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PCB Design

Let’s have a look at the card:

Its face side is covered with a dual-slot Twin Frozr III cooler and its aluminum casing. By the way, the casing makes the card longer by an extra 17 millimeters.

The casing might have been shorter, which would make the card compatible with more system cases (its PCB is only 242 millimeters long whereas the cooler makes it as long as 270 millimeters). On the other hand, we have to acknowledge that it looks stylish.

The R6950 Twin Frozr III 1GD5 Power Edition/OC is equipped with two dual-link DVI-I outputs, one HDMI connector and two mini-DisplayPorts:

Notwithstanding the generous selection of connectors, there is enough space left on the card's mounting bracket for a vent grid. As we found out during our noise level tests, some of the hot air is indeed exhausted through that grid, but most of it is thrown out in the opposite direction.

The graphics card is equipped with two interface connectors for CrossFireX configurations and has two 6-pin power connectors.

  

According to AMD’s specs, the Radeon HD 6950 has a peak power draw of 200 watts in 3D applications (about 140 watts under typical gaming load). However, the MSI card may differ in this respect as it has a custom PCB, increased frequencies and less of onboard memory.

MSI classifies the card's PCB as “Military Class II”, meaning high-quality and durable components, although it looks like a regular second-revision Radeon HD 6950 PCB.

We've got an 8-phase power circuit here: six phases for the GPU and two for the memory chips. The uPI Semiconductor uP6218 controller supports the Triple Over-Voltage feature, which means you can use MSI Afterburner to tweak the card's voltages.

 

There is a small switch near the power connectors in the top part of the PCB. It selects the cooler’s operation mode: Performance or Silence. This in fact selects one of the two BIOS versions. The switch is set at Performance by default.

Manufactured in Taiwan in late January 2011, the Cayman GPU has an open die with a size of 289 sq. mm.

It has a standard Radeon HD 6950 configuration with 1408 shader processors, 88 texture-mapping units and 32 raster back-ends. The GPU frequency is pre-overclocked by 6.3% from 800 to 850 MHz at a voltage of 1.1 volts. The frequency and voltage are reduced to 250 MHz and 0.9 volts in 2D applications.

As opposed to most Radeon HD 6950s, the MSI version comes with 1 rather than 2 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory. The eight FCFBGA-packaged chips located on the face side of the PCB are manufactured by Elpida and marked as W1032BABG-50-F.

This 5ns memory is rated for 5000 MHz but the MSI card clocks it at 5200 MHz, which is 200 MHz higher than the memory frequency of the reference Radeon HD 6950. The clock rate is lowered to 600 MHz in 2D applications. The memory bus is 256 bits wide.

Thus, the R6950 Twin Frozr III 1GD5 Power Edition/OC has the following specifications:

 
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