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AMD Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950 Review

Author: Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig
Date: December 14, 2010
Product Name: AMD Radeon HD 6970 / HD 6950
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Core Temperature & Acoustics


For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at it highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Windows 7 desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.



Considering AMD added a good portion of size to their GPU die in order to create the HD 6900-series, low temperatures on both cards were definitely a welcome surprise. However, it should be mentioned that while both cards would never be heard above the normal din of gaming, the HD 6970 was (subjectively) slightly louder than other GPUs we have tested recently.


System Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.


Power consumption for the HD 6970 is quite good when compared to the GTX 400-series products but it does loose out to NVIDIA’s newer GF110-based products. The HD 6950 meanwhile also pushes the upper limits of what we have come to expect from a second generation DX11 card. It should be mentioned though that AMD does give you the option to reduce these consumption numbers through their PowerTune technology though this will cause framerate drops as we will see on the next page.
 
 
 

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