Value and Conclusion
|8.0||MSI's Radeon HD 6950 Twin Frozr III is a well designed version of a custom HD 6950 design. The company's new Twin Frozr III cooling solution does a good job at keeping the card cool, even though the card seems a bit more noisy than expected. This looks to be more of a BIOS fan settings optimization issue than a shortcoming of the cooler itself. Temperatures are quite low, which shows that there is some headroom left to quieten down the fan some more.|
In terms of performance, the HD 6950 Twin Frozr III did well thanks to its generous overclock out of the box. With 850 MHz it is one of the highest clocked HD 6950s which shows as a 5% performance improvement over the reference design. This means the card sits right between stock HD 6950 and stock HD 6970, which is 5-6% faster. Should you still be interested in getting more performance out of the card then you could overclock it which should take you easily above 1 GHz, even though a little bump in voltage might be required. For even more performance, or as another method to get more performance, you could try the HD 6950 to HD 6970 mod which worked on our card. However, this does not mean that all HD 6950 Twin Frozr III cards are guaranteed to unlock, best is if you give it a try yourself. Thanks to the BIOS switch on the card it is impossible to be stranded with a non-booting card, even if you screw up the BIOS flash - just switch to the second recovery BIOS and you can revive the card.
In terms of pricing MSI is asking $300, which is about $25 more than a regular HD 6950 2 GB. If you are on the tightest budget then the reference design would be a good choice due to its price advantage, if enjoy overclocking and tweaking then MSI's HD 6950 Twin Frozr III will give you great options, also thanks to MSI's excellent overclocking software "Afterburner" which is optimized to work with this card.