When NVIDIA set out to build the Kepler GPU architecture more than four years ago, our primary focus was power efficiency. We found that processors were increasingly being limited by the amount of power they could consume and dissipate. The only way to improve performance was to be able to do more work with the same amount of power.
That was our focus with Kepler, and when the GeForce GTX 680 launched last month, reviewers praised not only its record-setting performance, but also its incredible power efficiency.
Based on the Cape Verde XT chipset, the HD 7770 features 640 streaming processors and 1GHz of GDDR5 memory with a 128 bit bus looks to be in close competition of the older Radeon HD 6850 series. We will now put the card through its paces and see just how well it does.
That is when the new low profile Sapphire HD Radeon 6670 comes into play. This card is capable of playing back awesome video with the clearest of audio and at the same time can even game (well to a certain extent). But what most of you will like is what I mention in the first sentence of this paragraph, this card is a low profile single slot unit that can be placed in almost any rig.
If you were to take a look over at Sapphire’s website you will see several Radeon HD 6970 listed, 7 to be exact. Which, besides a possible bundled game, you may want to know what exactly the real differences between the models are. To put it briefly, all have a standard 880MHz core and 2GB of GDDR5 memory; some have a game bundle, some don't; but primarily it is a difference in the equipped cooler. That last one is where today's review sample comes in. It has dual fans to help with sound reduction, as well as better cooling in conjunction with the 8mm & 6mm heat pipes. There is also the dual BIOS switch, something normally available on many Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6990 models. We will get more into this during the review process, but felt we should break down what makes this model stand out.
The Radeon HD 6950 is from the Cayman Pro family that boasts an 800MHz core clock as well as 1250MHz GDDR5 memory clock. This along for many maybe enough to consider the card a worthy purchase but the 1408 shader processors and 2GB of memory definitely does help a lot.
Our sample we are testing today is from ASUS and you know they are not ones to leave reference numbers and parts alone. The Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II increases the stock core clock to 810MHz while the memory clock remains the same. But where this Radeon HD 6950 is in the cooling department which is based on direct heat pipe technology to help keep core clocks are bay.
The Radeon HD 6750 from Sapphire specifications is identical to those of the reference design which would be a 700MHz core clock on 1150MHz memory clock. The unit has 716 million transistors, 36 texture units and 720 stream processors. With such specifications the unit should make for a pretty decent but lower end gaming machine.
So as a new day dawns, we see yet another mid-range GPU being released; the new Nvidia GTX 560. Equipped with reference clock speeds, this new card runs at a respectable 810MHz on the core clock and 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 2004MHz (4008MHz effective) fed by a 256bit bus. Last, but not least, the 336 CUDA cores which scream along at 1620MHz.
The first model we get to play with today is the one from our friends at Gigabyte. Follow along as we dig into it and test it's metal against the competition.