[Tested and Burned] ASUS Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II Review (A card for Overclockers!)





ASUS HD 6950 DirectCU II review index



6 – ASUS HD 6950 DirectCU II Power Consumption and Overclocking

ASUS HD 6950 DirectCU II, FurMark 1.9.0



In this part, you will see why this HD 6950 DC2 made by ASUS is designed for massive overclocking ;)



For the power consumption and overclocking test, I used the upcoming FurMark 1.9.0 (still not released due to a little lack of time but it should be there shortly!). The graphics workload in the new FurMark 1.9.0 has been slightly increased, leading to more power consumption (few watts in more). But this extra graphics workload can make the difference with high overclocking settings.

The total power consumption of the testbed at idle with the HD 6950 DC2 is 110W.

ASUS HD 6950 DirectCU II, Geeks3D Testbed idle power consumption



The Radeon HD 6950 comes with a new power limiter technology called PowerTune:

ASUS HD 6950 DirectCU II, PowerTune



More details on PowerTune can be found in this test: [Tested] Radeon HD 6970 PowerTune Technology.

So the first thing to do to be sure that the HD 6950 is not limited by PowerTune (or limited to the minimum) is to set PowerTune to +20% in CCC.

With default settings (GPU @ 810MHz, Vcore @ 1.100V), the total power consumption of the testbed stressed by FurMark (FurMark settings: 1920×1080, fullscreen, Burn-in mode, dynamic background, no AA, no postfx) is 337W with a max GPU temperature of 79°C.
P = (337-110) * 0.9
P = 204 watts

where 0.9 is the PSU efficiency factor. For the Corsair AX1200 PSU, this factor is around 0.9 (see this article, there is a graph of the AX1200 efficiency).

204W is a correct value: the max TDP given by AMD is 200W (PowerTune +20%).

79°C is not a low temperature for a GPU but there is a reason: under FurMark burn-in test, the VGA cooler DirectCU II remains quiet! This is great:
there’s no perceptible difference between idle and full load.

Now let’s see the overclocking capabilities of this beast. Let’s see if the 8-pin power connector, replacing the standard 6-pin, brings enough power to push the card to the max.

Just a detail: I don’t know why, but I had some difficulties to properly overclock the HD 6950 DC2 with SmartDoctor alone. So I used a combination of SmartDoctor (for GPU voltage) and MSI Afterbuner (for GPU clock) to overclock the card.

The default GPU voltage (also called Vcore or VDDC) is 1.100V or 1100mV.
In the following lines, TPC is the reduced version of Total Power Consumption.

Let’s burn!

  • GPU core: 850MHz, Vcore: 1.100V, TPC: 345W, GPU temp: 81°C – Burn-in test: PASSED
  • GPU core: 880MHz, Vcore: 1.100V, TPC: 352W, GPU temp: 81°C – Burn-in test: PASSED
  • GPU core: 900MHz, Vcore: 1.100V, TPC: 354W, GPU temp: 82°C – Burn-in test: PASSED
  • GPU core: 950MHz, Vcore: 1.150V, TPC: 413W, GPU temp: 89°C – Burn-in test: PASSED

950MHz was the is GPU clock… actually it’s the max GPU clock written in the HD6950 BIOS. For the last burn-in test, I set the Vcore to 1.150V: it was for the fun, because with 1.100V, the HD 6950 was stable.

I have the good feeling that we can reach 1000MHz without problem with this card.

In the last burn-in test, the power consumption of the card alone is:
P = (413-110)*0.9 = 272W

An extra 72W compared to the TDP (200W). And absolutely no problem: the power circuitry of this HD 6950 is really well designed.

I submitted two 3DMark11 scores with GPU @ 950MHz:
- P5642
- X1941

ASUS HD 6950 DirectCU II, FurMark Approved

Here is a comparative table of the power consumption of the card ALONE (not the total power consumption of the system):

Power: 352W – EVGA GTX 580 SC (core: 880MHz, Vcore:1.082V) – OC settings
Power: 330W – ASUS ENGTX580 (core: 871MHz, Vcore:1.088V) – OC settings
Power: 324W – EVGA GTX 580 SC (core: 797MHz, Vcore:1.082V – default settings)
Power: 298W – ASUS Radeon HD 6950 (core: 840MHz, Vcore: 1.300V) – OC settings
Power: 290W – ASUS ENGTX580 (default settings)
Power: 276W – SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6970 (core: 940MHz, Vcore: 1.175V) – OC settings
Power: 272W – ASUS Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II (core: 950MHz, Vcore: 1.150V)
Power: 272W – EVGA GTX 480
Power: 260W – SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6970 (core: 880MHz, Vcore: 1.175V)
Power: 225W – ASUS ENGTX560 Ti DirectCU II TOP (core: 900MHz, Vcore:1.025V)
Power: 220W – SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6870 (core: 1000MHz, Vcore: 1.300V) – OC settings
Power: 204W – ASUS Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II (core: 810MHz, Vcore: 1.100V)
Power: 197W – ASUS Radeon HD 6950 (core: 810MHz, Vcore: 1.100V)
Power: 185W – ATI Radeon HD 5870
Power: 155W – SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6870 (core: 900MHz, Vcore: 1.175V)
Power: 147W – ASUS EAH6870
Power: 135W – MSI N460GTX Cyclone 768D5 OC



ASUS HD 6950 DirectCU II review index


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