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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video Card
PowerColor Radeon 6970 Closer Look
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
Radeon HD 6970 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Conclusion

PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video Card Review

Featuring a 1536-Core Cayman GPU, AMD's Radeon HD 6970 competes against NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 470.

With the introduction of AMD's Cayman GPU, the Radeon HD 6870 video card becomes their flagship DirectX-11 desktop graphics product. Aside from the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970, gamers can expect the new Radeon HD 6970 to quench their thirst for demanding graphics power. The Cayman GPU features dual graphics engines with an asynchronous dispatch and off-chip geometry buffering to 96 tessellation units using a new VLIW4 shader core architecture. Equipped with a 2GB GDDR5 256-bit video buffer, the Cayman GPU can offer up to 24 SIMD engines and 96 Texture Units. Additionally, the AMD Radeon HD 6970 introduces several new MSAA modes including Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA).

The PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 takes advantage of improved anti-aliasing features to enhance the DirectX 11 gaming experience. PC gamers are looking for their best value for the money, while producing top-end frame rates to help them build a killstreak. AMD didn't set out to build the fastest graphics card imaginable, likely producing a product so expensive that only the most affluent enthusiasts could afford. Instead, the AMD Radeon HD 6970 was designed for the large majority of consumers, who want top-shelf performance at a fair price. While accomplishing this, they managed to also add accelerated multimedia playback and transcoding, AMD HD3D stereoscopic technology, and the 3D Blu-ray multi-view CODEC (MVC).

Benchmark Reviews tests graphical frame rate performance of the PowerColor AX6970 2GBD5-M2DH using the most demanding PC video game titles and benchmark software available. DirectX-10 favorites such as Crysis Warhead and PCMark Vantage are all included, in addition to DX11 titles such as Aliens vs Predator, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, BattleForge, Lost Planet 2, Mafia II, Metro 2033, and the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark. Built to deliver improved performance to the value-hungry mainstream gaming market, the PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 video card delivers top-end performance at a value-added price point.

PowerColor-Radeon-HD-6970-Video-Card-Review-Splash.jpg

According to information presented at the AMD Editor's Day event back on 14 October 2010, approximately 33% of all AMD graphics solutions are sold for the desktop platform with over 25-million Radeon DirectX-11 compatible products shipped to date. In many ways this data reinforces my position in the recent Desktop Platform article series, but it could also mean that manufacturers are listening ever more intently to the changing needs of their remaining consumer base. This doesn't always leave room for innovation, but AMD manages to introduce emerging technologies nevertheless.

For those who have been patiently waiting for news on ATI Stream technology, it's been re-tasked as AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing, or APP technology. AMD Eye-Definition represents their commitment to PC gamers, PC game developers, and the PC gaming industry. Through Eye-Definition AMD delivers their "Gamers Manifesto", which they assert will enable the best experience possible regardless of hardware manufacturer.

Manufacturer: PowerColor, a brand of TUL Corporation
Product Name: Radeon HD 6970
Model Number: AX6970 2GBD5-M2DH
Suggested Tested: $369.99 at NewEgg

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by PowerColor.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardHarry 2010-12-14 21:16
Where is the 3D Mark 11 benchmark?
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# RE: RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardOlin Coles 2010-12-14 21:23
Many sites aren't using 3DMark11 until after it receives approval from both NVIDIA and AMD. We're not using it until we re-test every single DX11 video card to determine what settings would be best. Just so you know, a GeForce GTX 580 barely produces 30 FPS using the medium test quality at 720p.
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# 3DMark 11 SLIServando Silva 2010-12-14 23:17
Additionally, 3DMark 11 has no support for SLI setups, so I'll wait for it to evolve with a newer patch.
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# RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardRobert17 2010-12-15 02:38
Good work. Seems like the GPU wars continue to the consumers advantage. Thanks for baring the numbers and eliminating the wait.

I guess AMD will launch all new products when 32nm becomes available. Any insider clue on when that may occur?
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# PoV's client sideresere 2010-12-15 05:33
i'm not working, drinking, family friend for none involved: nV, AMD, BmR.
sometimes i'm pissed of by Coles style: involved, passionate, stubborn.
BUT: the alternative are all kind of high priests, gurus (no, it's not an arrow to g3D) who made definitive verdicts, and then, never come down in the crowd, or patronise everyone.
so, i've made my choise.
I respect Olin Coles and bmr, with goods, bads and uglies. I admit there is room for better, but i agree with the path.

Don't bother answer, just think about. and this is not a sugestion for calm and harmony. i like creative flames. but assumed by everyone.
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# oh, andresere 2010-12-15 05:40
still hate BmR for not including GTX 460 SLI in results. but i'll live with.
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# RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardChris 2010-12-15 06:25
Olin, do you think that drivers on this GPU are optimized?

It seems that in some games, this GPU outperforms the GTX 470 and in other games, well, this card has really bad performance. I appreciate the work that you've done, but I suspect that a second review may be needed once the public release version comes out.

Otherwise, it seems that little has changed. Nvidia has the very expensive, very high performance single card GPU, and ATI/AMD has a slower card that is less expensive and comparable to Nvidia's second most potent card - kind of like the GTX 275 vs the 4890 situation, where Nvidia had the 285 that was untouchable for any single-card solution.
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# Decisions,....RealNeil 2010-12-15 07:42
I've been waiting for this release to decide on my purchase of two video cards to run in CrossFire or SLI. The HD-6970 doesn't seem to be anything earth shattering when I read the review here. I had already all but decided on a pair of EVGA Superclocked GTX570's for my new build, but was waiting for this much talked about release, just in case ATI/AMD had a 'Rabbit In Their Hat', so to speak.
Although the HD6970 is a truly capable card, the GTX570 is too, and it also has a few capabilities that the ATI/AMD card does not. (CUDA & Phys-X)
So now I can just go ahead and buy my parts.
Thanks for the comprehensive review.
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# I AgreeBunzing 2010-12-16 07:32
RealNeil, I feel totaly the same. The benchmarks for the 570 were verry positive and when you look at the extra features of CUDA and Phys-X this card doesn't hold up one bit. I'm going for nVidia for the first time in years.
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# RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardBunzing 2010-12-16 07:34
Wow, I just found a Sapphire 5970 for ?400,- (live in the Netherlands). What would you guys do? I'm going for a single-card setup.
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# RE: RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardOlin Coles 2010-12-16 08:13
What does a GTX 570 cost in the Netherlands?
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# RE: RE: RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardBunzing 2010-12-24 23:35
The GTX 570 costs 330,- at the moment.
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# RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardBunzing 2010-12-16 07:52
I mean euro's. The euro symbol doesn't appear as it should.
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# RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2010-12-16 09:41
novatech have a Radeon 5970 for £414.99 and a GTX 570 for £309.99 and a GTX 580 for £399.95 (all including VAT) I know what I would do...
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# RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video Card3DVagabond 2010-12-24 17:41
I love when people look at a review of an AMD card then start spouting PhysX and CUDA. CUDA can be very useful, but give me a break. If you need CUDA you aren't going to waste your time looking at AMD cards. You are just tossing it around like nVidia wants. Say it enough times and people will decide they have to have it. PhsyX? Well, nobody needs PhysX. It's less than useless. It just kills frame rates for little to no benefit.

If you need CUDA, use apps. that take advantage of it, then get an nVidia card and stop thread crapping in AMD reviews.

If you want to play games and you are a fan of the tech then AMD might be your choice. Smaller more efficient designs that take advantage of newer faster RAM and aim to push performance/$, multi-monitor gaming, etc.
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# RE: RE: PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video CardOlin Coles 2010-12-24 19:28
I disagree with your rather unsupported claims against PhysX. It sure looks like it adds more the enough to warrant its use here:
benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=582&Itemid=64&limit=1&limitstart=4

As for your last statement, I've got to wonder where you've been. Smaller and more efficient - what product are you talking about here? Newer and faster RAM - both vendors have been using the same GDDR5 for almost a year.
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# Crossfire MasterHenkenator68NL 2011-01-27 18:28
I have checked all results, it would have been nice if the 6970 would have been compared against 2 x 6870 in crossfire.
Ik have this setup and al benchmark results of the 6870 in crosfire are better than the 6970 results. So my advice: buy 2 6870 and put them in crossfire mode!!
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