AMD should undoubtedly be pleased with what it has achieved with the Radeon HD6970 graphics card.
AMD and nVidia’s top-end graphics cards take quite opposite approaches to rendering. AMD’s designs are generally simpler and less powerful, but cost less to build, which is why they sometimes offer better value for money.
There are only 512 stream processors in nVidia’s GTX 580 cards, but they’re faster than AMD’s, running at 1544MHz. The 6970 has 1536 steam processors, running at 880MHz. Likewise, the GTX 580 has more rasterisers, more tessellation units and a wider 384-bit memory interface, delivering 192GB/sec of memory bandwidth.
In comparison, the 6970 only has a 256-bit memory interface. The memory runs faster though, at 1375MHz (5.5GHz effective), providing a total memory bandwidth of 176GB/sec. This raises its performance enough to give it some serious clout in games. The 6970 packs 2.6 billion transistors onto its PCB, and is capable of a texture throughput of 84.5GT/sec.Thus variant of Radeon HD6970 that HIS has created uses a customised IceQ cooler, with four copper heat pipes protruding from the side of the card, and the company claims its card runs 23 degrees cooler than a standard Radeon HD6970. It’s also factory overclocked, with the memory running at 1400MHz (5.6GHz effective) and its core clock running at 900MHz. As the card has also had a few tweaks to its electronics, it should be possible to overclock it further.
In games, the HIS Radeon HD6970 IceQ managed some impressive performance. It achieved 114fps in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 at 1280 x 1024 and 88fps at 1920 x 1080. In Stalker, it came out slightly ahead of its similarly priced rival, the GeForce GTX 570 at 1920 x 1080, and was significantly faster in Crysis at 1280 x 1024.