Radeon HD 6870 vs. 6950. Is there a big performance difference?

By Atham · 48 replies
Jul 18, 2011
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  1. Hello,

    I would like to know if there is big performance difference between the two GPUs.
    I am looking for a cheaper GPU and in my country there is a 100 Euros difference. I am just asking if the hd 6950 is worth the extra 100 Euros.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    Here's a comparision of the two cards using AnandTech's benchmark feature.

    HD6950 vs HD6870
  3. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    Interesting. So which would you recommend for me? From the benchmarks I am not sure if the 6950 it worth the extra 100 euros. Could some give me a suggestion?

    @ Miz great link. I am gonna keep that for future reference!
  4. If you can afford the 6950 then go that route.
    You will get a quicker card and you could also try this.
    Works on the 2gb 6950's though.
  5. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    Depends on what resolution you are running, if it's not 1920x1200 or above you should be fine with the HD 6870.
  6. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    mine is 1920 x1080. Would the 6870 be good enough?
  7. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Yeah, its bang on for 1080p resolutions. I'd only go for the HD6950 if you plan on going higher on resolution.
  8. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    No, I don't plan on going on higher resolutions. If you mean eyefinity as a higher resolution then I don't plan to do so.

    My max res will be 1920x1080. I would like to ask about the 2 GB in some of the 6950s. What is the advantage against a 1GB. Are there any gaming performance improvements?
  9. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    So I am going to be using 1920x1080 resolution. In that case the 6870 should be good enough to run most games on medium to high settings, right?
  10. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Yes, its about the best out there for that resolution in the midrange segment. Like I said, its the best for your gaming resolution.
  11. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    If I had the 6950 1GB CrossFire, would a Corsair TX750 be enough?

    Is it worth the money to make the 2GB 6950 go In CF?

    So the hd 6870 will be in the midrange settings right. What about if the 6870 is in CrossFire? Could I use the higher settings in most games?
  12. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    A good 750W PSU will power 2x HD6870's in crossfire with small capacity to spare. I'd personally jump up to 850W to power 2x HD6950's.

    The HD6870 is a midrange GPU. It will play the vast majority of games at 1920x1080 resolutions, with the settings on high/highest and munch through it all with fairly good framerates. Running a pair of them will give around a 50-70% improvement to your figures, making it faster than a single HD6950. Some games do not scale very well though.

    Whats your budget?

    Your budget dictates what you buy, and unless you set one you are going to spin around in circles much like you are now.
  13. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

  14. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    The radeon hd 6950 is pretty cheap in USA. I live in Slovakia and it is a tad bit more expensive here.

    These are the costs in Slovakia with VAT:

    118.03 € GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3
    167.23 € AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
    229 € - 250.87 € SAPPHIRE Radeon HD6950 2GB Dirt 3 Edtion
    133,20 € -146.57 € CORSAIR HX850

    144.90 € -171.22 € SAPPHIRE Radeon HD6870 1GB

    min. 644.46 € with hd 6950 (563.4 € with hd 6870) max with hd 6950 (603 € with hd 6870)

    BTW, when are the bulldozer series coming out?

    EDIT: For Crossfire, could I use one 1GB card and another 2GB card?
  15. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    Is the Corsair hx850 really necessary for the 6950 in CrossFire mode? I don't think I will get another card, so I am just wondering if 750 watts is enough?
  16. This gives you a rough idea of what psu you would need.
  17. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Recommend 800W+ for high end systems... An overclocked hexacore hitting 200w at load would be classed as high end and in need of 800w plus, in my humble opinion.
  18. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    I read the sentence. So I need an 800watt.

    What about the CORSAIR TX850 or Corsair GS800? How are they different from the HX850?
  19. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    The Corsair HX850 is a modular power supply, it's what I'm using in my AMD rig. Either of the other two units you mentioned would work as well.

    While there is no solid information on the Bulldozer release date most sites are still saying sometime in August or September.

    Pretty sure that when you Crossfire cards with different amounts of memory both cards will operate utilizing the lower amount of memory, same for gpu clock speed.
  20. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    What does it mean, "modular power supply"?

    So the GS800 will work just as fine for crossfire hd 6950 as the hx850, right, excluding the different wattages.
  21. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Modular is in reference to the cable solution used on the power supply. A typical power supply features all the available connectors wired directly inside the PSU.

    A modular PSU takes it a step further by allowing you to connect only the cables you require for your computer setup, thus reducing the clutter caused by cables not used. Think of it as plugging in connectors to cables you want, and not the ones you don't.

    A Corsair GS800 has 4 PCI-EX connectors, so will be fine powering CF HD6950's. The same is true of the HX850, which carries 6 PCI-EX connectors.

    The GS800 is non-modular, and the HX850 is modular. If I had to choose between the two, I would take the HX every time; it comes with a 7 year warranty (Only 3 years for GS800) for a start, and secondly its modular, so you only use the cables you need, rather than being stuck with crap loads blocking airflow.

    Below is a picture showing the connectors of the HX850 PSU...


    Non modular PSU's have the entire wiring hard-wired much like in the left corner of the picture where it displays the 24pin connector which is hard-wired.
  22. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    Great post Leeky, that's about as well as it can be said.
  23. Atham

    Atham TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 460

    Okay. So what about the TX850 v2? Is that modular?

    So modular ones are better. I guess that is the reason they are more expensive. If the performance is the same in modular and non-modular, and I am on a tight budget then I guess it is better to go with the cheaper one, right?

    Should I overclock the MSI_RADEON_R6950_Twin_Frozr_III_OC once I get it or should I leave it at its overclocked settings?
  24. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Only the Corsair Professional and Professional Gold series (HX and AX) are modular systems.

    I would go with the HX850 as first choice, the TX850 V2 (only the V2 I might add!) as second, followed by the GS800.

    I would also be hitting for a 850W PSU if it was me, as your hexacore will be hitting quite high wattage overclocked, and you need the headroom if you plan to OC the HD6950's further than the factory OC's.

    It is also considered unwise to fully stress any PSU for prelonged periods, and you should always build your system with capacity to spare - over time PSU's age, and the rated capacity decreases, added to which running it at max power (in the case of a underpowered system) will cause premature failing of the PSU, and is likely to affect voltage fluctuation due to excessive overloading. That also puts components elsewhere in the system at risk, so in short, don't skimp and more is better (within reasons of course)

    In either case, the HX850 is a bargain deal, and even HardOCP.com agree that its top quality, giving it a Gold rating - Read the full review here: http://hardocp.com/article/2009/05/27/corsair_hx850w_power_supply/

    The TX850 fairs nearly as welll too, HardOCP.com giving it a Silver Award. Full review here: http://hardocp.com/article/2008/12/19/corsair_tx850w_power_supply/

    For clarity, HardOCP.com are highly regarded are the reviewer of choice for PSU's, and more fail than pass their rigorous tests, so the units than pass are top quality. Either choice is a wise one from a PSU standpoint.

    P.S. Thanks Mizzou. :)

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