First things first, a default 6950 is clocked at 800MHz Core and 1.25GHz (5Ghz effective) Memory. The HIS 6950 IceQ X Turbo X 2GB Graphics Card comes out-of-the-box at a hefty 880MHz and a with a relatively mild 1.30GHz (5200MHz effective) memory. HIS have put quite a bit of headroom in the Catalyst Control Center with a possible 950MHz Core and up to 1350 for the Memory.
I wasn’t expecting too much from a regular overclock with this card as HIS have already raised the bar quite high already. However, a nice 930 on the core was really surprising, and as you can see in the graph below, provided a nice boost in games in-conjunction with the memory being raised to 1350.
I was hoping to squeeze some more out of the card with a little voltage tweaking, however this wasn’t possible. I tried various different overclocking software and none would allow me to alter the voltage, with some not even monitoring the voltage.
The next question I know some will ask is what about shader unlocking? The 6950 by default has a shader count of 1408, and since the 6950 has been released, many have been unlocking the GPU’s shaders to that of the 6970. Again, this isn’t something that can be done with this card I have here, and it appears that many new 6950 cards can no longer be unlocked.
Temperatures remained excellent throughout testing. At idle, the card sits around the 47C area. Under load, the usual number is 69C, and this didn’t change when overclocking. The highest recorded temperature I saw was only 72C, and the fan speed remained very quiet as well. It did in fact stay quieter than the 6850 IceQ X we reviewed a little while ago, and that was not a loud card by any standard.
The is a really great card. It’s not perfect, but some of the things that stop it from reaching perfection are to be expected (unable to unlock the extra shaders, no voltage tweaking) whilst others are a little disappointing (no secondary BIOS or switch for such).
Still, there is plenty to be positive about with the though. For one thing, it comes out-of-the-box clocked higher than … well, just about every other card out there. The clock speed matches that of a 6970, and as such, it does sit just behind it in performance for many games.
You don’t get a huge amount with the , but you do get everything you need.
In games, there is a definite difference in performance between a standard HD 6950 and the . As always, DirectX 9 games showed the largest difference, but even DirectX 11 games had plenty of room too. The would suit someone who has a large display and doesn’t want to compromise on graphical quality in the most modern of games. If you’re looking at the card for a multi-monitor gaming setup, then again, you won’t be disappointed as long as you are willing to drop down from the maximum in Anti-Aliasing in the most demanding titles.
Newegg are currently selling the at $299 which beats the price of some other cards that don’t run as fast, so we can safely say the price is good. If you’re not the overclocking sort, but fancy a fast card that is already overclocked for you, then the would certainly be a good purchase. If you’re wanting to push the card a little further, this can be done too with the excellent IceQ X cooler keeping things both cool and quiet at all times.