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ASUS Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II Video Card

ASUS Radeon HD  DirectCu IIThe 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.

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ASUS Radeon HD DirectCu II

ASUS Radeon HD DirectCu IIThe 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.

 

Introduction to the ASUS Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II Video Card

It seems that every time we turn around there a new PC component that is new to the market that we must have. Just recently we see that AMD just received a new processor featuring quad-cores, Intel is right around the corner (we hope) with their new offering and before we can blank we will probably be seeing new Radeon 7xxx series graphic cards as well as Nvidia 7xx family models.

Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of upgrading to the newest and faster product, will when I can afford them. But before we see these new GPUs, the current units are doing an awfully good job of performing and blasting through today’s video cards as well as other highly graphic utilized applications.

One of these graphic cards would be the Radeon HD 6950 from AMD. This particular GPU is considered by many to be the best band-for-the-buck cards out there. We won’t agree or disagree until we get a chance to put it on the bench.

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.

Specifications

Graphics EngineAMD Radeon HD 6950
Bus StandardPCI Express 2.1
Video MemoryGDDR5 2GB
Engine Clock810 MHz
Memory Clock5000 MHz ( 1250 MHz GDDR5 )
Memory Interface256-bit
ResolutionD-Sub Max Resolution : 2048×1536
DVI Max Resolution : 2560×1600
InterfaceDVI Output : Yes x 1 (DVI-I),Yes x 1 (DVI-D)
HDMI Output : Yes x 1 (via DVI to HDMI adaptor x 1 )
Display Port : Yes x 4 (Regular DP)
HDCP Support : Yes
Accessories1 x CrossFire cable
1 x Power cable
1 x DVI to HDMI adaptor
SoftwareASUS Utilities & Driver
ASUS FeaturesDirectCU Series
Super Alloy Power
Dimensions11.7 ” x 5 ” Inch
NoteTo have the best cooling performance, ASUS EAH6950 DCII/2DI4S/2GD5 extends the Fansink to 2.5 slot, please check your motherboard slot before Crossfire
8pin + 6pin Power connector is required for best performance

Features

  • Speed up heat dissipation with 600% more airflow via exclusive DirectCU with dual fan design
  • Expand your visual horizon across six monitors with four native DisplayPort outputs
  • Super Alloy Power technology delivers 15% Performance boost, 2.5 longer lifespan, 35C cooler operation
  • Crank up 50% faster clock speed with exclusive Voltage Tweak

AMD Feature list for the Radeon HD 6950

  • Up to 800MHz Engine Clock
  • 2GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 1250MHz Memory Clock (5.0 Gbps GDDR5)
  • 160 GB/s memory bandwidth (maximum)
  • 2.25 TFLOPs Single Precision compute power
  • 562.5 GFLOPs Double Precision compute power
  • Double slot form factor
  • TeraScale 3 Unified Processing Architecture
    • 1408 Stream Processors
    • 88 Texture Units
    • 128 Z/Stencil ROP Units
    • 32 Color ROP Units
  • High Speed 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface
  • PCI Express 2.1 x16 bus interface
  • “Eye-Definition” graphics
    • New and advanced architecture
      • Full DirectX® 11 support
      • Scalable geometry processing technology
      • Shader Model 5.0
      • DirectCompute 11
      • Dual advanced programmable hardware tessellation units
      • Accelerated multi-threading
      • HDR texture compression
      • Order-independent transparency
    • OpenGL 4.1 support
    • Image quality enhancement technology
      • Up to 24x multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing modes
      • Adaptive anti-aliasing
      • Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA)
      • Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA)
      • 16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
      • 128-bit floating point HDR rendering
  • AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology1
    • Native support for up to 4 simultaneous displays
      • Up to 6 displays supported with DisplayPort 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport
    • Independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays
    • Display grouping
      • Combine multiple displays to behave like a single large display
  • AMD App Acceleration2
    • AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology3,4
      • OpenCL 1.1 Support
      • DirectCompute 11
      • Double Precision Floating Point
      • Accelerated video encoding, transcoding, and upscaling
    • UVD 3 dedicated video playback accelerator
      • MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
      • VC-1
      • MPEG-2 (SD & HD)
      • Multi-View Codec (MVC)
      • MPEG-4 part 2 (DivX, Xvid)
      • Adobe Flash
    • Enhanced Video Quality features
      • Advanced post-processing and scaling
      • Dynamic contrast enhancement and color correction
      • Brighter whites processing (Blue Stretch)
      • Independent video gamma control
      • Dynamic video range control
    • Dual-stream HD (1080p) playback support
    • DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support
  • AMD HD3D technology5
    • Stereoscopic 3D display/glasses support
    • Blu-ray 3D support
    • Stereoscopic 3D gaming
    • 3rd party Stereoscopic 3D middleware software support
  • AMD CrossFireX™ multi-GPU technology6
    • Dual, triple or quad-GPU scaling
  • Cutting-edge integrated display support
    • DisplayPort 1.2
      • Max resolution: 2560×1600 per display
      • Multi-Stream Transport
      • 21.6 Gbps bandwidth
      • High bit-rate audio
    • HDMI 1.4a with Stereoscopic 3D Frame Packing Format, Deep Color, xvYCC wide gamut support, and high bit-rate audio
      • Max resolution: 1920×1200
    • Dual-link DVI with HDCP
      • Max resolution: 2560×1600
    • VGA
      • Max resolution: 2048×1536
  • Integrated HD audio controller
    • Output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI with no additional cables required
    • Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio formats
  • AMD PowerPlay™ power management technology3
    • AMD PowerTune technology
      • Intelligent power management hardware
    • Dynamic power management with low power idle state
    • Ultra-low power state support for multi-GPU configurations
  • AMD Catalyst™ graphics and HD video configuration software
    • Software support for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
    • AMD Catalyst™ Control Center – AMD Catalyst™ software application and user interface for setup, configuration, and accessing features of AMD Radeon products.
    • Unified Graphics display driver – AMD Catalyst™ software enabling other PC programs and devices to use advanced graphics, video, and features of AMD Radeon™ products.
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Closer look

As you can see from the images below the ASUS Direct CU II is a hefty card when talking about overall size. And the reason for that would be the large fan shroud and the rest of the heat sink assembly that is to protect and keep the card cool. When most of the Radeon HD 6950 only is dual slot situations the ASUS offering is a triple slot one. Meaning more slots on the motherboard will be taken up and airflow may suffer depending on the slot arrangement on your motherboard. But we are thinking the dual fans may help in that area.

And speaking of fans the DirectCU II uses two 100mm cooling fan to help the cooling efficiency of the entire cooling system. The fans are made to blow over the internal workings of the video card. The way the shroud is designed the air is forced out the rear of the card. Keeping as much hot air of the case.

This card like all HD 6950 supports up to four cards being connection all at once resulting in quad-Crossfire. But because of the triple slot cooling assembly many motherboards will not support four of these resulting in dual- or triple-Crossfire being a better solution if you want to use these particular cards.

The reference version of the HD 6950 has dual 6-pin power connectors and requires atleast a good 500 watt power supply. ASUS up the ante with the Direct CU II as it requires a single 6-pin and a single 8-pin connector.

The inputs on the rear of the card are very plentiful as there is a DVI-D and DVI-I connection as well as four Display Port plugs. VGA and HDMI can be converted to using included adapters. And no Radeon card is a real gaming card without the Eyefinity feature which this particular card supports up to six monitors at once.

Now, with the card disassembled we can saw you just what the cooling solution is all about. The base of the cooler that comes in contact with the GPU’s core features the direct heat pipe technology that some CPU cooler utilize. In this case there are five heat pipes that have a small gap of aluminum between each. The heat pipe throws through two series of aluminum fins which helps to dissipate the heat build-up by the GPU core. According to ASUS the combination of fans, shroud and heat sick design result in 20% better cooling and 600% airflow.

Next, we have the card in its birthday suit. And after seeing many video cards in my life time the first thing that stood out to me was the four white ledges and metal-like outer ring that surround the corner of the GPU. This is to keep the user from destroying the GPU when applying after coolers. ASUS calls this GPU Guard.

The card is made up of high quality capacitors, MOSFETs and chokes. The makeup of these components ASUS calls Super Alloy Power as they use a company researched alloy mix to run cooler, boost performance and last longer. Some ASUS motherboards like the R3E and Rampage Black Edition share these same chokes.

Looking at the reverse side of the card you can see there is a fair share of resistors located near the GPU area. ASUS did this to make the traces closer to the GPU for better latency.

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Software Applications

GPU Tweak

The first application and the most important one would be GPU Tweak. This is one nifty little application that does quite a few things eliminating the need to look toward other applications to accomplish a goal. First, it is a full feature overclocking utility. It not only allows the user to adjust core frequency and memory speeds but voltages and usage for VID, FB and GPU. A lot any other overclocking app it keeps an watchful eye on temperatures. GPU-Z is built into the app as well to give you all the information would need for your video card.

Test Hardware:

Motherboard: ASUS P67 Deluxe B3
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz w/ 1.3 voltages
Ram: Crucial 2133 4GB Dual Channel (9-10-9-28)
Video Card: ASUS Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II
HDD: Hitachi 1TB
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 850 (Sponsored by Thermaltake)
Case: Open air
Cooling: Prolimatech Panther

Testing Software:

Futuremark 3DMark11: Performance and Extreme
Stalker: Call of Pripkat: Ultra, 1920×1200, 4xAA, Max FPS Recorded
Heaven 2.5: DirectX 11, 1920×1200, 2xAA, 4xAF, Tessellation Normal, Max FPS Recorded
Alien vs. Predator: 1920×1200, 2xAA, 16xAF, Tessellation On, Average FPS Recoded
Devil May Cry: DirectX10, 1920×1200, 4xAA, Texture Super High
ARMA 2: 1920×1080, High
Final Fantasy 14: Hyur, 1920×1080
Dirt 2: 1920×1200, 4xAA, Preset High, Average FPS Recorded
Hard Rest: 1920×1200, 8AF

Drivers:

Windows Seven Ultimate 7 64-bit
ATI Cat 11.11

Futuremark 3DMark 11
Your PC’s performance is determined by the interactions between different hardware components, the operating system and the type and amount of software running. A benchmark provides a set of performance tests that can be repeated with a high degree of accuracy on a wide range of computer hardware.
3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the graphics performance of gaming PCs.
Designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista the benchmark includes six all new benchmark tests that make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
After running the tests 3DMark gives your system a score with larger numbers indicating better performance. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

GSC Game World S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
We are glad to present you a special version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Having your PC tested with benchmark you will be able to get detailed information about its performance on various graphical modes and find out how well your system is balanced for gaming and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat in particular.
This benchmark is based on one of the ingame locations – Pripyat . The testing process includes four stages, those utilizing various weather and time of the day settings (day, night, rain, bright sun). In order to test your system thoroughly the benchmark is provided with a number of presets and options including different versions of DirectX (9.0, 10.0, 11), screen resolutions, antialiasing etc, all at your disposal.

Capcom Devil May Cry 4
Long ago the Dark Knight Sparda rebelled against the dark emperor and waged a one-man war to save humanity. Thousands of years later, a religious organization worships this renowned savior and has taken it upon themselves to rid the world of all evil. Residing in Fortuna, this organization is known as the “Order of the Sword,” and is made up of an elite group of “Holy Knights.” One day, a young knight named Nero witnesses Sparda’s legendary son Dante slaughter his fellow warriors. Has the renowned devil hunter turned his back on mankind? What does the encounter mean for these two individuals?

Unigine Heaven 2.5
New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

Codemasters Dirt 2
DiRT 2 will feature a roster of contemporary off-road events, taking players to the most diverse and challenging real-world environments. This World Tour will have players competing in aggressive multi-car and intense solo races at extraordinary new locations, from canyon racing and jungle trails to city stadium-based events.
To be powered by the third generation of the EGO™ Engine’s award-winning racing game technology, DiRT 2 will benefit from tuned-up car-handling physics system and new damage engine effects. It will also showcase a spectacular new level of visual fidelity, with cars and tracks twice as detailed as those seen in GRID.
DiRT 2’s garage  houses a best-in-class collection of officially licensed rally cars and off-road vehicles, specifically selected to deliver aggressive and fast paced racing. Covering seven vehicle classes, players will be given the keys to powerful vehicles right from the off. In DiRT 2 the opening drive is the Group N Subaru; essentially making the ultimate car from the original game the starting point in the sequel and the rides just get even more impressive.
In addition to the World Tour, DiRT 2 will come complete with full online functionality that will be core to the overall experience, with head-to-head competitive online play and new social features to engage the racing community. Prepare for mud, gravel, dust and dirt too in DiRT 2, coming 2009.

Square Enix Final Fantasy XiV
FINAL FANTASY XIV takes the first intrepid steps into an unknown realm, and in doing soa new place for adventurers of all creeds to call home is born — Eorzea.
In the world of Hydaelyn, the term Eorzea denotes the geographical region comprised of the continent of ldenard and its surrounding islands, as well as the civilization which spawned there. Calling the area home are several independent city-states,the most notable being Limsa Lominsa, bustling port and pirate hub;Ul’dah, a desert city rich in mineral wealth; Gridania, nested deep within an ageless wood; and Ishgard, bastion atop the mountains.

Sega Alien versus Predator
Aliens vs. Predator is an entirely new title for PC and high-definition consoles from acclaimed British developer Rebellion, the team behind the 1999 original PC gaming classic. Bringing the legendary war between two of science-fiction’s most popular characters to FPS fans, AvP delivers three outstanding single player campaigns and provides untold hours of unique 3-way multiplayer gaming. Experience distinctly new and thrilling first person gameplay as you survive, hunt and prey in the deadly jungles and swamps surrounding the damned colony of Freya’s Prospect.

Bohemia ARMA 2
Reinforcements brings two independent factions – British Armed Forces and Private Military Company – onto one DVD. Play it separately in a non-linear campaign or join friends in multiplayer battles with up to 50 players and hundreds of AI units. Find out the sequential dramatic events of Takistan, originally described in Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead.
Deploy a mechanized division of British Armed Forces to reinforce coalition troops battling a large-scale outbreak of guerilla insurgency, or join Private Military Company, recently contracted, to protect a UN weapons inspection team in Takistan.

Flying Wild Hogs
Thee world as we know it ceased to exist. Humanity is at the verge of extinction, living in the last closed city of Bezoar. Mankind wages war against the machines controlling vast areas of what became the ‘Barrens’. Machines want to control and assimilate ‘The Sanctuary’ a network that holds billions of digitalized human minds. Our hero, Maj. Fletcher, is a soldier of CLN – a corporation combat unit, established to protect the city. Machines are constantly assaulting the walls of Bezoar. Fletcher moves in when Bezoar’s protective barrier is breached.

Overclocking

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Getting an etra 100MHz on a GPU core to us is very good. This is like jumping a level in video cards for free. Wll almost. With the help of ASUS GPU Tweak, we were able to get the card to 916 Core clock at just 1100mV.

Power Consumption

Conclusion

The ASUS Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II is one hell of a card. To be blunt it is just beastly. And we are not just talking about the fact that it is a triple slot GPU, but the performance was just incredible. And then the fact it is a huge card in size. But if one thing can be said about the card is ASUS put just as much thought in it as they do their higher-end motherboard.

This card also overclocks with the best of them. Yes, put of the box the card comes clocked at 810MHz for the Core clock. But with the help of the ASUS GPU Tweak application we were able to get it to an incredible 916MHz. I am sure more could have gotten out of it, if we wanted to listen to some more of the fan noise. But at 75% fan speed we were satisfied.

A large of the reason the card can clock as high as it does is due to the cooling system. The DirectCU II is large and you may only be able to fit two of these in one system due to the territory it takes you. The combination of the copper heat pipes, two stage aluminum fin array and the direct contact base is better than most after-market coolers out there.

This ASUS offering will set you back about $285 or so, which is about $40 more than some other Radeon HD 6950 cards. But there is a couple of things one should remember if they are considering this card. You do get 2GB of DGGR5 memory, slight overclocking, a great cooling system and the ASUS rep.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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