AMD Radeon HD 6970 Review

By Julio Franco · 80 replies
Dec 15, 2010
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  1. Code-named Cayman XT, the new Radeon HD 6970 features 2640 million transistors, 23% more than that of the 5870. The Radeon HD 6970 is essentially a more refined version of the 5870, so expect improved performance and efficiency.

    Read the full review at:

    Please leave your feedback here.
  2. Superpeter

    Superpeter TS Member Posts: 49

    Crap.. I waited for the single most powerful gpu hoping AMD would bring it. Guess not, I'll just spend my holiday dollars on a GTX 580
  3. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Thanks for an excellent review Steve. Glad to see so many relevant benchmarks included. It makes the job a lot easier if I can point the customer to a review with an array of games they likely have stacked up ready for the new card(s).

    I presume the HD 6950 review isn't too far off?
    Both these cards seem very good value for money (in relative terms), doubly so in the case of Crossfire as they seem to scale just as well as the HD 6870/6850. I was hoping that the 6970 might take a few benchmark "wins" and pressure nvidia to drop pricing-performance/$ is still with AMD so I'm cautiously hopeful of some pricing realignment.
  4. So much for the GTX 580 killer that all the ATI/AMD fanboys were raving. What you guys ended up with, is a card that's about the same as the 570. However, not to say that's a bad thing, it's a good thing of course.

    Before you bash me, note that I have an Phenom X4 965BE and love this CPU to death. But I was hoping this 6970 was going to be $300. Instead it's priced $20 above a GTX570. It's going to be a pretty hard sell IMO.

    Oh well, there's still the 6990 to look forward to, maybe then it will beat the 5970 or GTX580.
  5. This is horrible. ATI blew it this time.
  6. I cannot believe it. Nvidia is outperforming ATI ****.....
  7. Disgusting. What a waste of time waiting for it.
    I just can't believe that the next generation de-evolved.
  8. SilverCider

    SilverCider TS Rookie Posts: 71

    "this is horrible
    ati blew it this time .

    i cannot belive it
    nvidia is outperforming ati ****.....

    What a waste of time waiting for it.
    I just can't believe that the next generation de-evolved."

    Somebody dislikes AMD a little lol!
  9. vangrat

    vangrat TS Rookie Posts: 223

    No, these people actually like AMD, what they dislike is the fact that this particular product is underwhelming in the extreme. Everyone was expecting AMD to come out with a whopper of a card, the F-16 of the current generation. Instead what they got was a Mig, yes it goes fast...but there is better.
  10. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    mmmm...seems some peoples expectations were a little high.

    A few things to ponder....
    1. The cards have been out for four hours. Is it reasonable to expect that they might improve performance with a few driver revisions?
    2. Everyone (AMD-philes that is) seemed to think Cayman was a slam-dunk. Bear in mind that a new architecture- and this is ATI/AMD's first major architectural change since R600- is not always an unqualified success.
    3. Cayman can be seen as a "proof of concept" for Southern Islands on 28nm next year. Cayman is hardly a failure- it just doesn't stack up fantastically against Barts (389mm² v 255mm²) in the performance/mm² and perf/$ metrics. If Barts hadn't been released I doubt all the fanboys would be tripping over their collective lips quite so much.
    4. Next time a launch is imminent and the speculation/rumour machine is running with a wide open throttle, it might just pay to take a step back and see who is providing the momentum, and what their motivation is regarding page views, advance sales and building their own little cults of personality.

    When all is said and done, if you're looking for performance gaming and driver/microstutter issues or motherboard limitation make Crossfire/SLI a non-starter then you could do worse than look at the HD 6970/6950 for your next card.
    Personally I'd still recommend a Crossfire HD 6850 or SLI'ed GTX 460 as best-bang-for-the-buck, but can appreciate that many would prefer the simplicity of a single GPU solution.
  11. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    Great review Steve as always, just curious though are you guys going to be reviewing the 6950/6850 eventually? Both offer great value, especially the 6950 which seems to be in a class of its own at $300 dollars.

    Also a lot of people here and elsewhere seem to be missing the point of how the 6970 is priced. At first glace the 6970 seems to be underwhelming, but you should realize the card is also about $140 dollars cheaper and likely more in other markets. It was clearly unrealistic to think that the 6970 would just come out and dominate the GTX 580 a card that surprised everyone and it seems AMD too. What AMD delivered is by no means a failure and looks to be a great value with solid improvements, especially in tessellation heavy games and to say otherwise is a bit disingenuous.
  12. mosu

    mosu TS Guru Posts: 474   +84

    6970 is a transition model and should last until 32 or28 nm process should came available.In my opinion AMD is just testing this new architecture and the real deal should come with the new iteration.
  13. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I have to admit I was hoping for a little more performance from these, but since the GTX570 was pretty much the benchmark I need for next years triple HD LCD setup, it gives me something to ponder.

    Its just a shame the HD6870's can't be triple CF'd, because even with these results I'd almost prefer one of them per LCD instead of two of the above mentioned GPUs.

    Maybe the HD6990 will have more to offer me, and a better single slot solution in my case. Excellent review as always though! :D
  14. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    Thanks for the great feedback I appreciate it and yes we will work on delivering a HD 6950 review, samples have been tight. We had just over a day to work on our HD 6970 review which was a little stressful ;)

    Since when does anyone listen to “fanboys” but you are right the HD 6970 is not a bad thing, far from it.

    These *****s are actually all the same *****, they were all posted from the same IP. Unfortunately trolls can also use the guest account.

    We will cover these graphics cards, samples have been hard to get. We were waiting for a custom built version of the 6850 but nothing has come up as yet. We will do our best to cover these products for you guys. Also you are spot on with your comments regarding pricing of the HD 6970.
  15. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Oh you mean like nvidia's 8000,9000 and GTX 200 cards? It isn't exactly an anomaly.
  16. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    I think it was obvious he was a samefag :p.

    By the way, why is the forum version of comments removed? Now we can't merge multiple comments or add something in.
  17. benchmarks are done with catalyst 10.11. with 10.12 it may be 5-10% faster.
  18. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,146   +911

    How do Guests know these kind of things!?
  19. How does a regular user know?
  20. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,146   +911

    They don't?
  21. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    An easy way to avoid *****s like the above one, would be to make guest accounts able to only post a single time per day (Limited by IP) on a single topic (So if they want to comment other ones they could, but only once per day on each topic). This way you would encourage them to make accounts and not post nonsense covering by guest account.

    Back to the topic...

    It was on a single time where ATI surpassed NVidia's performance for a pretty long period, why is it so surprising that NVidia got to the top once again?

    I will still be buying ATI or Nvidia cards, according to my budget and the performances each might offer in the budget range I have access to. Probably most do this... in the budget/performance area ATI still wins I'm pretty sure.
  22. Furty117 you know no more than anyone else, either way. Having an account on Techspot doesn't somehow bestow one with any more knowledge about something that no one has reliable information about or that has yet to be seen in the first place. If anything it seems to be the opposite judging by some of the 'regulars'.
  23. nVidia white-knighting is the worst kind of internet faggotry.
  24. fpsgamerJR62

    fpsgamerJR62 TS Rookie Posts: 489

    The 6900 series didn't quite live up to AMD's pre-launch hype but the quoted suggested retail prices are quite reasonable for top-end cards if they are actually available in quantity at this time or maybe by next month. I know for a fact the Nvidia 500 series is already available because I've already ordered a GTX 580 and the dealer just recently listed the GTX 570 as being in stock. I'm now looking forward to 2011's battle of the multi-GPU cards. My personal forecast for the multi-GPU battle - Nvidia will win this round.
  25. Xero07

    Xero07 TS Booster Posts: 100

    I'm not surprised it isn't faster then the 580. ATI has been real focused on performance per watt and with that mindset they likely won't get the performance crown in the single gpu department for awhile which to me is alright. I think ATI wants to have efficient single gpus which lead to high performance multi-gpu cards at the head of their lineup.

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