|PowerColor PCS+ HD6950 Vortex II|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 23 May 2011|
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Closer Look: PowerColor PCS+ HD6950
The PCS+ HD6950 Vortex II edition comes with a quick installation guide, a CD with drivers and copies of the manual in several languages, a CrossFireX bridge, a DVI-VGA adapter, and a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable. The reference design Radeon HD6950 is a fairly boring-looking card: a large black rectangle whose only concession to visual interest is a red axial fan. The PowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD6950 Vortex II Edition, on the other hand, looks like a prop from a science fiction movie.
With a bright red PCB, a black and red cooler, and four shiny heat pipes erupting from the top of the card, it certainly stands out visually. It's really too bad that much of this won't be visible even in a windowed case! The cooler uses four 8mm heat pipes to distribute the GPU's thermal load.
The back of the card offers a clearer view of the four heat pipes. Until recently, cards with 2GB of memory would have memory chips mounted to the back of the board, but with modern high density memory, this isn't necessary.
The heat pipes branch out into an array of aluminum fins that cover the length of the card. Note the copper heat plate that contacts the GPU die. There is no direct contact with the memory chips, although the ones near the back of the card are directly under a fan. The memory chips at the top of the card are above the copper contact plate and won't receive much air.
From the front of the cooling mechanism we can see the two 92mm fans that provide the cooling air. This is a common design for enhanced video card coolers, and while the dual fans provide a lot of airflow, they also blow a lot of hot air inside your case. You might be wondering what those extended triangular red fins on the fan shrouds are for...we'll get to that later.
The video outputs are the standard Radeon HD6950 fare: two DVI ports, a standard HDMI 1.4 connector, and two mini-DisplayPort connectors. The top DVI connector in this image is a single-link connector, something to be aware of should you be plugging this card into a 30" monitor. By using both mini-DisplayPort connectors, the HDMI connector, and one of the DVI connectors, you can run four monitors directly from this card.
Now let's take a look at some of the components on this card.