Test Setup

The boards were tested in single card configurations, though the R6970 obviously is Crossfire capable.  My graphics testbed differs greatly from Ryan’s, as I use an AMD based system running the Phenom II X6 processor.  At the resolutions and quality settings that I am using, the CPU should not be the bottleneck when looking at overall performance.

The PCB is notched near the backplate, and the two Crossfire connectors sit on that.  MSI utilized all that extra PCB space to pack in the PWMs.

The board was tested against the GTX 480, HD 6950, and the HD 5870.  Since the core clock is only 40 MHz faster than a stock HD 6970, we would expect to see less than 5% difference between the boards in most applications.  The latest Catalyst drivers are much more optimized for the VLIW4 architecture, and as such we see the HD 6970 surpass that of the GTX 480 and GTX 570 cards, but still cannot quite catch up to the GTX 580.

We could have done without as much shroud back here, as it would have saved a good half inch of space for clearance purposes.  Then again, if that extra space is used as protection for the heatsink and fan wires, then I can understand the decision.

The new Antec HCP-1200 power supply is probably one of the best on the market.  It provides a lot of clean power, and is easy to configure so the different components can run off of different 12v rails.  For this test I used two different rails to power the 8 pin PCI-E plugs, and these were isolated from all other components in the system.

The back is pretty busy as well, and we can see the four Proadlyzers leading to the GPU and memory.

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
Asus Crosshair IV Extreme Motherboard
2 x 2GB OCZ Platinum DDR-3 1600 memory with timings @ 1333 MHz
Antec HCP-1200 Power Supply
Sliverstone Raven-002 Case
WD Caviar Black 1 TB SATA 6G Drive
Lite-On BD-ROM
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
Catalyst 11.4 Hotfix Driver
NVIDIA 266.58 WHQL Drivers

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