Radeon 6950 For Mac
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The Sapphire RX 6950 XT Nitro+ Pure boasts some of the fastest non-ray tracing results we've ever seen. Technically the RTX 3090 Ti still wins at 4K ultra, but 1080p and 1440p go to AMD, for a bit more than half the cost of Nvidia's latest tour de force. The main drawback is that AMD's RDNA 3 architecture should arrive before the end of the year, providing even better performance and features.
But the 200 mark is currently the sweetspot between price and performance, and the AMD Radeon HD 6950 is the king of that particular roost thanks to its sterling performance and for the fact you can wave your magic BIOS flashing wand and transform it into a AMD Radeon HD 6970 gratis.
What the MSI card is doing though is operating 25% cooler than the stock card. That's still no help in terms of HD 6950 overclocking, but if you took the risk and flashed the card's BIOS you stand a decent chance of clocking it well over 900MHz.
When AMD launched the HD 6000 series graphic cards, they left a gap in its lineup. The Barts GPU core that gave us the HD 6850 and HD 6870 occupies the $150-$200 price range while the Cayman gave us the HD 6950 and HD 6970, occupying the $300-$350 range. Up till recently, AMD had no card at the $250 price range. However, NVIDIA revamped the Fermi architecture with the GeForce 500 series, and launched the GTX 560 Ti to fill that slot. To compete against NVIDIA at this price point, AMD sliced the memory on the HD 6950 in half and launched the 1GB HD 6950, keeping the rest of the architecture the same.
Here we can also see the CrossFireX connectors are covered as well. Good attention to detail from MSI. The HD 6950 supports 2-way and 3-way CrossFireX to provide the power needed for gaming at insane resolutions.
At 19201080 resolution, the extra 1GB of memory does not have that much impact for the HD 6950. The HD 6950 Twin Frozr III is about 8% faster here. Even when we crank up the tessellation, in Heaven 2.5, the system is still bottlenecked by the processing power and not the amount of memory.
Under the extreme preset, which tests at resolution 19201080 with 4xMSAA, 16AF, heavy tessellation, and other high visual settings such as shadow and lighting, the extra memory on the HD 6950 2GB shows a 10% benefit over the 1GB MSI card.
Idle, the MSI card runs at 7C cooler than the reference card. Under load the card runs at an impressive 67C, almost 20C cooler than our reference HD 6950. Even when we flip to Silence mode, the card still is 12C cooler than the reference card. Keep in mind that the card is already factory-overclocked so this is very impressive.
Remember, we disabled the PowerPlay power management on the HD 6950, which will push the GPU to the maximum load without throttling. This will give us the worst case scenario. If AMD PowerPlay is enabled, the power consumption and the clockspeed will throttle up and down depending on the load, and the noise level may not be as bad. Still, we not only heard the fan noise in Furmark with the PowerPlay disabled, but also when we tested the card in tests like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Heaven, so the MSI card is definitely louder than the reference card.