image of a DiRT3 race car with the DiRT3 logo printed above it. You are going to find the 2GB GDDR5 badge printed above the model name with another badge letting you know that there is a complimentary DiRT3 game code inside the package. Along the bottom of the package is a list of the badges that give you a glimpse of the features the HD6950 2GB DiRT3 Edition graphics card has, such as Full DirectX 11 support, AMD Eyefinity, PCI Express 2.1 1080p Full HD, AMD HD3D, DisplayPort, 7.1 HD Surround Sound, and SuperFast GDDR5 Memory. There is also a badge toward the center of the package on the front that lets you know you are going to find a 1.8 meter HDMI HighSpeed Extension Cable included with the card. When you flip the package over, you will see what the front of the package is missing, an attractive warrior girl. This woman on the back, instead of wielding a weapon as we typically see, has a checkered flag to go along with the DiRT3 theme. There is also a more detailed list of features the HD6950 has, along with a short description of each.






After removing the outer packaging, you will unveil the typical brown box inside that houses the graphics card itself, as well as all the accessories. This time, Sapphire has decided to place another thinner brown package inside of the larger one under the portion that keeps the card in place to hold all the accessories, keeping the packaging a little more organized. The HD6950 is wrapped up in an anti-static bag that has bubble packaging built into it to help keep the card safe during the shipping process as well as when it is being un-boxed. There is also a small piece of thick plastic foam that is wedged between the card and the molded edges of the cardboard housing unit that keeps the card in place.



As I mentioned before, the Sapphire HD6950 card is wrapped up in an anti-static bag that is going to keep it safe while you are opening the package as well as while it is being shipped. The accessories that are included with the card are the more or less common accessories — two 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PCI-E power adapters, a DVI to VESA dongle, and a CrossFireX bridge. The not so common accessory that you are going to find inside is a 1.8 meter HDMI cable, which can come in handy if you are trying to attach the graphics card to a HDTV or if your monitor supports HDMI input. The accessories package also includes a drivers CD, a simple user manual, an invite to the Sapphire Select Club, and the more-or-less more important piece of paper inside, the DiRT3 game code card. This card does not have the actual product key on it, but directions how to get it, which seems pretty simple and straight-forward.



Now that we have taken a look at the packaging for the Sapphire HD6950 2GB DiRT3 Edition graphics card, it is time to take a close and detailed look at the card. I am excited to see what the upgraded cooling looks like.  

  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: 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: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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