Feature Articles

AMD Radeon HD 6970 & HD 6950 - Cayman Arrives!

By Kenny Yeo - 15 Dec 2010

Temperature, Power Consumption & Overclocking


NVIDIA has made great improvements in terms of cooling by introducing a custom design vapor chamber cooler to their new GeForce GTX 580 and GTX 570, and this has brought down operating temperatures of their new cards by a considerable degree. The Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950 are not cool cards by any means but at least they are still manageable with the Radeon HD 6970 coming in at 77 degrees Celsius when measuring core temperatures, while the Radeon HD 6950 is slightly cooler at 74 degrees Celsius. Definitely an improvement over the Radeon HD 5870, but not convincing against the NVIDIA GTX 570 when you take the performance potential into consideration.


Power Consumption

The previous generation Evergreen cards were renowned for their power efficiency, but AMD seems to have let up slightly with the Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950. The Radeon HD 6970, especially, was quite disappointing. Not only was it trounced by the GeForce GTX 570 in most of the benchmarks, it’s power draw figures were only slightly lower than the GeForce GTX 570. It would be an understatement to say that we expected better from the Radeon HD 6970. The Radeon HD 6950 fared much better, even though it was marginally faster than the old Radeon HD 5870, it still managed slightly lower readings.

Also, note that these tests were carried without PowerTune technology as the option wasn't available in our driver set. We will investigate the effects of PowerTune in a future article.



It’s early days for the Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950, but we managed to get them up to pretty respectable levels. The trusty Overdrive overclocking utility that usually comes with Catalyst was missing for us, so we used MSI's popular overclocking utility for this test. And with the Radeon HD 6970, we managed to it up to 950MHz at the core and 5700MHz DDR, giving us 11512 3DMarks - an improvement of 5%. As for the Radeon HD 6950, we successfully got it to run stably at 920MHz at the core and 5200MHz DDR, which gave us 10415 3DMarks - an improvement of 11%.

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