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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

VGA Testing Methodology

The Microsoft DirectX-11 graphics API is native to the Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System, and will be the primary O/S for our test platform. DX11 is also available as a Microsoft Update for the Windows Vista O/S, so our test results apply to both versions of the Operating System. The majority of benchmark tests used in this article are comparative to DX11 performance, however some high-demand DX10 tests have also been included.

According to the Steam Hardware Survey published for the month ending September 2010, the most popular gaming resolution is 1280x1024 (17-19" standard LCD monitors). However, because this 1.31MP resolution is considered 'low' by most standards, our benchmark performance tests concentrate on higher-demand resolutions: 1.76MP 1680x1050 (22-24" widescreen LCD) and 2.30MP 1920x1200 (24-28" widescreen LCD monitors). These resolutions are more likely to be used by high-end graphics solutions, such as those tested in this article.

In each benchmark test there is one 'cache run' that is conducted, followed by five recorded test runs. Results are collected at each setting with the highest and lowest results discarded. The remaining three results are averaged, and displayed in the performance charts on the following pages.

A combination of synthetic and video game benchmark tests have been used in this article to illustrate relative performance among graphics solutions. Our benchmark frame rate results are not intended to represent real-world graphics performance, as this experience would change based on supporting hardware and the perception of individuals playing the video game.

Intel X58-Express Test SystemRadeon-HD-6970-GPUZ.gif

DirectX-10 Benchmark Applications

  • 3DMark Vantage v1.02
    • Extreme Settings: (Extreme Quality, 8x Multisample Anti-Aliasing, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, 1:2 Scale)
  • Crysis Warhead v1.1 with HOC Benchmark
    • Moderate Settings: (Very High Quality, 4x AA, 16x AF, Airfield Demo)

DirectX-11 Benchmark Applications

  • Aliens vs Predator Benchmark 1.0
    • Extreme Settings: (Very High Quality, 4x AA, 16x AF, SSAO, Tessellation, Advanced Shadows)
  • BattleField: Bad Company 2
    • Extreme Settings: (Highest Quality, HBAO, 8x AA, 16x AF, 180s Fraps Single-Player Intro Scene)
  • BattleForge v1.2
    • Extreme Settings: (Very High Quality, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Auto Multi-Thread)
  • Lost Planet 2 Benchmark 1.0
    • Moderate Settings: (2x AA, Low Shadow Detail, High Texture, High Render, High DirectX 11 Features)
  • Mafia II
    • Extreme Settings: (Antialiasing, 16x AF, High Shadow Quality, High Detail, High Geometry, Ambient Occlusion)
  • Metro 2033
    • Moderate Settings: (Very-High Quality, AAA, 16x AF, Advanced DoF, Tessellation, 180s Fraps Chase Scene)
  • Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 Benchmark 1.0.4
    • Extreme Settings: (Maximum Quality, 8x AA, 16x AF, DX11 Terrain Tessellation)
  • Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
    • Moderate Settings: (High Quality, Normal Tessellation, 16x AF, 4x AA)

Video Card Test Products

Graphics Card GeForce GTX460 Radeon HD5850 Radeon HD6870 GeForce GTX470 Radeon HD5870 Radeon HD6970 GeForce GTX570 GeForce GTX580
GPU Cores 336 1440 1120 448 1600 1536 480 512
Core Clock (MHz) 675 725 900 608 850 880 732 772
Shader Clock (MHz) 1350 N/A N/A 1215 N/A N/A 1464 1544
Memory Clock (MHz) 900 1000 1050 837 1200 1375 950 1002
Memory Amount 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1280MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 2048MB GDDR5 1280MB GDDR5 1536MB GDDR5
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 320-bit 256-bit 256-bit 320-bit 384-bit



 

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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