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HIS Radeon HD 6970 2GB Turbo Video Card

HIS was quick out of the gate with the HD 6870 Turbo and today the HD 6970 gets the same treatment. Is it worth paying extra for the overclock?
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Jan 18 2011 2:24 AM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: HIS

Introduction and Package


Introduction

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I've always liked the Turbo series from HIS. It's not my favorite series from the company, with me personally being a larger fan of the iCooler series, but more importantly the iCooler Turbo series which carries the benefits of an upgraded cooler and benefits of that pre-overclock.

What the Turbo series offers us, though, is quick to the market pre-overclocked cards, because as just the "Turbo" series and not the "iCooler Turbo" series, the model carries with it the reference cooler which ultimately means that all HIS need to do is find a stable clock speed.

The Package

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Checking out the box and package, it's all very HIS with no real surprises being found. Apart from the normal paperwork, driver CD and sticker, we've got the standard cable line up which includes both a dual Molex to 6-Pin and to 8-Pin.

Also included is our standard DVI to VGA connector and CrossFire cable. It would've been nice to see a mini-DP to DP adapter as they can be a little hard to come by at the moment, meaning it's a little bit of a pain if you want to use a DP connection.

Card and Specifications


The Card

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Aesthetically you're not seeing much here that you haven't seen before. The card is pretty much identical to the HIS HD 6970 2GB with the only difference being the Turbo logo on the cooler.

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A swing around the card also holds no surprises; a single 8-pin and 6-pin PCI-E power connector, two CrossFire slots, our dual BIOS switch and the same Dual-Link DVI, Single-Link DVI, HDMI 1.4 and two mini-DP ports.

Specifications

Sure; there's no surprises on the exterior side of things, but it's the internal side of things we're really interested in today and that of course means looking at the clock speeds that HIS are offering us.

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HIS have bumped the core from 880MHz to a nice round 900MHz. As for the 2GB of GDDR5, that's had a nice little bump from 5500MHz QDR too 5600MHz QDR. They're not huge overclocks, but they should be enough to help separate the HID HS 6970 Turbo 2GB away from the standard reference clocked card.

To be honest, it's not much of a surprise that this isn't a large OC, as it seems without a voltage increase just over 900MHz seems to be the limit. We're not sure if AMD bumped the clocks last minute because of the GTX 500 series, or there was just never a whole lot of head room, but we'll see what kind of numbers the HIS HD 6970 Turbo 2GB offers us.

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're going to be checking out the HIS HD 6970 Turbo 2GB against a whole bunch of cards which include the HD 5870, HD 6870, HD 6850, HD 6970 and HD 6950 in CrossFire, GTX 570 GLH, GTX 580 and GTX 480.

The main card we're comparing the Turbo against today is the reference clocked Sapphire HD 6970 2GB. Comparing to it will give us an idea of just what kind of extra performance we see from the model and that bump in clock speeds HIS are offering us.

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.

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Under 3DMark 11 we can see a little bump in both presets; nothing major at all here. Hopefully we see some larger improvements when we get into our games.

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.

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Getting into Vantage, we see a little bit of a larger increase, but nothing too major again.

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.

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Checking out Heaven performance, we continue to see that small bump in performance due to the small bump in clock speeds.

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.

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Getting into some games, we continue to see that there's a small bump across the board due to the small bump in clock speeds. It's not much, but you can see that at every resolution the Turbo card does indeed gain a couple of extra FPS.

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.

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Checking out our next game, we again see a little bit of movement at the lower resolution with a couple of extra FPS.

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.

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Mafia II also sees some extra FPS across the board. While that 2560 x 1600 number might be only a single FPS, it all adds up when we're this close to what we consider playable.

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."

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Lost Planet 2 sees a little bit of movement and with these lower FPS numbers it's really appreciated. It would've been nice to see that 1680 x 1050 number move from 51 FPS to a few more FPS closer to that 60 FPS mark.

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.

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AVP shows almost no difference with only an extra FPS seen at the lowest resolution.

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.

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Again we see a little bit of a bump at all resolutions, even when we're getting these insane FPS rates.

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.

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No surprise under Far Cry 2; the HIS Turbo just improves the numbers across the board slightly.

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.

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Checking out Batman AA, we can again see that the overclock just gives us a little bit of a bump in the minimum and average department 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.

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Cranking up the detail, we see very little movement with just an extra couple of FPS. The most important gain is that Mafia II number where the few extra FPS just help push us away from that 60 FPS average we need.

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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Along with four other cards, the HIS HD 6970 Turbo 2GB doesn't really bring with it any extra heat coming in at that 80c mark.

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 also hold no surprise falling in line with other HD 6970s we've tested.

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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Finally, power draw like our other tests don't show any surprises with numbers that any good quality 650 Watt PSU would 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.

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Overall, we see the extra performance on offer helps jump the overall TPR rating up slightly.

Final Thoughts




While we don't have a price on the HIS HD 6970 Turbo yet, it's safe to assume going off past versions of the Turbo model including the HD 6800s, you're going to pay roughly $10 to $15 more for the overclock.

For slightly more money you're getting slightly more performance. If you do not want to overclock yourself and wouldn't mind getting an extra bit of grunt out of the card without having to do anything, the Turbo variant of the HD 6970 isn't a bad purchase.

Overclocking for the most part without a voltage increase seems to be a bit more limited on the HD 6900 series and that seems to be the main reason we're not only seeing few companies offer us overclocked ones, but also why the companies that do offer us only a small bump.

If you prefer to save some money and do the overclocking yourself, you've always got the option to buy the HIS HD 6970 2GB and attack it yourself with some overclocking software.

If you're not one to overclock, though, and just feel more comfortable buying something that's pre overclocked, the HIS HD 6970 Turbo 2GB is a nice little buy. The best thing is that the premium for the pre overclock is only minor, making it easy to justify. If you were put in the position where you couldn't get just a reference card, it's nice to know that you're not getting gouged in the pricing department for a card that carries with it a little overclock.

It'll be no doubt interesting to see what happens when HIS start to introduce not just the HD 6900 series, but the HD 6800 series to some of those other series we love like the iCooler Turbo one.

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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.

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.

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