As the 6900 series, GTX 500 series and no doubt future generations perform power management in a different way to older cards we have changed the way we test power and temperature levels in our reviews. For idle power we list the full system use at the wall after sitting at the desktop with no activity for 5 minutes. Load power is the highest reading we saw for the full system when testing during this review. Temperatures are taken in the same way. Noise levels are taken after a period of prolonged gaming in a scenario which applied maximum load to the GPU.
Radeon 6950 2GB
GTX 560 Ti OC
In terms of gaming the two different architectures being tested today had their strong points however when it comes to power and temperatures AMD and Sapphire have a clear edge, significantly outperforming the 560 Ti (which also uses a dual fan cooler with copper heatpipes) in three out of the four measured areas.
Sapphire offer their own overclocking software, available to download free, called TriXX. By simply moving a couple of sliders and testing for stability we can enhance the performance of the card significantly with this tool.
Shown below are the maximum overclocks we achieved on our sample and the 3DMark 11 score that this produced.