Although the graphs make the Radeon XFX HD 6970 and HD 6950 cards look attractive, it’s only when you have spent days in the KitGuru Lab with them that you realise how huge the evolution has been from AMD’s first to second generation DX11 graphics cards.
Taken at face value, both the HD6950 and HD6970 are really impressive products. But then you factor in the price, that’s when things get really interesting.
During testing, we had been given an indication that the HD6950 would retail around £250 and the HD6970 would come in just over the £300 mark. At those prices, these cards were both already good value. But then, a short while before launch, we were given pricing by XFX, listing the HD6950 at £220 inc vat and HD6970 for £280 inc vat. This is extremely aggressive pricing from AMD.
Compared to existing AMD graphic processors the Radeon HD 6970 is really delivering the goods, especially when we look at the improved tessellation performance. A marked improvement when compared against the HD5870. When you compare the HD6950 against the HD5850, the performance gulf is even bigger.
Alongside the price and the performance, you also have great power efficiency with the new HD6900 series. During game testing, the Radeon HD 6950 only consumed around 140 watts. On that basis, you could build an overclocked rig with three of these XFX cards in CrossFireX formation and only require a quality 775w power supply. With the new Catalyst Control Centre power tweaking tools, you could lower that even further.
They say that a year is a long time in graphics. In terms of the improvements we’re seeing with these XFX cards, it seems like the year lasted way longer than 12 months. As the leaves started to fall from the trees back in August, both the HD5850 and HD5870 seemed like great choices for a powerful system. Now they have been blown away completely.
KitGuru says: Stand alone, in regular CrossFire or three-way CrossFireX formation, AMD’s latest Radeons are something else.