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XFX HD6970 3-way CFx & HD6950 CFx review

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.

Rating: 9.0.

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  • opensourceboy

    Wow this is incredible performance levels, price isnt bad either. cant believe the test 2 is delivering the same levels of performance as the XFX black edition 5970s in crossfire X. thats really interesting !

  • sam

    I think these are good boards, even though a lot of people will be disappointed with the fact the 580 is still leading the single card attack

  • eric

    CFX x 3 is awesome . blown away by the frame rates its generating. Noise might not suit everyone though :p

  • luke

    The price is the biggest selling point. I dont think they are the performance killers we expected, but the 280 price for the 6970 means its actually only 30 more than the 5850 was at launch. thats quite a good figure for them to achieve. I think they are doing what they do against intel in the CPU sector. drop pricing as low as poss.

  • Tri Color

    Way to go, lol Crossfire in x3. thats a nice addition. XFX seem to love Kitguru. scaling is good in some of the games, but not so good in others. unigine at 133 fps caught my eye. mental

  • KoRn

    That was brilliant read. loads of testing and AMD have made a rockin card. the 6950 seems to be really well price positioned. cFx3 was fun, thanks

  • Seth

    Nice work Zardon, get some sleep, too much for one man 🙂

  • fluffychicken

    Shit on a stick. CF x 3 is awesome. ill be sitting here green with envy, knowing I was shovelling snow from my driveway while I knew you were playing games with that setup

  • John

    I wasnt expecting 3 way CFx to work so sun out of the gate. that should really kick nvidai in the nuts. im all for that.

  • Tim

    Hey zardon if you are finished with the 40 cards you have can you send a few my way for a long term loaner? 🙂

  • Roger

    Many people seem disappointed about the fact the 580 is still the performance king.

    What about the price? 420 quid for a graphics card? its 140 quid more than the 6970. no thanks.

  • Long Flow

    The bundle needs to be better. We need to start getting converters for 3 screens. mini displayport? no monitor supports that as far as I know apart from apple. a big converter cable like powercolor offer would be much better than anything else ive seen. No more Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2’s please, everyone has this game, years ago. Seems odd that no partners are selling these with better 3 screen out of the box suppotr. cables, converters etc.

  • Tech Head

    @ Long Flow. I think you need to realise that about 0.5 percent of the potential audience have more than one screen, regardless of what AMD try to push. I agree in theory though, its hard to sell 3 screen cards if you need converters etc, as well as a displayport monitor. Sapphire should sell a flex gaming edition, that would sell bucketloads. Something more powerful than a 5770 !

  • Roth

    over 100c in 3 way sli. They need to put the slots further apart in some motherboards for this. three cards in 3 way generate such heat and its pushed into the cards beside. Love the performance, but the noise and temps would put me off immediately. dual CFx though for certain. ill probably get two 6950’s in Cfx in the new year.

  • Dave

    These are really great cards. I dont care for a 430 quid board, 220 quid for the 6950 though? yes please !

  • Colin

    I think that most enthusiast gamers will stretch to £300 for a board, putting the 570 and 6970 in the top end for most people. id like to see the followup with 570 against 6970. the three monitor support is a selling point, ive already two screens, one more is only 130 quid. if I want this with 570 I need another card. nvidia are lagging here. but I prefer their drivers. no idea what to buy now 🙁

  • Franks

    awesome work , those are mega cards. need to sell my dog to get some.