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Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 Toxic Edition

As the third part of the Scorpius Platform we of course have AMD based graphics cards and for the purpose of this review we have chosen to use the recently released Sapphire 6950 Toxic due to some excellent enthusiast features.

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Sapphire package their Toxic card in a reflective box which outlines some of the key features of the card. Inside the bundled items include the standard software disc, DVI to VGA adapter and power cables along with a crossfire bridge. Sapphire don’t stop there though as they also include a voucher to sign up for their Select Club for free software and giveaways, a HDMI 1.4a cable, mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter and finally a voucher for a copy of DiRT 3. In some regions consumers will also get a free copy of Deus EX Human Revolution.

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Sapphire use a custom blue PCB for their 6950 Toxic Edition and attached to the front is a dual slot cooler which has a new design which we have not seen before from Sapphire. There are no components of note on the back of the PCB however on the top edge we find a Crossfire connector and beside it a dual BIOS switch which Sapphire have provided so that enthusiasts can take advantage of a key feature, unlocked shaders. More on that shortly.

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Sapphire provide us with five outputs on this 6950 and those who like Eyefinity setups will be pleased to know that 3×1 configurations (5760×1080) are supported. The first two outputs are mini-DisplayPort, then we have HDMI 1.4a followed by two dual link DVIs one of which can be converted to VGA using the bundled dongle. This is a configuration which should meet the needs of most consumers. To assist the PCIe 2.0 connector in powering the card we have a 6-pin and an 8-pin connector which point out the top of the card.

Sapphire set their Toxic version of the 6950 to 880MHz core with the 2GB of DDR5 memory on a 256-bit bus set to 1300MHz. There are 1408 unified shaders by default and 32 ROPS within the 40nm core but a quick flick of the switch on the top of the card and we enable a 1536 shader configuration, the same as a 6970. DirectX 11 and DirectCompute are all supported on this card as is acceleration of high definition content. The 6950 Toxic Edition can also output 7.1 audio over HDMI including DTS Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD.

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Shown above is are the two GPUz shots for the 6950, one for each BIOS. We also noted that in order to get maximum performance from the card we had to enable extra power in the AMD control panel so recommend all users do the same.

As well as having a great feature in the enhanced BIOS we were also pleased to see that the 6950 Toxic also runs very quiet and an example of the maximum fan noise we registered is shown above.

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The final item worthy of note on the Toxic Edition of the 6950 is that it is compatible with Sapphires excellent TriXX utility which allows us to monitor the card and tweak it further should we feel the need.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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