Although AMD's Radeon HD 6950 and Radeon HD 6970 are not absolutely superior to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 in sheer speed and cannot match the GeForce GTX 580, except for specific games and benchmarks, these new graphics cards are quite appealing offers due to their lower recommended prices. The Radeon HD 6950 is $50 cheaper than the GeForce GTX 570 whereas the Radeon HD 6970 is $130 cheaper than the GeForce GTX 580. We must note, however, that the actual retail prices may differ from the recommended ones. Besides, both top-end cards from Nvidia are already available whereas the new Radeon HD 69xx series is yet to come to retail stores.
The Radeon HD 6950 is 10-13% slower than the Radeon HD 6970, but this gap can be easily closed by overclocking. Considering the $70 difference in price and the same amount of graphics memory (2 GB), the junior model seems even more appealing than the senior one. Besides, the Radeon HD 6950 has lower temperatures and, consequently, produces less noise, even though we can't call it cold and quiet. Users preferring silent computers should think about replacing the reference cooler, perhaps by installing a water-block. We like that the new graphics cards have a backup BIOS chip, so you won't need a second card to restore the main BIOS chip if it gets corrupt. The new Enhanced Quality AA mode and the power-saving technologies will be discussed in detail in our upcoming reviews.
What's next? Well, we are now waiting for Nvidia's response. Hopefully, it will involve a reduction in GeForce GTX 570 and 580 prices and a release of a GeForce GTX 560 model with attractive price/performance ratio. Tough market competition is always good for end-users, and that's why the Caymans are good, too.