I find myself pleasantly surprised with what Sapphire is offering here today. For starters, when I got the card I didn't even think I'd be reviewing it because it was going to be nothing more than a HD 6950 we've tested with Dirt 3 included. Checking out the Sapphire website, though, it was nice to see that the model had something different going on outside of just the extra bundle. Instead Sapphire had opted to install a new cooler on the card.
It would've been nice to see Sapphire overclock the card a little out of the box just to make it a bit more interesting, but more so because of the quality of the cooler. Not only does the card run extremely cool, but it runs extremely quiet, and that's with our slight little overclock. For that reason it would've been nice to see Sapphire bump the clocks up a little.
Outside of the cooler, Sapphire has managed to put a good bundle together with the inclusion of Dirt 3 via a voucher along with a full size HDMI cable. Throw in the quality of the cooler and you've got a really nice HD 6950.
While the HD 6950 has been around for a while now, we're seeing the card more and more here with companies to really begin to mix it up. While it would've been nice to see Sapphire do something with the clock speeds, overclocking yourself is extremely easy and you've of course got the option to use their own Overclocking software, TRIXX.
The only thing we don't really like is the way Sapphire have implemented the Dual BIOS switch. This isn't something new, but it's something we've seen companies pull away from with recent versions of their cards. Sapphire in this case has chosen to keep the option here, but the button is in a really awkward position and actually quite hard to find.
In the end, though, if you're on the lookout for a HD 6950, the Sapphire Dirt 3 Edition at $269.99 US is a good buy. You've got a strong cooler and a nice bundle that includes a really good game. Overclock a little yourself and you've got a really good HD 6950 on your hands. As usual, Sapphire does a good job of not disappointing.
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