This is a killer card! Sure, we're dealing with the SOC version of the new GTX 560 Ti, but it puts out some unreal results and while it carries a slightly larger price tag than the reference one at $269, the performance it offers means that the card still has no problem topping the TPR charts.
The big question is, how does AMD come back against this? You've got a card that really offers HD 6970 performance, at HD 6870 prices. We know the company can't offer a HD 6930; the bottom line is it wouldn't sell as we know the "30" naming scheme doesn't work, much like the "768MB" version of the GTX 460.
The problem isn't so much what AMD does with the HD 6950 price, but what they do with the HD 6970 price. The problem is, NVIDIA have kind of done what they did with the GTX 460. When that was released, to really combat AMD and hit them hard with performance and price, they sacrificed the GTX 465. The model literally disappeared overnight.
They've done something similar with the GTX 560; not quite as severe, though, in this case. To fight AMD they've really hurt the GTX 570s overall value. The GTX 580 which looks slightly worse in value now, while not great, is irrelevant, because it's still the fastest single GPU card on the market.
The big problem for AMD is that they've got a card priced around one level, but competes against a card two levels higher. If the GTX 560 Ti and HD 6950 went at it, then a price drop on the HD 6950 to help square out the value would be an easy option while leaving the HD 6970 alone. Really, though, the HD 6970 and GTX 560 Ti are very close to each other.
Of course, you can flash that HD 6950 to a HD 6970 at the moment it seems, and there seems to be very little risk. At the same time, flashing a card is a level higher than just overclocking and it's something that people are going to be less confident in doing.
NVIDIA took us down the path of memory lane by bring back that "Ti" tag, AMD might have to go to the drawing board and bring us a HD 6950 XT and HD 6970 XT to replace the current cards, as it seems like a $50 price drop on both models would do nothing but pi** AMD buyers off.
You do have to wonder a bit how NVIDIA are going with the profit margins on these cards, as it seems like a lot of performance for the price. Is it just another sacrifice they're making for the moment, though, so the company can gain back the momentum they had in early 2009.
It doesn't matter how you look at it, though, you've got a card priced at $269 that offers us a default clock of 1000MHz, great temperatures and noise levels, but more importantly, awesome performance that really paints a strong picture when it comes to our "Total Value Rating" graph.
AMD have improved tessellation performance and Crossfire scaling is excellent; the problem is NVIDIA continue to slightly have the edge in tessellation, and SLI scaling has always been better, where now it's just even. NVIDIA haven't gotten worse; it's just that AMD have gotten better, and to be honest, neither company can improve it really with 100% gains not being all that uncommon.
The problem is when you look at the GTX 560 Ti SOC and ask yourself what this card can do to make you buy it over the competition? A very small percentage of people would say 'offer the ability to run three screens off the card'. On the other hand, if you ask yourself what can the HD 6900 series do to make me buy it over the competition? The first thing that comes to mind is 'be cheaper'.
At $100 more, the HD 6970 is in trouble. At $20 - $30 more than the GTX 560 Ti SOC, it would seem that the HD 6950 is also in trouble. It would seem the ball is clearly in AMDs court; now we have to see how they respond.