The ASUS HD6970 Box
ASUS have kept to their traditional red and black themed box as we have seen previously with the HD5870 review a year ago and more recently the EAH6850 review. The packaging depicts a rampaging horseman symbolising ASUSís dominance and power. The highlight of the ASUS card is its unique voltage tweaking capability, shown on the front. The utility is claimed to potentially increase performance by 50% but this is most likely attributed to the increased overclocking headroom as opposed to actual performance. Some of the key features of the HD6970 are illustrated above the model name, such as support for Eyefinity and the 2GB of on-board memory. ASUS have pre-overclocked mildly by 10MHz on the core and in the words of a famous supermarket chain, ďevery little countsĒ.
The back of the box and specifications
The back of the box is more informative and covers some of the cardís key characteristics is greater depth. At the top, the features are listed in 11 languages whilst below that are illustrations of Eyefinity in action and the Voltage Tweak tool, as well a short description of their benefits. Additionally there is an illustration of the different display connectors that can be found on the cardís I/O panel.
A closer look at the features
Looking closer, we see that the new card was built with 2GB GDDR5 RAM for immersive gameplay coupled with Eyefinity technology. Voltage Tweaking has been one of ASUSís dominating features since the launch of their HD5870 a year ago and itís good to see that its implementation still appears on all their high end offerings. Voltages can be adjusted using the bundled SmartDoctor application and ASUS claim that the increased overclocking headroom can achieve up to 50% better performance. In reality, this will not be possible but the feature is still a welcomed addition.
The interior box
Upon opening the box, we are greeted with another one emblazoned with the gold ASUS emblem right in the middle. Inside are two compartments, one holding the manual and driver disk, and the other containing the accessories. The graphics card is neatly wrapped in a protective anti-static bag, enclosed within foam padding.
The top compartment is reserved to the accessories and installation guide. Included are:
- 1 x Dual 6 Pin to 8 Pin power adapter
- 1 Crossfire Bridge
- 1 x Multi-lingual quick-installation guide
- Driver disc
The bundle is fairly mundane and despite 2 mini DisplayPort connectors on the card, no adapters have been provided to ensure compatibility with regular DisplayPort cables. Another omitted accessory is a DVI to VGA adapter. Given that most high end monitors have DVI ports, itís not a significant oversight.
The HD6970 2GB
The HD6970 follows on the same design as the reference HD6950 we saw a week back, as can be seen from the rectangular "ribbed" shroud and the standard blower type cooler. ASUS have customised the card with a red striped spanning the length of the graphics card and their emblem snugly stuck in the corner. Their minimalistic approach is unlike the vibrant design of the HIS HD6950 but it still remains appealing. The card is 27.4cm in length.
The back of the card
The back of the card is covered by a metal backplate. The purpose is for additional cooling as well as support for the weight of the card. The heatsink on top is secured by the X shaped bracket and 4 spring loaded screws. To remove the shroud and cooler, itís a simple task of undoing the 10 screws at the back and two more from the I/O plate. Removing the shroud is not covered under warranty so be great care has to be taken.