HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire

It doesn't carry the same price tag as its big brother, but packs some good performance. How's the HD 6950 go when we Crossfire it?

Manufacturer: HIS
14 minutes & 40 seconds read time

Introduction and Package


HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 02

Already having looked at the HD 6970 in Crossfire, it was time to see what its slightly smaller brother, the HD 6950, was capable of when we paired it up with a second one. Scaling has become extremely strong with not just the HD 6970, but the HD 6000 on a whole it seems.

Today we find out what kind of performance the HD 6950 is able to give us when we Crossfire this bad boy. Coming in at more than $100 less than the HD 6970 CF setup, while also carrying the HD 6900 series name verse the HD 6800 series name, this could be the setup you're looking for. What we're going to answer today, though, is whether or not this be a setup you should be paying attention to.

Before we get into the performance side of things, though, we'll check out the HIS offering we've got with us today for the simple reason that we haven't had a look at the card yet. Once the package and card has been looked at, we'll check out the specifications and then get stuck into the performance side of things.

The Package

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 03

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 04

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 05

Looking at the package, you're not going to see anything that you haven't really seen before with the two cables included being dual-Molex to 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors.

Card and Specifications

The Card

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 06

Since at the moment we're only seeing reference designed HD 6950s, there's nothing out of the ordinary here except for the sticker that HIS use. They of course have used the same design as we've seen on the other HD 6000 offerings from HIS. I know it's not much, but it's a nice sticker and honestly, it probably does sway people a little bit when they're not too fussed about the brand they buy.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 07

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 08

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 09

The rest of the setup includes two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors at the back of the card, two Crossfire connectors at the front along with that little switch that is used to change the BIOS you're using. Connectivity comes in the form of two mini-DP, HDMI and two DVI ports; one Single-Link and the other Dual-Link.


Following on from the reference design, we've of course got ourselves reference clocks which put the core at 800MHz and that massive 2GB of GDDR5 memory at a beautiful sounding 5GHz QDR.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 01

We're of course looking at Crossfire today, so the main thing we want to also check here is that two cards are indeed enabled and you can see down the bottom that they are.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 99

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've got a bunch of setups today with the Crossfire HD 6950 being the main one. Directly above that, though, we've got the single HD 6950 so we can see the kind of performance gains we get when we add a second card to the mix.

Along with this Crossfire setup, we've got a number of other Crossfire ones including the HD 6970 in CF, HD 6870 in CF and HD 6850 in CF. NVIDIA has some representation with a couple of big single GPU setups; the GTX 580 and GTX 570 GLH from Gainward.

Let's get started!

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 20

3DMark 11 straight away shows us the strong scaling we see with the setup, of course coming only second to the HD 6970 CF one. Let's hope that these gains translate into strong performance gains when we start to get into real world situations.

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 21

Not quite the 100% scaling, but still very good gains with the best seeing at that more intensive X preset.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 22

AMD has done a good job improving Tessellation performance and an even better job improving Crossfire performance. What you end up with a seriously fast setup.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 23

Getting into some gains, we see a strong performance boost with of course the best being seen at the highest resolution. Going from 96 FPS to 180 FPS translates to almost gains of 100% which is fantastic.

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: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 24

AMD struggle a little under H.A.W.X. 2 when compared to NVIDIA, but you can see we've got some fantastic performance gains here which help offer some serious performance overall.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 25

Mafia II sees a strong performance boost, but it's not as big as some of the other games. The best gains are seen at 2560 x 1600. More importantly, though, we move from an unplayable setup at under 60 FPS to a very playable one at over 60 FPS.

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
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

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."

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 26

Some great scaling is again seen here and you go from a game that can't be played at max setting at any resolution to a game that's playable at all resolutions and max settings. It's a real testament to the power that's on offer here from the HD 6950 CF setup.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 27

Similar to Lost Planet 2, but not quite as extreme as we've got playable numbers at 1680 x 1050 on a single card; we do see at 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600, though, the scaling is sitting around 100% and in turn gives us a huge performance increase, and more importantly some very playable FPS.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.streetfighter.com/

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 28

Even under something like SF IV that was getting strong FPS with a single card, this setup sees some massive gains. Sure, they're not needed, but it's just great to see that Crossfire works so well on something a little older.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 29

Scaling continues to be strong under Far Cry 2 and you can see these modern day cards really have no issue playing the game at the highest resolutions.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 30

Like Far Cry 2 we again see these modern day setups have no problems dealing with Batman AA. You can see that we pretty much hit a CPU limitation with our minimum being around the 116 FPS mark at all resolutions.

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 31

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 32

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 33

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 34

Those strong scaling numbers are seen when we crank up the AA and AF and you go from a single card setup that struggles under some games with these settings to one that has no problems at all, with the high lights being those Mafia II and AvP numbers.

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 40

Temp wise there's no surprises and the cards run well when in Crossfire. It's not a setup that people are going to be worrying about when it comes to heat.

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).

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 41

The good news is that the low heat levels isn't because the cards are spinning away loudly, instead they're still whisper quiet which for people who want performance without the noise, this is going to be an appealing 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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 42

Power draw does of course come in higher than a lot of other setups, but it's nothing a good quality 650Watt power supply won't handle.

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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 50

It comes as no surprise when we check out our TPR graph that the setup falls only second to the higher end HD 6970 CF setup. For the most part you can see it's almost directly in the middle off the HD 6870 and HD 6970 CF setups.

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 Newegg.com. 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.

HIS Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card in Crossfire 51

Value is better than the HD 6970 CF setup, but not as good as it could be. Still, performance comes at a cost and this cost isn't as great as the HD 6970 CF one.

Final Thoughts

The way the Crossfire line-up sits at the moment is very good. Between the HD 6850 to the HD 6970 you've got nice gaps between the incremental increases in price and depending what you want to spend, you're going to get some strong performance no matter what.

From the HD 6850 CF setup you've got two cards that perform stronger than a single GTX 580, even if it is just. As you move up, though, we see the lead on the setups become greater and greater and while the HD 6850 CF setup might be the best valued, the best all round value would have to be this one.

Its performance gains are strong and it didn't struggle in any of our games. Across the board we saw strong scaling that resulted in averages above 60 FPS at the highest resolution. On a whole it's a good chunk of change cheaper than the HD 6970 CF setup which offers great frame rates, but probably nothing that's going to make your overall game experience better due to the minimums and averages being seen on the setup we have here today.

Of course, later down the track as games become more intensive the HD 6970 setup might become more appealing, but if you consider that most gamers are probably looking at 1680 x 1050 or 1920 x 1200 / 1080 then this setup should cover you anyway.

On to the actual card itself; the HIS one doesn't really give us anything new or anything we didn't expect to see. The thing is it's not a bad thing, as we know companies can't do much outside of reference around launch time, and more importantly the price is strong.

Pick up one HIS HD 6950 2GB and you won't be disappointed. Pick up two, though, and you'll be ecstatic. There's some serious performance here when you throw two of these bad boys together and you're really going to appreciate the frame rates later down the track.

We said that the single HD 6950 painted only part of the picture; consider another part now painted and let's just say that the picture is looking great.

What do TweakTown.com awards mean? Click for details!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

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.

Newsletter Subscription
We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.