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Powercolor HD6950 PCS++ 2GB Review – dual action

Powercolor are earning a good reputation for thinking ‘outside the box’ and coming up with products that the enthusiast audience will want to buy. Even though they are selling this card as a ‘HD6950’ it almost delivers HD6970 performance by simply toggling a bios switch.

We say almost because while they have cleverly increased the shader count, the card is limited to lower specification memory chips as seen on the regular HD6950. Strangely enough we found that the GDDR5 memory overclocked extremely well with minimal effort, so Powercolor could actually have pushed the hardware a little more and still remained within safe parameters.

At idle, we found the card to be quiet and even when loaded the dBa emissions only rose from 29 to 33, meaning that in real world situations, the dual fan configuration will remain basically inaudible at all times. Negatively we can say that Powercolor have been a little passive with their fan speed configurations, because when switching from HD6950 to HD6970 mode, the fan speed only increases by 2% under load. This causes the card to peak at 80c, when ideally it could have been reduced to 75c with only a slightly more aggressive fan bios profile. We aren’t complaining about a lack of noise, but with such an impressive cooler, 80c in Furmark seems a little high.

Overall, we find the bundle and card to be extremely impressive and yet again it highlights that Powercolor are able and willing to adapt their products to suit consumer demands. Releasing a card with two pre-configured bios settings is a stroke of genius and offers extra performance to the end user with minimal hassle.

Pros:

  • Full size HDMI output
  • Free game
  • memory overclocks very well
  • Small premium
  • warranty support for modified and enhanced performance levels
  • great custom cooler design
  • low noise levels

Cons:

  • fan profile is a little weak
  • default clock settings could have been higher
  • cheaper memory used (not AMD HD6970 specifications)

KitGuru says: Another great product from PowerColor and one that will appeal to the enthusiast audience unwilling to flash their HD6950 bios and invalidating warranty.

Rating: 9.0.

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  • Garth

    really clever idea to have a dual bios preconfigured like this. I know some people dont want to flash their cards due to the risk of killing it and having no comeback.

  • Nick

    Its a really nice idea to be seen as being active like this. they do release some particularly impressive cards in the last year.

  • Frannie

    Their cooler is great, my friend has another card with the same cooler and its very quiet. dual fans always works great.

  • Thomas

    PCB design is good, and although I know they could maybe have used the better memory it would put the price up a good bit.

  • Benjamin

    Im still not sold on their cards, I hear horror stories of their UK support system. which is basically non existant. that is why I go for sapphire, cause I know ill get a replacement if the hardware fails. same for HIS, crap UK support.

  • NeD

    I like their PCS cards, always really well made, but I do echo a feeling of concern in the Uk. I know my wifes brother bought a powercard card years ago and it did fail after 10 months and no one would accept it back. A word of caution for those people buying one in the UK, their local support is not good. (or wasnt ).

  • AMD4EVER

    Their support in USA is very good.