Test Setup and Results: 3D Mark 2011
I again used the AMD based system for this roundup, as it seems most other sites just use the highest end Intel platform they can find. While this does make a difference at low resolutions and lower quality settings, pushing graphics typically makes the CPU choice moot. The Phenom II X6 1100T is more than adequate to push most titles at resolutions above 1680×1050.
I was unable to test CrossFire performance on these cards as I was sent only one sample of each. AMD has done some good things with their designs in regards to Multi-GPU configurations, and the HD 6000 series runs much more efficiently than the previous HD 5000 series did. I certainly am not complaining about this, as it was very generous of Asus to send an example of each of their cards for this roundup.
The AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview drivers were used for this roundup, as the latest 12.2s did not add anything of significance to these tests. The cards themselves were tested in an actual case rather than an open testing station. This gives us a more accurate depiction of how these cards will perform in a well ventilated case. The Silverstone Raven RV02 was used for all tests.
I used the Asus GTX 560 Ti DCII as a comparative card, as its price range sits right in the middle of all of these cards. The results should be very straightforward in that the 6850 < 6870 < 6950 < 6970. What should be looked at is how these cards perform compared to their price level. If a user is only running at 1680×1050 and plays strategy games, why would they purchase a HD 6970 when a HD 6850 would do just as well?
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
Asus SABERTOOTH 990FX Motherboard
2 x 4GB GSkill DDR-3 1600 DIMMS
WD Black Edition 1TB 7200 RPM SATA6G Drive
Antec HCP-1200 Power Supply
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
Catalyst 12.1 Preview
NVIDIA 285.62 WHQL
3D Mark 2011
The latest 3D mark features some heavy DX11 content with plenty of tessellation to make most video cards cry. The Performance preset was used.
We see the two 6800 cards at the bottom, the two 6900 cards at the top, and the GTX 560 Ti being the meat in the AMD sandwich.