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AMD Radeon HD 6970 & Radeon HD 6950

AMD Radeon HD 6970 & Radeon HD 6950 - Last month, Nvidia launched its GeForce GTX 580, but we told you to hold off on buying it. A week ago, Nvidia launched GeForce GTX 570 and we again said "wait." AMD's Cayman was our impetus. Were Radeon HD 6970 and 6950 worth the wait? Read on for more!

In the world of high-end hardware, waiting for the next great thing means reading about a lot of technology and never actually buying a new piece of gear. That’s no way to enjoy your favorite games though, is it?

Sometimes the wait is worth it, though. Last week was a perfect example. Nvidia launched its GeForce GTX 570, but we already knew AMD’s Radeon HD 6970 and 6950 boards had shipped out, FedEx Next Day Air. How could we not recommend waiting to see how these boards would compare? The very same morning, AMD launched a refresh on its Phenom II and Athlon II processors, incrementing clock rate. But we have Intel’s Sandy Bridge-based CPUs up and running in the lab. Again—why wouldn’t you wait a couple of weeks to see how they stack up?

AMD Radeon HD 6970 & Radeon HD 6950

I was particularly interested in the performance of the Radeon HD 6970 and 6950, the two cards AMD had shipped so urgently. Whereas the Barts GPUs used to build Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 centered on the same VLIW5 architecture that earned Radeon HD 5870 a place in infamy, the Cayman GPU consolidates functionality into a VLIW4 design, incorporating fewer ALUs per thread processor, but improving performance per square millimeter of die space. How would that translate to the experience you get when you plug a 6900-series card into your system? Well, since Cayman is larger than Cypress, we have to assume it’s also going to be faster.

AMD Radeon HD 6970 & Radeon HD 6950

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