ASUS EAH6970 2GB Review

👤by Sahil Mannick Comments 📅27-12-10
Closer Look

The fan

The fan uses a finned blower design to push air towards the rear of the card and hence out of the case. ASUS have retained the reference AMD Radeon logo on the rotor. The fan supports PWM functionality and can be controlled by users or temperature based profiles.

The Crossfire connectors supporting CrossFireX

Unlike the HD6870, the HD6950 sports two CrossFire connectors on the side for up to 4 graphics card to be used in CrossFireX. The side profile of the shroud is dominated by the ribbed design. There are also vents above the CrossFire connectors where heat can be partially extracted from.

The on-board BIOS switch

A new addition to AMD's graphics card is the BIOS switch shown above. The '1' & '2' labels indicate that users can switch between two BIOS for safer end user update. Since the launch of the HD5870, it has been quite common to see users flash their graphics card to support voltage tweaking or to simply update the BIOS. AMD are ensuring that this process is safer by implementing a protected factory default setting, '2', and an unprotected BIOS, '1', which users can update. The switch is connected directly to the PCB, next to the CrossFire connectors.

One 6-[in and one 8-pin power connectors

Unlike the HD6950, the HD6970 has one 6 pin and one 8 pin PCIe power connectors, immediately suggesting high power draw. These are conveniently situated on the side rather than at the end to ensure that the cables do not get in the way of HDD cages or other components. One dual 6 pin-to-8 pin adapter is bundled for power supplies lacking 8 pin power cables. A minimum 600W power supply with 12V rail current rating of 42A is highly recommended.

The I/O Panel

The rear I/O panel has a wide selection of connectors, more so than on previous reference cards. On the right are two traditional Dual Link DVI-I connectors and for those still using VGA outputs, an adapter is provided. Furthermore, a single HDMI 1.4a port is built in and two mini DisplayPorts supporting the latest 1.2 standard. The ports are an example of AMDs evolution on their display and video decoding features over the HD5XXX series. The main advantage of the new DisplayPort standard is the double bandwidth over the previous 1.1 ports, taking it from 10.8Gbps to 21.6Gbps. In real world applications, it means that a single port can support up to 2 2560x1600 monitors and 4 1920x1200 monitors through daisy chaining or by using an MST hub. The hub means that the card itself no longer has to sport up to 6 individual ports as was found on the Eyefinity6 special edition cards. As such, the two provided ports can easily drive 6 monitors at 1920x1200. If a hub isnt available and daisy chaining not feasible, the 5 ports can still support up to 4 displays in Eyefinity as illustrated at the back of the box. The higher bandwidth of the DP is also relied on for AMDs new 3D stereoscopy initiative. Unfortunately ASUS do not provide adapters for the mini DisplayPorts. Small vents are also present from which heat is exhausted from.

Reference HD6970 vs. HD6950

The HD6970 is 27.4cm in length, the same as the HIS HD6950 which also follows the reference design. The above picture shows the ASUS HD6970 at the top and the HD6950 at the bottom. Its not hard to see that they are identical in design and size. Fortunately, the power connectors have been conveniently placed on the side to allow installation in smaller cases without cables interfering with HDD bays.

HD6970 vs. GTX580

The Nvidia GTX580 in the picture is slightly shorter at 26.8cm, making the AMD card the longest graphics card this generation.

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