Sapphire Radeon 6950 2GB Toxic
Sapphire has taken a great card and made it better here, adding a factory overclock out of the box and including a popular game title in DiRT 3 for free. Moreover, this Toxic card has a little switch along the PCB that can magically allow for a BIOS flash to a 6970. Those characteristics make for a very compelling graphics card no matter how you look at it.
In terms of performance, our results showed a bit of a mixed bag, with a couple game titles where AMD cards tend to struggle overall, and the lack of PhysX and CUDA which are found on Nvidia cards are obviously not available on any AMD cards. However, the overclock on the Toxic does allow it to reach within striking distance of the 6970, creating a very good value for the performance. And that’s not counting any BIOS flash to make it a "real" 6970.
There are a couple disappointments here though. The temperatures are indeed below the reference card, but not by much, as the Toxic doesn’t run anywhere near as cool as what we’ve seen on other Sapphire models or a couple competing cards from other companies. Also, at a price of $290, the Toxic is on the pricier side of 6950 2GB models in the market. The factory overclock can justify some of this, but without a top notch heatsink that runs much cooler, it’s a bit of a tough sell at this price. On the upside, however, the inclusion of DiRT 3 is a good value added feature.
Bottom line is the Sapphire 6950 Toxic 2GB has some great performance, and the ability to unlock to a 6970 is worth the additional cost over most competing cards. Sapphire has a great card here.