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Sapphire HD6970 2048MB GDDR5 (Dual Fan Edition) Review

We have changed our method of measuring noise levels. We have built a system inside a Lian Li chassis with no case fans and have used a fanless cooler on our CPU. We are using a heatpipe based passive power supply and an Intel SSD to keep noise levels to a minimum. The motherboard is also passively cooled. This gives us a build with completely passive cooling and it means we can measure noise of just the graphics card inside the system when we run looped 3dMark tests. Ambient noise in the room is around 20-25dBa. We measure from a distance of around 1 meter from the closed chassis and 4 foot from the ground to mirror a real world situation.

Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on only the video card. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.

KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum

The cooler is quiet, remaining basically inaudible when idle, and rising only to 33.5 dBa when playing games. With a dual fan card, both fans can be configured to spin much slower while still producing high air flow, which is the reason why we like them so much.

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12 comments

  1. Sweet deal, hopefully see these for £270 at christmas in UK

  2. The cooler looks as good as their vapor X,. they might cause damage to their other, more expensive cards with this. not that im complaining, nice to see a company taking the cost of the cooler themselves. they are making enough profit anyway on these higher end boards.

  3. What voltage did you set to get 954MHz core? Thanks.

  4. @ Jon.

    1243, its in the picture on the overclocking page.

  5. Looks great, nice to see it being classed as a reference board too. normally that would be over £300

  6. @Davis

    Thanks. That voltage look a little high? My 6970 does 945/1495 on 1185 with a Accelero XTREME Plus II cooler. Might push it a bit higher if thats a fairly safe voltage bump.

  7. Hi, nice review and I have been reading reviews for 3 6970 cards but still cannot decide on which to buy. Which one would you pick between these 3:
    MSI Radeon 6970 lightning edition
    Sapphire Radeon 6970 dual fan edition
    Sapphire Radeon 6970 Flex Battlefield 3 edition?

  8. Depends on your specific needs. do you overclock? have you three non displayport screens? is noise a primary factor?

  9. will not be overclocking, will only have 1 lcd tv connected using hdmi and yes noise is a primary factor. Basically Im after a stable and quiet setup.

  10. They are all great cards, so your shortlist is very good. If you arent overclocking, using a single screen, then save some money and get the dual fan sapphire board as the pricing should be the lowest.

  11. Can this card run Battlefield 3 on ultra settings?

  12. What resolution?