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Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB Dirt 3 Edition Video Card Review

By: Shawn Baker | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Jun 21, 2011 3:38 am
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Sapphire

Card Pictures




Looking at the card, we've got a pretty mean looking setup going on. We've got a dual fan setup and looking below that you can see a total of five copper heat pipes coming out the bottom of the card.


It's a pretty good looking cooler and it will be interesting to see how it performs. We've tested a lot of HD 6950s and seen a wide range of coolers from companies. What exactly the dual fan option Sapphire has opted for can do will indeed be found out today.






Taking a quick look around the card, we've got two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors at the back of the card. Staying across the top but moving to the front, you can see we've got a single CrossFire connector. The inclusion of just a single Crossfire connector is a little unusual as we've always seen two present on the HD 6950. With a single connector you still of course get support for two cards in CrossFire, which is of course the biggest setup outside of one card.




On the connectivity side of things, we've got a DisplayPort connector, HDMI and two DVI; one's Single-Link while the other is Dual-Link. This is a fairly standard setup when it comes to connectivity.


Before we move on to the specifications, I just want to quickly bring up a feature that Sapphire have implemented. Like the original batch of HD 6950s, the Sapphire Dirt 3 Edition carries with it a Dual BIOS setup. This isn't anything new, but we've seen recently that companies have chosen to remove the option on recent versions of the card.




The problem is it's really hard to find the switch and if you read the Sapphire website it almost sounds like you switch the BIOS via their own OC software, TRIXX. You can see in the above picture where the switch is; the problem is we couldn't even get our finger in to change it. Instead you'd have to opt for something like a pen.


It's a funky little addition and nice to see that Sapphire have chosen to implement it on the latest HD 6950; it just seems they don't really want anyone to use it with the placement and to be honest, most people probably won't use it. None the less, it's there.




With no OC labeling on the card, it comes as no surprise that out of the box we're just dealing with the reference clock speeds. That means our core comes in at 840MHz while our 2GB of GDDR5 comes in at 5000MHz QDR.




We thought we'd give it a little bump in clock speeds. Using just the inbuilt Overdrive function seen in the Catalyst driver suite, we pushed the core up to 840MHz and the memory to 5300MHz QDR. This is the maximum OC offered in Overdrive, so it's pretty cool that you can just throw the sliders right to the end and be on your way.


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