|AMD Radeon HD 6970 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 15 December 2010|
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AMD Radeon 6970 Closer Look
Aside from a few decals, the AMD Radeon HD 6970 video card is identical to the reference design by AMD. While some consumers may want more flash for their cash, the conservative appearance helps maintain an affordable sales price.
AMD's Radeon HD 6900-series video cards already look very similar to the previous generation of 6800 and 5800-series products. In fact, of the few discernable differences only the connection header panel, which can add an additional DisplayPort monitor output (if the vendor implements this feature), and the closed rear section. AMD implements dual mini-DisplayPort 1.2 outputs on their 6970, unlike the Sapphire version we recently tested which used a single DP connection.
While there are still two digital DVI ports available on the AMD Radeon HD 6970, only one of them is dual-link to support AMD HD3D while the other is reduced to single-link. AMD's HD3D technology currently supports only one 3D display, with plans for multi-monitor 3D available in the future.
Identical to AMD's reference design, the AMD Radeon HD 6970 measures 10.5" inches long, by 1.25" tall and 3.75" wide. This video card measures slightly shorter than the 11" long Radeon HD 5870, but longer than the 9.75" Radeon HD 6870. Ironically, it measures exactly the same dimensions as its closest competitor: NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 570.
One particular item I've been hoping for is a focused blower fan orientation. This design angles the blower fan slightly downward to improve the forward force of air and creates a small separation between adjacent video cards. CrossFire configurations could benefit by such a design, as the competition has done to tame their much warmer products for several generations now.
The AMD Radeon HD 6970 requires an 8-pin and 6-pin PCI-Express power connection for normal operation. AMD suggests the TDP power demands are 190 watts normal use or 250W using PowerTune for the Cayman GPU, although we confirm this with our own power testing discussed later near the end of this article.
With the Radeon HD 6970 cool air is drawn from directly above the blower fan, while exhaust is expelled through the bracket vent and a small side outlet (shown above, far right) that allows a portion of the heated air back inside the computer case. AMD's Radeon HD 6870 lacks any cool air intake vents at the tail end of the video card, behind the blower fan. As a result, gamers with CrossFireX sets must ensure proper cooling inside their computer case for these video cards to receive fresh air.