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ASUS 6950 and 6970 DirectCU II

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Posted March 11, 2011 by Jake in Video Cards

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by Jake
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Summary

As we saw in testing, both the ASUS 6950 and 6970 DirectCU II models are very capable gaming cards and will provide sufficient horsepower in modern game titles. The 6970 matched the GTX 570 for the most part, failing only where game titles seems to specifically prefer Nvidia cards over their AMD counterparts. And the 6950 wasn’t far off the pace, just behind the 570 and ahead of the 560 Ti, again making an impressive showing on the whole.

In terms of features, voltage tweaking ability is an important selling point to many enthusiasts when deciding which manufacturer’s card to choose. Likely more important, however, are the impressively low temperatures and noise levels which are a significant improvement over the reference design. ASUS has really nailed a winner with the DirectCU II heatsink over its predecessor. However, the tradeoff is these cards are HUGE. Truly massive, really, as they’re the biggest single-GPU cards we’ve ever seen. You’ll certainly need a spacious case to fit these behemoths inside. And if you decide to go with two? Well then, you probably have a pair of steel clankers like Duke Nukem and we salute you.

Lastly, that brings us to value. The ASUS DirectCU II cards are the most expensive models available in their class, with the 6950 priced around $325 USD, while the 6970 version costs about $385. This represents about a $25 premium over the respective overclocked reference cards. We do think there is good value for that extra, considering the voltage tweaking ability, improved power design, lower temperatures and noise levels.

However, a GTX 570 can be found for $350, priced right between these 6900 cards but generally offering better performance overall. The exception here is the Eyefinity 6 feature being offered out of the box, so that’s worth something in our opinion, but the market for six displays is extremely small, and if you can afford six screens then a few extra bucks on a graphics card is simply not on your radar anyways.

The ASUS 6950 and 6970 DirectCU II cards are big, brash, and bold in terms of size, cooling prowess, lower noise levels, and voltage tweaking capabilities. We love that ASUS is making a strong statement with these cards, but they do come with a few detractions, not the least of which is price. You will pay a premium for those features but if you don’t mind paying for some bragging rights or peace of mind, then we do recommend these cards.

ASUS Radeon 6950 DirectCU II

ASUS Radeon 6970 DirectCU II

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