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This is the ASUS Radeon HD 6950 graphics card, more specifically this is the EAH6950 Direct CU2 model. This was given to me to test out by a friend who is an AMD fan boy as he believes that alone it's better than my GTX 560 Ti, this AMD card is a little more expensive and I will admit it does run better but let's take a closer look first.
If your anything like me then you will love unboxing new equipment, I get excited to take my new components out for the first time and I can be a little critical when I don't like the packaging. This is an ASUS product and as such it's packaged fantastically, when you take a look at the packaging and the boxing this comes in you get the sense of feeling that ASUS cares about its products and its customers. This was securely packaged and had protective sheeting over the pins at the bottom and the 6 pin connectors at the top; everything was incredibly neat and just looked like it took a long time to put in the box.
The manuals, the software and the cables came in a nice little folder which can be kept for paperwork afterwards (looks better than a shoebox). When I took this card out of the box the first thing I noticed was its size, this is a dual card size and as such is huge! It feels great in the hand the engineering gone into this product is superb so well done ASUS there. The front of the card is made of metal instead of a cheap plastic, and there are two fans on the front which has a heat sink underneath and copper piping.
As with any graphics card these days installing couldn't be any simpler, slotting into the PCI-E connector on my motherboard and screwing the front into the back of the case to make it sturdy. Follow this by plugging in two 6 pin connectors from your power supply and your good to go. One thing about this card is how easy it all went in, most graphics cards do go in really easily but I thought I may struggle with this one because of its size but this wasn't the case.
Now plugging into the monitor, where do I begin? This card has 6! Yes 6 slots on the back for monitors and it can support 6 monitors too I believe. The only problem with that was I don't have 6 monitors to test it out so please do not take my word for it. Here is a list of the sockets on the back.
- 4 x Display port.
This will support full 1080p using the DVI ports so you don't have to worry about that, also you get a DVI-HDMI adapter with this card in the box which is really neat as this allows you to use a standard HDMI to HDMI port if you have that on your monitor.
This graphics card uses PCI Express 2.1 so a little better than the standard 2.0 but it will fit in the 2.0 slot. It has 2GB of GDDR5 memory; this is really impressive and is double what I have on my 560Ti. The clock speed is 5000MHz so not as quick as my GeForce but still really good. It has a max resolution of 2560x1600 I believe if you use the DVI-D port.
This boasts super allow power meaning that it can run at much higher temperatures and maintain its power, but that's not necessary when ASUS have added the dual fan design and the copper pipe which has direct contact with the GPU which keeps the card up to 20% cooler than its predecessor. This is factory overclocked meaning they have done it for you professionally and it will maintain this speed safely, you can choose to overclock it some more but that is at your own risk.
Of course all of the things that you expect to find in a high end graphics card is here it does support DirectX 11 and CrossfireX and 3D gaming. In the specifications department this card is the bees knees and I'm really impressed with the way AMD and ASUS have produces this card.
The all-important testing is here, I ran several games on this to compare against my 560Ti so here's my results.
On battlefield 3 I played this on high settings and had a solid 60 fps, this did not dip at all and I was fully immersed into the game. The graphics were crisp they were clear and the effect were excellent playing this game was a delight on this card.
Star Wars: The Old Republic, not a heavy game to play but I did play it smoothly at max settings and had no problems here. In fact every game I threw at this card, it just played them all on high settings with incredible ease and my thermal management told me that the card never went higher than 60% which is a lot cooler than my 560Ti will run.
I tested out the 3D on this card and it was really good, there are other cards that i have used that are impossible to play 3D on because they make the game really choppy and slow. This inst the case here though as this card played a few games in 3D without loosing much performance, there was still a dip in fps in some areas where game play became a bit hectic though.
This is a fantastic card I really can't fault AMD and ASUS here, in my opinion its slightly better than my 560Ti but not by much, this also costs around £40 more than that card so if I had to choose between the two I would still go with my NVidia just because you're not really gaining anymore performance wise for that much money. But you know what it still doesn't change the fact that this is an incredible card and if the price comes down soon then I may replace my current card for this one but until then. This will set you back around £220 which is very expensive, it's all down to you as the consumer do you want to go with AMD or NVidia?