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Written by David Ramsey   
Sunday, 22 May 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
PowerColor PCS+ HD6950 Vortex II
Closer Look: PowerColor PCS HD6950
PCS HD6950 Detailed Features
Features and Specifications
Unlocking Extra Shaders
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX11: 3DMark 11
DX11: Aliens vs. Predator
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.5
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
PCS HD6950 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
Vortex II Edition Overclocking
AMD Radeon HD6950 Final Thoughts
AX6950 2GBD5-PPV Conclusion

Radeon PCS+ 6950 Vortex II Features

AMD's new generation GPUs were launched with the Radeon 5000 series cards in September, 2009, and were the first to feature DirectX 11 support. AMD ruled the video card performance roost until NVIDIA's introduction of the GTX480, and the two companies have continued trading marketing and technological blows since then. It's always interesting to look at the performance of the very top-end video cards, but the truth is that unless you're running a multi-monitor systems at insane resolutions, you can get more than enough performance from most mid-range cards...and AMD and NVIDIA probably sell dozens of cards in this class for every HD6990 and GTX580. Here's the complete feature and specification list from PowerColor:

  • Up to 850MHz Engine Clock
  • 2GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 1300MHz Memory Clock (5.2 Gbps GDDR5)
  • 160 GB/s memory bandwidth (maximum)
  • 2.7/ 2.25 TFLOPs Single Precision compute power
  • 562.5 GFLOPs Double Precision compute power
  • Double slot form factor
  • TeraScale 3 Unified Processing Architecture
    • 1408 Stream Processors
    • 88 Texture Units
    • 128 Z/Stencil ROP Units
    • 32 Color ROP Units
  • High Speed 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface
  • PCI Express 2.1 x16 bus interface
  • "Eye-Definition" graphics
    • New and advanced architecture
      • Full DirectX 11 support
      • Scalable geometry processing technology
      • Shader Model 5.0
      • DirectCompute 11
      • Dual advanced programmable hardware tessellation units
      • Accelerated multi-threading
      • HDR texture compression
      • Order-independent transparency
    • OpenGL 4.1 support
    • Image quality enhancement technology
      • Up to 24x multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing modes
      • Adaptive anti-aliasing
      • Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA)
      • Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA)
      • 16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
      • 128-bit floating point HDR rendering
  • AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology
    • Native support for up to 4 simultaneous displays
      • Up to 6 displays supported with DisplayPort 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport
    • Independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays
    • Display grouping
      • Combine multiple displays to behave like a single large display
  • AMD EyeSpeed visual acceleration
    • AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology
      • OpenCL 1.1 Support
      • DirectCompute 11
      • Double Precision Floating Point
      • Accelerated video encoding, transcoding, and upscaling
    • UVD 3 dedicated video playback accelerator
      • MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
      • VC-1
      • MPEG-2 (SD & HD)
      • Multi-View Codec (MVC)
      • MPEG-4 part 2 (DivX, Xvid)
      • Adobe Flash
    • Enhanced Video Quality features
      • Advanced post-processing and scaling
      • Dynamic contrast enhancement and color correction
      • Brighter whites processing (Blue Stretch)
      • Independent video gamma control
      • Dynamic video range control
    • Dual-stream HD (1080p) playback support
    • DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support
  • AMD HD3D technology
    • Stereoscopic 3D display/glasses support
    • Blu-ray 3D support
    • Stereoscopic 3D gaming
    • 3rd party Stereoscopic 3D middleware software support
  • AMD CrossFireXT multi-GPU technology
    • Dual, triple or quad-GPU scaling
  • Cutting-edge integrated display support
    • DisplayPort 1.2
      • Max resolution: 2560x1600 per display
      • Multi-Stream Transport
      • 21.6 Gbps bandwidth
      • High bit-rate audio
    • HDMI 1.4a with Stereoscopic 3D Frame Packing Format, Deep Color, xvYCC wide gamut support, and high bit-rate audio
      • Max resolution: 1920x1200
    • Dual-link DVI with HDCP
      • Max resolution: 2560x1600
    • VGA
      • Max resolution: 2048x1536
  • Integrated HD audio controller
    • Output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI with no additional cables required
    • Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio formats
  • AMD PowerPlay power management technology
    • AMD PowerTune technology
      • Intelligent power management hardware
    • Dynamic power management with low power idle state
      • Ultra-low power state support for multi-GPU configurations
  • AMD Catalyst graphics and HD video configuration software
    • Software support for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
    • AMD Catalyst Control Center - AMD Catalyst software application and user interface for setup, configuration, and accessing features of AMD Radeon products.
    • Unified Graphics display driver - AMD Catalyst software enabling other PC programs and devices to use advanced graphics, video, and features of AMD Radeon products.



 

Comments 

 
# unlockingRealNeil 2011-05-23 08:32
You mentioned in the CONS section that you Couldn't unlock the extra shaders on this card.
Are there still new Radeon HD6950 cards out there that will unlock? I recall reading somewhere that a newer upcoming design would prevent that.
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# RE: PowerColor PCS+ HD6950 Vortex IIDavid Ramsey 2011-05-23 09:07
I'm sure there are, Neil, but I couldn't tell you wish specific ones are known to unlock. Even if a specific model from a specific vendor has unlocked in the past, there's no guarantee current stock will do this.
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# RE: PowerColor PCS+ HD6950 Vortex IIRory 2011-05-24 04:54
Great review thanks, and a small suggestion if I may...
We see a lot of reviews of these aftermarket OC editions on BMR.com (like the powercolor Vortex range and MSi with their Hawk and Lightning variants etc) But they are always pitted against the stock standard cards - or at best older and inferior cards in a crossfire/sli config.
This is useful of course, but the enthusiast in me would love to see a battle royale pitting the best OC variants from Powercolor, MSi, Gigabyte and co. 'Head to Head' to see who makes the best variant of the HD6950 &/or the GTX560ti
Just a thought :)
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# RE: RE: PowerColor PCS+ HD6950 Vortex IIOlin Coles 2011-05-24 08:29
Those stock-clocked products serve as a baseline, since there are numerous overclock models that add 1-10% more speed. It would be very difficult to compare all of the models, which is why we include our own overclock results to show how much of an impact overclocking has on FPS performance.
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# Voltage setting for this OC.Rock_n_Rolla 2011-05-25 02:15
Just want to ask, since this Powercolor 6950 Vortex II has a very nice cooling system capable of cooling the card set on high settings like you did, can we know how many millivolts you added based from its stock voltage? And, How long you tested this clock setting based on the applications you used in order for you to get the percentage???
Also, as you perform your tests, have you experience any hangs or crash?

A friend of mine is serious about buying this PC6850 2gig Vortex 2 card
although he's not into researching much about it on the internet for its real potential, perhaps this might be a good time to ask you so
i could tell him about the settings you used so he could used it on his
when he bought the card. And, if possible if you have tested the card
set to a much higher settings than the one you posted (930mhz and 1370mhz on memory) could you post it here including the voltage settings
and the performance it gained in percentage based from the stock. Thanks and God bless!
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# RE: Voltage setting for this OC.David Ramsey 2011-05-25 09:09
Actually, I didn't have to bump the voltage at all, although (as noted in the review) I did use AMD Overdrive to increase the maximum permitted current draw on the card.

I did not have any hangs or crashes with the overclocked settings I used as long as I kept the fans running full blast. If I left the fans on "Auto", the card would not complete most of the benchmarks when overclocked.

The overclock I achieved was exceptionally high for a 6950. I would not expect most examples to be able to overclock this well. Luck of the draw and all that.

The performance improvement using the overclocked settings is not only noted in each benchmark test, but summarized in a table at the end of the benchmarking section.
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# Screwlaxo 2011-12-13 00:00
hi, do you happen to know what kind/type of screw (the 4 screws that connects the heat sink fan/cooler to the pcb) that this card has? my other one is loose, and may have loose its thread for some reason. the card itself is fine, dont want to RMA just because of one screw acting up, any inputs from anyone will be highly appreciated. thanks in advance.
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# RE: ScrewDavid Ramsey 2011-12-13 07:57
No, sorry. I'd suggest removing one screw and taking it to a hardware or hobby store to see if they have something similar.
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# RE: RE: Screwlaxo 2011-12-13 16:29
Hi David, thanks for the prompt response, will do just that but I bet I'll have a hard time looking for those types. anyways I tried removing one of the screws and guess what, the 2nd one chipped on me, the screw head broke in to two. I know how gentle you need to be on this tiny screws but the build quality is just annoying. you might want to put that in your review, to be careful with the screws, Thanks again.
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# RE: RE: RE: ScrewDavid Ramsey 2011-12-13 16:45
That's annoying as hell...but I was able to remove and replace the cooler on my card without any problems...
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Screwlaxo 2011-12-13 17:05
As much as I would like to think that these screws are a bad batch, its just insane. anyways I tried to squeeze the chipped screw head with my thumb and my pointer finger and guess what it broke again, now I have a quarter of the screw head, for some reason, I don't know why this happened, the only problem that I had with this card is I had my temp idle on 60C and load at 98C on BF3 ultra settings. so I tried to investigate and got to the loose screw, and no replies from power color if I can have a set of screws, my temps are normal right now. I just need the screws.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: ScrewDavid Ramsey 2011-12-13 17:13
I guarantee you those are not custom screws made for that specific card. Again, try a hobby shop or hardware store. Worse case you could get an entire new third party cooler...
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Screwlaxo 2011-12-13 17:28
will do just that, thanks again!
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