AMD Radeon HD 6950 1GB Video Card in CrossFire

We get a 1GB HD 6950 from AMD and pair it with our Sapphire one to see how this 1GB model goes in CrossFire.

Manufacturer: AMD
13 minutes & 46 seconds read time

Introduction, The Card and Specifications


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I'm a huge fan of the HD 6950 1GB; it brings the power of the HD 6950 to the table without the price tag that is associated with the 2GB version of the card that launched originally. Already impressed with the 1GB version from Sapphire we looked at a bit back, we'll today be having a look at the reference AMD one.

Instead of just doing the boring ol' thing and sliding it into our testbed by itself and seeing it inevitably performing near identical to the previous Sapphire we looked at, we instead paired it with the said Sapphire version and looked at CrossFire performance.

Due to the fact it's an AMD reference card, we don't have any sort of package going on, so instead we'll just have a quick look at the card, its specifications and then just roll into the benchmark line-up.

The Card

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AMD Radeon HD 6950 1GB Video Card in CrossFire 04

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The HD 6950 1GB doesn't hold any surprises since it carries the reference design. We've just got that typical black and red cooler with the fan that sits down the end. Power comes in the form of two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors and closer to the front we've got two CrossFire connectors and our little dual BIOS switch.

Connectivity doesn't hold any surprises; we've got a Dual-Link DVI, Single-Link DVI, HDMI and two Mini-DisplayPort connectors.


Continuing on with the fact that we're dealing with a reference card, we're of course just going to see reference clocks. This means that our core comes in at 800MHz while our 1GB of GDDR5 carries with it a 5000MHz QDR clock.

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The main thing we want to make sure of here is that we're of course running CrossFire and you can see down the bottom that it's indeed enabled and 2 GPUs are running.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

We'll be looking at the 1GB HD 6950 in CrossFire against the 1GB by itself, the 2GB model in CrossFire, the HD 6970 in CrossFire and the new HD 6990. On the NVIDIA front we've got the GTX 580, GTX 560 in SLI and the GTX 580 again, but in SLI.

Let's get started!

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
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3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Straight away we see a strong performance boost and between the 2GB models this one performs a little better, probably thanks to the more recent drivers.

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
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3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

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Very good performance again and you can see that performance is just very strong with these new 11.4 Betas.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage:
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New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Heaven performance continues to be very strong and we can see that this setup just offers some great performance.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
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Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

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The single card had no issue dealing with the FPS here, but the CrossFire setup just helps improve overall performance again and take it to another level.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
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Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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Some strong performance across the board under H.A.W.X. 2 with the CrossFire setup and playing at any resolution here wouldn't be a problem.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

b>Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
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Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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While we don't see the strong gains under Mafia II when it comes to overall %, we do see some strong FPS at all resolutions and we're far away form that 60 FPS average we want at the highest resolution.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1
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Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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CrossFire brings such good performance gains here and you can see we've got an average of over 60 FPS at every resolution. Looking at the single card performance, we see that it wasn't able to break 60 FPS at even the lowest. This is where we really begin to enjoy the benefits of SLI.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
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Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Strong performance gains are again seen here and while the single card setup was able to break 60 FPS at 1680 x 1050, it struggled at resolutions above that. In CrossFire we can see the same issues aren't present.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
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While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called "Focus Attacks" ("Saving Attack" for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.

All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, similar to the Street Fighter EX sub-series Capcom produced with Arika. However, there are a couple of key differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.

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We see some strong performance gains under SF IV, but we've already got massive performance here from the setup.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
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The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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We can see some strong gains again under Far Cry 2, but we've already got very playable numbers with the single card. Still, we're not going to complain about even more performance and it of course gives us the chance to start hitting stuff up like AA and AF.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
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Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

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Not quite huge gains under Batman AA, but we're already seeing very strong performance from the single card setup and you can see we seem to hit a bit of a performance wall when moving to two GPU setups.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

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Here we see some excellent performance gains and what we also see is that this setup allows us to run every game here with AA and AF on.

Temperature Test

Temperature Tests

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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At under 80c on both cards these are some nice temperatures that most people would be happy with.

Sound Test

Sound Tests

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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Noise levels on the setup are very good and this is a fairly quiet setup.

Power Consumption Tests

Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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Power draw comes in a little under 500 Watt and if you're spending this kind of money you should have a decent 600 Watt power supply already in your system.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)

Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and AMD are on an even playing field.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark 11, Heaven Benchmark V2, Resident Evil 5, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2, Mafia 2 (PhysX Off), Lost Planet 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Street Fighter IV, Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off) and our four High Quality tests which include Mafia 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Street Fighter IV and Far Cry 2.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

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Overall we've got some great performance from the setup which shows it very similar to the 2GB version. It's probably a little faster thanks to the more recent driver, but really, there's not much difference between the 2GB and 1GB models except the price.

Total Value Rating (TVR)

Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

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Value is very strong on this setup thanks to the cost coming in at under $500 and the performance that's on offer.

Final Thoughts

You're going to have people that argue 2GB is a must have for these higher end cards and while in some instances it might be nice, you can see that at even 2560 x 1600 there doesn't really seem to be any difference. In the end, for the price you're able to get two of these 1GB models for, you'd be crazy to spend more on a single card solution that carries more memory, because it just wouldn't be faster.

This is just a really good setup for people who want some serious performance and don't want to have to worry about gaming at just about any resolution. With most people having boards that support two cards in CrossFire and the setup on a whole costing a good couple hundred dollars less than the new HD 6990 4GB, you can see why it would be such a popular option.

Covering the actual card itself, there's not really much to say with it just using the reference cooler. There are no real surprises and we didn't test it alone because we had already tested the Sapphire version by itself. Considering out of the box we saw the same clocks from it, we knew that performance would be the same bar a difference that is brought in by drivers.

If you're happy to go down the two card path this is probably one of the most desirable options from AMD at the moment. The fact that the cards carry with them only 1GB instead of the 2GB we saw at launch means that the price comes down.

When it comes to overall performance on comparing the 2GB and 1GB cards there's really no difference in both single and dual card form, so there's not a huge reason to spend the extra money associated with the 2GB card.

Lastly, though, if this was 12 months ago we would be saying it's all good and that, but the NVIDIA option of GTX 460 SLI would be a better choice for the simple fact that in SLI the performance was just stronger. Even when compared against AMD cards they were slightly faster by themselves. AMD has done a wonderful job with the 6000 series, though, and we're really seeing massive performance gains from them and when it comes down to bang for buck for multi GPU setups, this is one of the best on the market.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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