As it might have been expected, the reduced amount of onboard graphics memory does not affect the performance of the Radeon HD 6950. It is only at the resolution of 2560x1600 in Crysis Warhead and StarCraft II that we could spot a small performance degradation that amounted to a mere 9 and 6%, respectively. Thus, the two versions of Radeon HD 6950, with 1 GB and 2 GB of onboard memory, are in fact equals in today’s games.
Is there any point in buying the more expensive version? It does not offer any benefits for games because most of them are quite satisfied with 1 gigabyte of onboard graphics memory. Perhaps there are some GPGPU applications that might put 2 GB of memory to use, but you may want a specialized professional solution in that case.
It is clear that the Radeon HD 6950 2GB can hardly survive in the gaming market. Priced at $299, it is squeezed between the faster GeForce GTX 570 and the less expensive GeForce GTX 560 Ti. The Radeon HD 6950 1GB fits this niche much better, being cheaper than the former and faster than the latter solution from Nvidia. You can see that in the summary diagrams:
First of all, the Radeon HD 6950 1GB can boast an advantage of 8-30% over the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, depending on the resolution. We even see a twofold advantage in some applications which are obviously optimized for AMD products. The new card is also 3-10% behind the GeForce GTX 570, depending on the resolution. Again, the gap can be as large as 40% in certain situations, so you should check out the performance of the cards in the particular games you are going to play. As for overclocking, our sample of the PowerColor card got 2 to 14% faster at the overclocked frequencies, depending on the game and resolution.
PowerColor HD6950 1 GB Summary
Talking about PowerColor’s version of Radeon HD 6950 1GB that we used in our tests, we can say that it’s really worth its price. Although it cannot boast high overclockability or rich accessories, it delivers high performance in today’s games and has acceptable thermal and noise characteristics. In other words, the PowerColor HD6950 1GB is a regular graphics card without extraordinary features, yet also without obvious downsides. It can be recommended to every gamer who's shopping in the sub-$300 category.
- High performance in its class;
- Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
- Best quality of anisotropic filtering in the industry;
- Supports up to 6 monitors;
- Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding, including DivX and 3D;
- High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability;
- Integrated sound core with HD support;
- Sound over HDMI;
- HDMI 1.4a;
- DisplayPort 1.2;
- Highly efficient cooling system;
- Low noise.
- Modest overclocking potential;
- Supports less GPGPU-accelerated software than the competitors.