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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition OC
Closer Look: MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III
MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC Details
Features and Specifications
VGA Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Street Fighter IV
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Tom Clancy's HAWX 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC Overclocking

Before I start overclocking I like to get a little bit of information, firstly I like to establish operating temperatures and since we know these are nice and low we can quickly move on. Next I like to know what the voltage and clock limits are, so I fired up the bundled MSI Afterburner utility. I established that vCore was adjustable between 0.825v and 1.350v and clock speeds were limited to 900MHz max on the GPU and 1325MHz (5.3GHz effective) maximum frequency for the memory. As I stated in my intro, there isn't much an AIB partner can do with a 6950 GPU overclocking wise without eating into sales of their HD6970 stock. The only downside to this is that you will have to try to unlock your HD6950 to get additional overclocking headroom and performance. Tweaking this particular card wasn't difficult, my preferred weapons are MSI Afterburner (v2.2.0 Beta 3) for fine tuning while using FurMark (v1.9.0) to push the GPU.


The GPU-Z screenshot above serves as a reminder of the temperatures and speed the MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition OC video card at its default settings. Raising the GPU and memory to their maximum values of 900MHz GPU and 1325MHz Memory didn't require any voltage increase whatsoever, the only way you can get more headroom in afterburner is by unlocking the card to a 6970. I made a commitment in my MSI GTX 560Ti Hawk article to revisit overclocking and I also fully intend to try unlocking this video card to a 6970 and re-asses it's performance. Keep your ear to the ground for an article exploring the full potential of these GPU's in the near future.

Test Item Standard GPU/RAM Overclocked GPU/RAM Improvement
GeForce GTX550-Ti OC 850/1300 MHz 900/1325 MHz 50/25 MHz
DX10: 3dMark Jane Nash 35.38 37.06 1.67 FPS (4.72%)
DX10: 3dMark Calico 26.12 27.14

1.01 FPS (3.87%)

DX10: Street Fighter IV 140.15 143.30 3.15 FPS (2.24%)
DX11: Aliens vs Predator 42.73 44.60 1.86 FPS (4.36%)
DX11: Battlefield BC2 68.16 70.84

2.67 FPS (3.91%)

DX11: Metro 2033 30.57 31.58 1.01 FPS (3.29%)
DX11: HAWX 2 79 83 4 FPS (5.06%)
DX11: Battle Forge 42.73 44.50 1.76 FPS (4.13%)
DX11: Heaven 2.1 37.13 40.02

2.88 FPS (7.77%)

With a 50MHz GPU overclock (100MHz over reference design) and a 25MHz memory overclock (75MHz over reference design) we went back to the bench and ran through the entire test suite. Overall there is an average 4.56% increase in scores (at 1920x1080 resolution). We also re ran temperature tests at the overclocked speeds at the same ambient temperature of 28°C, and saw only a 1°C increase in GPU temperature.

That's all of the testing over for now, in the next section I will deliver my final thoughts and conclusion.



# "Not the quietest?"ehume 2011-05-24 17:45
I would be interested to know what the quietest video card is, on a model to model basis. For example, what is the quietest 560 running full out? The quietest 6870? Etc.

A lot of us are making quiet machines. The noisiest parts are our gpu's. And I'm not ready to go fanless yet.
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# RE: "Not the quietest?"Pinakio 2011-05-24 22:57
May be this is what you're looking for-XFX HD 6870 Black ( This one seems to have excellent acoustic properties.
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# Silent 6850Austin Downing 2011-05-24 18:27
Ehume you may want to look at the passively cooled Powercolor 6850.
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# Re:MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition OC Video CardPinakio 2011-05-24 23:24
AMD should take some notes from Nvidia's page. HD6950 has so much potential (leaving alone the unlocking/flashing to 6970), yet board partners can't tweak it to their heart's content without cannibalizing the sell of HD6970 - a real shame! Look at those custom clocked 560-ti cards, it's hard to find a reference one now days. Similarly every non-reference 6950 2GB should come out with at least 900Mhz at the gpu core.

*You guys @BMR seem to be on a roll with these hot video card reviews, keep it that way:)
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# RE: MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition OCMike Cannon 2011-05-24 23:32
I'm waiting for Aussie prices to drop, but it might help if I knew whether AMD and Nvidia, both, are equal in heat, power use and decibels, to each other for performance output.
We can Google and find info, but usually the tests are from different testers on different machines, rendering the tests irrelevant.
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