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Sapphire HD6950 2GB DiRT3 Toxic Edition Review

Price: $289.99


Just over a month ago, we reviewed a 2GB HD6950 from Sapphire that included a free copy of Colin McRae's DiRT3, an exciting rally racing game that many love, including me personally. The card did very well in performance, temperature, and power draw, and is still available at that great Sapphire price point — especially coming with a free game. Anyways, we all know that Sapphire, along with every other manufacturer, doesn't like to end its cards in stock form, and that's why we see Sapphire's "Toxic" editions hit the market shortly after the original versions. The "Toxic" edition of the HD6950 enjoys a slight overclock of 80MHz on the core and 50MHz on the memory, bringing the overall speeds up to 880MHz and 1300MHz, respectively. While that may not seem like much of a boost, this small bump in clock speed produces a very noticeable improvement — especially for still being in, more or less, OEM form. Most users will continue to push these cards far past what Sapphire produces and enjoy the challenge of getting the most from their hardware. Sapphire's "Toxic" stamp generally means that the card also gets a different, special edition look than the previous one, along with a different cooling setup as well.

It's been quite a while since having my hands on a Sapphire card and I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do. Judging by the results from the stock version, I don't think that I'll be let down! In this review, we will take an up-close and personal look at Sapphire's HD6950 2GB DiRT3 Toxic Edition from unboxing, checking it out under the hood, and putting it through the gauntlet of the latest, most back-breaking games. We will also measure how efficient the card is, which includes recording power draw and temperatures. All the aforementioned testing will be performed in both stock and overclocked scenarios. More details and explanation will follow on each of the testing pages.


Closer Look:

The Sapphire HD6950 2GB Toxic Edition is packaged very similarly to that of the original, stock-clocked HD6950. The difference is found in the graphics and printing of the box itself, where some hooded being is carefully holding a glowing orb. The printing itself is highly reflective and almost looks like it was printed on a mirror! The rest of the information on the front includes its 2GB capacity, that's it's an OC edition, and that it includes a copy of DiRT3. Also stated on the front is the use of a dual cooling fan, which may be similar to that of the previous stock HD6950 we reviewed last month. The rear of the box lists a load of features that this card brings with it, including 3D gaming support, Eyefinity support, and several other similar features. A small note at the bottom mentions that the box is constructed from 100% recycled materials, which is good to see. The top, sides, and bottom show no information other than logos, model numbers, and brand names.








Inside of the outer, colorful sleeve is a plain brown cardboard box that houses the card and the accessories. Opening this secondary box will reveal the card itself, shrouded by a protective static-proof bag and supported by more recycled cardboard. The static-proof bag is sealed shut at one end with a simple piece of tape, an easy and cheap measure to prevent the back from opening during shipping and handling. Underneath the video card's "tray", if you will, is another box — inside of which is the location of all the included accessories. These accessories include the general driver CD, user manuals, power adapter cables, CrossFire bridge, DisplayPort adapter, DVI to VGA adapter, warranty card, a DisplayPort cable, and of course, the DiRT3 registration material. It's certainly nice to have the mini DisplayPort adapter included, as I have found not all cards come with this!




With everything out of the box, it's now time to take a closer look at the card itself and explore what external features it offers, its cooler, and whatever else may be worth pointing out!

  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: Temperature
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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