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Sapphire HD 6970 2GB Dual Fan Graphic Card

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Introduction to the Sapphire HD 6970 2GB Dual Fan Graphic Card

With the "Cayman" GPU architecture from AMD came two very good video card models: the Radeon HD 6950 and the 6970. These have both been excellent sellers for AMD and product partners. We recently took a look at one model of Radeon HD 6950 and we determined it offered solid performance for the money. Yet, when Sapphire asked if we'd review the faster Radeon HD 6970, we would be foolish to turn it down.

If you were to take a look over at Sapphire’s website you will see several Radeon HD 6970 listed, 7 to be exact. Which, besides a possible bundled game, you may want to know what exactly the real differences between the models are. To put it briefly, all have a standard 880MHz core and 2GB of GDDR5 memory; some have a game bundle, some don't; but primarily it is a difference in the equipped cooler. That last one is where today's review sample comes in. It has dual fans to help with sound reduction, as well as better cooling in conjunction with the 8mm & 6mm heat pipes. There is also the dual BIOS switch, something normally available on many Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6990 models. We will get more into this during the review process, but felt we should break down what makes this model stand out.

Sapphire’s take on the Radeon HD 6970 Dual Fan

The new SAPPHIRE HD 6970 has the same internal architecture as the standard model, with 1536 stream processors and 96 texture processing units, and clock speeds are 880MHz for the core and 1375 MHz (5.5Gb/sec effective) for the 2GB of GDDR5 memory. This new design has two 90mm fans with thin impellers that can move the same amount of air at 10% lower rotation speeds than conventional fans, keeping noise low, and their special dust repelling bearings contribute to high reliability.

With the Dual BIOs set to the standard position, the Dual fans keep this model quiet and up to 25% cooler than the standard model even under load conditions. With the BIOS switched to the performance setting, the core voltage of the GPU is raised to 1.2V, the fan speed is set to a high performance profile and the power tune adjustment for overclocking is raised to 50% allowing the user to maximize performance of the card by increasing clock speeds either with AMD Overdrive or with SAPPHIRE TriXX up to a ceiling of 1500MHz core, 2000MHz memory.