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Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB DiRT 3 Edition Graphics Card Review


by Stuart Davidson - 25th June 2011
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Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB DiRT 3 Edition Graphics Card Review

Media Playback


3D Blu-Ray Playback: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 3D is encoded in High Definition 1080p format using MPEG4 AVC compression and comes on a dual layer (50GB) disc. The aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is used with letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the 16:9 image. This portion of the movie has an average video bitrate of around 45MBPS and regularly peaks above this making it one of the most demanding Blu-Rays on the market. For comparison, a movie such as Casino Royale has a bitrate of 24MBPS.

Benchmark Results

YouTube HD
In our second playback test we look at 1080p video on YouTube using Google Chrome and the latest Flash Player.

Benchmark Results

HTML 5
In our third playback test we record the maximum CPU use when playing a demanding HTML page in Google Chrome with GPU assistance enabled.

Benchmark Results

Blu-Ray playback is a relatively simple affair on recent AMD hardware, just install the latest drivers then tweak the display settings to the preferred level and run PowerDVD 11 which features support for Blu-Ray 3D. If we want to pass some of the video processing to our GPU we can do so by going into the software options and ticking the hardware acceleration option. With GPU acceleration in place the CPU usage statistic for Blu-Ray 3D playback never rise above 3.5% on our Sapphire system leaving plenty of resources free for other tasks.

Looking next to the web performance, an i7 system is more than capable of handling the latest demanding web content but we see further improvements when adding a Radeon which reduces the CPU use to single figures for HD playback and 12% for a demanding HTML 5 task.
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