Feature Articles

AMD Radeon HD 6970 & HD 6950 CrossFireX Performance Analysis

By Kenny Yeo - 21 Dec 2010

Radeon HD 6900 CrossFireX Performance Analysis

Running Caymen in CrossFire

After a month long delay, AMD’s latest and fastest single GPU offerings are finally here. Codenamed Cayman, the Radeon HD 6900 series is presently made up of the Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950 and boasts a couple of improvements such as a next-generation tessellation unit and a new VLIW4 core design over the Radeon HD 6800 series that was launched in late October.

To be honest, we found the new Radeon HD 6900 series cards to be slightly underwhelming in view of AMD’s recent hits. Although tessellation performance has been improved, the new cards weren’t that much faster than the old Radeon HD 5870 - ATI/AMD’s previous fastest single GPU card. To compound matters, NVIDIA has made substantial improvements to their Fermi cards, enabling better performance and power and thermal characteristics. To get to speed on the Radeon HD 6900 series, we highly suggest checking out our full review here.

Combined, these four cards (a pair of 6970 and a pair of 6950), we have on test a total of 5888 cores and close to 10 teraFLOPS of pure computing power. Well, we wish we could run them all in a four-way CrossFireX configuration, but we'll just have to make do with pairs for now.

In true HardwareZone tradition, we’ll be following up our review of the Radeon HD 6900 series by taking a look at how the new cards perform in a 2-way CrossFireX configuration.

Test Setup

To evaluate the new Radeon HD 6900 series in a 2-way CrossFireX configuration, we’ll be using our X58 setup which has the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i7-975 (3.33GHz)
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard
  • 3 x 1GB DDR3-1333 G.Skill memory in triple channel mode
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

The full list of cards tested and driver version used are as follows:

  • AMD Radeon HD 6970 2GB GDDR5 (2-way CrossFireX) (Catalyst 10.11)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6950 2GB GDDR5 (2-way CrossFireX) (Catalyst 10.11)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6970 2GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.11)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6950 2GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.11)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 1280MB GDDR5 (2-way SLI) (ForceWare 263.09)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 1280MB GDDR5 (ForceWare 263.09)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 1560MB GDDR5 (ForceWare 262.99)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5970 2GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.9)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB GDDR5 (2-way CrossFireX) (Catalyst 10.10)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5 (2-way CrossFireX) (Catalyst 10.9)

The list of benchmarks used:

  • Futuremark 3DMark 11
  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
  • Crysis Warhead
  • Far Cry 2
  • Warhammer: Dawn of War 2
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2
  • “Heaven" from Unigine v2.1
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat


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