SAPPHIRE TOXIC HD6950 Video Card Review

SAPPHIRE claims to have produced the fastest HD 6950 on the market in the SAPPHIRE HD6950 TOXIC Edition. It competes with a stock Radeon HD 6950 and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570. We also put it to the test against a Radeon HD 6970 and GeForce GTX 580 with results that might shock you. And did we mention you get two free games?

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Evaluation Method

We evaluate what each video card configuration can supply us in terms of a playable gaming experience while supplying the best culmination of resolution and "eye candy" graphical settings. We focus on quality and immersion of the gameplay experience rather than how many frames per second the card can get in a canned benchmark or prerecorded timedemo situation that often do not represent real gameplay like you would experience at home. Then we will follow with apples-to-apples testing in with minimum, maximum, and average framerates.

Test System Setup

We will be using a MSI Eclipse SLI X58 motherboard, an Intel Core i7 920 Overclocked at 3.6GHz, and 6GB of Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D Dominator DDR3.

We make every effort to not use CPU limited games for video card evaluations, but the i7-920 at 3.6GHz seems to put many peoples’ minds at ease when it comes to that subject.

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We will be using AMD Catalyst 11.8 Preview with the SAPPHIRE TOXIC HD6950, our reference Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6970. This review was performed before the new 11.8 WHQL driver was released, but we have tested performance, and there is no difference between 11.8 Preview and 11.8 WHQL. On August 9th, 2011, NVIDIA released their first WHQL driver in the 280 family, ForceWare 280.26 WHQL which we will be using for the GeForce GTX 570 and GTX 580.

Below is a screenshot of GPU-Z after installing the SAPPHIRE TOXIC HD6950 and AMD's Catalyst 11.8 Preview.

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