MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition Review

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Over the last couple of years, MSI has made a concerted effort to bolster their reputation as a premiere brand in the PC enthusiast space. MSI’s motherboards, graphics cards, notebooks, and virtually every other high-profile product family in their repertoire has been revamped and updated in some way to differentiate them from the competition. Whether or not MSI’s efforts have paid off across the board is a matter of debate, but there’s little doubt that the company’s “Twin Frozr” line of graphics cards stand out from plain-vanilla reference cards.

The product we’ll be looking at today is the MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III. As its name suggests, the R6950 Twin Frozr III is powered by AMD’s Radeon HD 6950 GPU and the card sports MSI’s third-generation Twin Frozr cooler. MSI did more with the R6950 Twin Frozr III than swap the reference cooler with one of their own design, however. The R6950 Twin Frozr III is outfitted with a custom PCB and has a couple of other interesting additions as well. Check out the specs below and then we’ll move on to some of the more juicy details, benchmarks, and some overclocking action.

MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III
Specifications & Features
Graphics Engine AMD Radeon HD 6950
Bus Standard PCI Express x16 2.1
Memory Type GDDR5
Memory Size(MB) 2048
Memory Interface 256 bits
Core Clock Speed(MHz) 850
Memory Clock Speed(MHz) 5200 (1300MHz, actual)
DVI Output Single-Link DVI-D x1, Dual-Link DVI-I x1
D-SUB Output 1 (optional, via DVI to D-Sub adaptor)
HDMI-Output 1
Mini DisplayPort 2
HDCP Support Yes
HDMI Support Yes
Dual-link DVI Yes
DirectX Version Support 11
OpenGL Version Support 4
CrossFire Support
 
Yes
 

Looking at its features and specifications reveals one of the MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III’s differentiating attributes—it’s overclocked from the factory. The Radeon HD 6950 GPU powering the card is bumped up from the reference design’s 800MHz to 850MHz and the memory clock has been increased from the reference design’s 1,250MHz to (5Gbps effective) to 1,300MHz (5.2Gbps effective). The increases in GPU core and memory clocks will obviously give the card a performance edge over straight-up reference designs, but in addition to tickling the frequencies, MSI has tweaked a number of other aspects of the Radeon HD 6950 as well.

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Comments

Comments
DeltaSquad49 3 years ago

I like the review! I tested the 6970 2GB and was pretty nice, but I'll stick to the 460 1GB SLI.

SammyHayabuza 3 years ago

[quote user="DeltaSquad49"]but I'll stick to the 460 1GB SLI.[/quote]

That's not a Bad Idea at all..I'm seeing the GTX 460 prices dip into the $160 -170 range, so two of those would make an excellent choice and deal right now.

Now, to talk about this review, The Frozr III is an excellent cooler and an improvement over the predecessor, but a lot of the test still favors the 560, which would be my choice .

But I'm in anticipation.. for the NDA to expire so that Marco can "Release the Antilles"..I mean "The Kraken"..

acarzt 3 years ago

lol... Marco you must have networking on your mind

"memory clock has been increased from the reference design’s 1,250MHz to (5Gbps effective) to 1,300MHz (5.2Gbps effective). "

coolice 3 years ago

Umm... hes correct Acarzt.... start googing.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100225150456AANwZZS

 

Essentially, according to that post... there are 4 clock cycles with ddr5 ram.... 1250Mhz X 4 = 5Gbps. Hopefully that helps!

marco c 3 years ago

@acarzt - That's actaully correct.

coolice 3 years ago

Woah, we posted within seconds.

Annd

[quote]yet the GPU temp never went above 63’C (that's close to 20'C lower than the stock reference card we tested at launch)[/quote]

DANG! 20 degrees cooler??? 20? wow thats a lot!!

AKwyn 3 years ago

I have to say, the Twin Frozr III does not disappoint. A shame that nobody has found a way to overclock the 6950's/6970's even further, we should be able to overclock our cards past 900MHz damnit!

marco c 3 years ago

@Taylor - You can OC past 900 if you mod the BIOS.

amdcrankitup 3 years ago

That definatly a nice card ! I always want the best but my wallet always wait wait wait but I do want to get a new build going I,ve just got a new motherboard the Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H looking forward to putting together a new rig and see how the board performs but It will take me a little time starting with the CPU its time for me to jump up to something at the top so Im going to get the Phenom II X6 BE 1100! After that just going to do a little at a time, its got onboard video but I want a Radeon series 6900.This would be a good choice I think soon as the price drops! Good reveiw!

acarzt 3 years ago

I get the math.. that wasn't what I was questioning :-P

How do you make the jump from Megahertz to Gigabits per second?

If you're talking about memory bandwidth, that's not even correct as 5.2Gbps does not take into account the bus width.

When talking about clock speeds, it is always referenced in Hertz, not Bits. When talking bandwidth, it would be represented in Bits.

It should read 5.2Ghz Effective.

coolice 3 years ago

Ohh, i see what you mean.... Hmm, perhaps the terms interchanged, in the sense that the way its used. I've seen it being used both ways... perhaps the Gbps stuck with me longer than Ghz

acarzt 3 years ago

In all my years of reading these reviews and working in the IT field, i've never seen(or perhaps noticed) it expressed that way.

I guess if you want to break it down into the math of it all then the terms could be interchangable

1250Mhz * 2read and 2 writes per cycle * 256 bit bus width = 1,280Gbps or 160GB/s

I look at it as there being 5,000,000,000 cycles per second and 256 bits being passed per cycle.

Actually... there is only 1,250,000,000 cycles per second... but there are 4 IOs per cycle... which gives you the "effective" clock

marco c 3 years ago

@acartzt - the Gbps rating refers to the acutal data rate of the memory. Even AMD expresses it that way in the specs on AMD.com

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/amd-radeon-hd-6000/hd-6950/Pages/amd-radeon-hd-6950-overview.aspx#2

coolice 3 years ago

If someone watches How I Met Your Mother... then you'll get this one word i'm about to write......

Lawyered!!@

 

But Acartzt... your right, i've seen Ghz as well... though meh... at the moment, i'm not too concerned about that.... This seems like a great card! uses less power, Is more powerful than stock...... annndn 20 Degrees cooler!! pretty sweet imo. 

acarzt 3 years ago

I see the difference. AMD lists the Memory Data Rate, while everyone else(Nvidia, and System memory Manufacturers) list Effective Clock speed... which is why you get the difference in Gbps, and Ghz.

Also I found some typo's on AMDs website :-)

More reason for me to be an Nvidia fan lol

acarzt 3 years ago

actually... the more i'm looking around at these specs... it seems like everyone is all over the place and just don't know what to call this...

I think that memory data rate would be most accurate.

The numbers are the same... the names are different.

CDeeter 3 years ago

So are you saying AMD has it right then.......lol.

Seriously though, thanks for the info. It was cool following this part of the thread as I learned something.

And that is why we are here right?

acarzt 3 years ago

Reading this makes it make more sense

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GDDR5

Sergeimm 3 years ago

My friend had 2 gpu earlier generations MSI die on him. How is MSI now a days in terms of quality?

HH where are you guys based geographically?

Oh and when are 6990 and gtx 590 are goming out? would you expect the price for 580 drop to around 400 than?

Thanks!

marco c 3 years ago

@Sergeimm - We're spread out across the US, but Dave and I are both east coasters...

As for your other questions, they will be answered in due time. :)

inspector 3 years ago

Alls good for such a nice review :)

realneil 3 years ago

Nice review,...it's obvious that you guys put a lot of work into these reports. It really shows, and is a good reference tool when I have questions that need answers. Thanks,...

I had a 4 paragraph response to this article ready to click 'post' and the page refreshed on me and wiped it all out. Super Angry (maybe the gods are telling me not to be so long winded)

So lets try again.

I think that your observation about spending just a little more and getting the HD6970 instead is a good idea. If the price adjusts on the HD6950 card reviewed, then it would be the one to get.

I've been using my XFX Radeon HD-6870 Black in a Phenom-II X2 545 Callisto system with a real cheap (I mean BASIC) ASRock Mainboard, and it's surprisingly good!

I think that the Radeon card is the reason why too.

I'm still enamored with PhysX and Cuda, but these Radeons do deliver the goods.

rrplay 3 years ago

the review was in depth reference and all the previous comments made the review all the meaningful

lukechip 3 years ago

The MSI press release talks about a P/S switch to change the fans from Performance to Silent, which seems to re-jig the temp / speed profile for the fan control.

1/ Did you test this functionality ? If so, what did you learn ?

2/ Is the switch a physical switch, and if so, where is it located on the card ? If the card is inside my chassis I'm not going to be opening it up just to flick this switch ! But I do like quiet ! Or is the switch a software switch inside Catalyst Control Center ?

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