MSI R6950 1GB Twin Frozr III Power Edition Review @ [H]

FrgMstr

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MSI R6950 1GB Twin Frozr III Power Edition Review - Today we will be looking at a 1GB Radeon HD 6950 from MSI sporting its latest cooling innovation, the Twin Frozr III. Will 1GB of VRAM constrain the Twin Frozr III, or will Triple Over-Voltage support give it enough boost to soar past a 2GB HD 6950 and GeForce GTX 570?
 

samuelmorris

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Interesting to see that at 2560x1600, the average frame rate is higher but the minimum frame rate is often lower, a trend that's pretty rare at 1920x1200. And to think some benchmark sites still don't think minimum frame rates are important...

Also, this graph in particular is going to raise a lot of eyebrows, not that it surprised me of course :D
1318192743pzQ6878pzL_8_2_l.jpg
 

Silent Knight

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The TF III cooling system totally blows my DCII out of the water.But the overclocking results are somewhat disappointed.

A little question though,is it unlockable?
 

Lord_Exodia

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Many 1GB cards have successfully unlocked once RBE's method came out. Basically you back up your bios, modify it in RBE to add the shaders and then flash that bios back to the card. With a bios switch (and some 1gb cards do have one) that allows for you to wrote a bios to the card unlocking was the same scenario as the 2gb model where you just had to be lucky. The 1gb models get the same Cayman Pro GPU's. There were no lesser non unlockable cherry picked 1GB models that i know of.

At first it seemed that the 1gb models wouldn't unlock due to lack of being able to flash a 6970 bios. RBE changed the game there. Even later with mods like the bios gum trick had many people even unlocking their non bios switch equipped 1gb/2gb 6950s.

fixed, thanks -Brent
 
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fingerbob69

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"...and a good 2GB Radeon HD 6950 can be had for as low as $2254.99 after MIR..."
Shorley Shum Mishtake?

The only issue I have with MSI's TT coolers, and others like them, is that the heatpipes exit and turn on the motherboard side of the card.
Firstly this must radiate heat onto the mobo with possible unwanted consequences over time.
And secondly, the card would look so much cooler with the heatpipes exiting on the other, face to the window, side of the card!
 
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Almost bought one of these, but then the Toxic came back in stock. After reading the review, I think I'm happy I spent the extra cash. If all new games had FXAA, maybe I would rather have the MSI R6950 1GB Twin Frozr III PE, but considering I won't be upgrading in a few years, having the 2GB on the Toxic makes me feel more safe for the future.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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review said:
The fans started to blend with the computers normal operating sounds around 58%, and became audible over system sounds at 64%. At 100% normal fans like our reference HD 6950 sounded louder than a high velocity fan that is meant to cool large rooms. The Twin Frozr III fans at 100% were probably half as loud as the reference HD 6950 at 100%

So for reference, what type of cooler was the test rig running? How many case fans, and what type? What kind of case?

I'm very impressed with MSI's Twin Frozr and Lightening coolers. They seem to do a lot better than my ASUS DirecCU II's. I wanted to get the MSI R6970 Lightening's for my rig, but when I was ready to buy they were out of stock everywhere with no indication of wheter or not they were coming back, so I got the DirecCU II's instead.

I'm not disappointed with the DirecCU II's, but I think I would have been happier with the MSI boards.
 

N1GHTRA1N

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Almost bought one of these, but then the Toxic came back in stock. After reading the review, I think I'm happy I spent the extra cash. If all new games had FXAA, maybe I would rather have the MSI R6950 1GB Twin Frozr III PE, but considering I won't be upgrading in a few years, having the 2GB on the Toxic makes me feel more safe for the future.

I couldn't bring myself to buy a 1GB card now, even at 1080p. Especially when the 2GB version is only 30-40 more. In fact the 2GB version of this very card is my favorite 6950, the Toxic you mentioned would be a close second.


Zarathustra[H];1037894183 said:
So for reference, what type of cooler was the test rig running? How many case fans, and what type? What kind of case?

I'm very impressed with MSI's Twin Frozr and Lightening coolers. They seem to do a lot better than my ASUS DirecCU II's. I wanted to get the MSI R6970 Lightening's for my rig, but when I was ready to buy they were out of stock everywhere with no indication of wheter or not they were coming back, so I got the DirecCU II's instead.

I'm not disappointed with the DirecCU II's, but I think I would have been happier with the MSI boards.

I was glad to find the MSI 6970 Lightning in stock when I purchased, I also considered the DCUII but 3 slots is too much in my mind. My 6970 Lightning runs about 20 degrees C cooler than my crossfired 4870's and is quieter too. I'm also happy that it outperforms those cards too. Also my 6970 Lightning allows me to run my case with fans on low instead of high about 3-5 degrees cooler so my case fans are now quieter too when system is idle.

I really wish the did the 6970 and 6950 2gb in the two slot designed DCUII found on GTX 560 and 1gb 6950 cards, the three slot design should have been for Matrix and Mars II, or the new ARES if they every make one.
 
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SidewinderX

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A fine review, like usual, although I'd like to make a comment about the intro... I think this applies to a lot of [H] reviews, but this one was particularly grating to me. It seems that parts of the introductions are near-copies of a press release or promotional material, just slightly changed to make it sound like it's the author is really saying it.

For example:
MSI has produced one of the most unique and effective custom cooling devices with the Twin Frozr series. The Twin Frozr III sports two 8cm Propeller Blade Fans that generate 20% more airflow than traditional fans with their specific innovations. These include Arched Edges, that enlarge the angle of the airflow direction, a Gloss Coating that reduces air resistance, Small Arcs and Grooves that generate more airflow while increasing the airflow range, and rounded edges for more quiet operation.

"Arched Edges, that enlarge the airflow direction"? -- what does that even mean? I'm an aerospace engineer who works with jet engines and I have no idea what "enlarging the airflow direction" means. It sounds like it was copied straight out of a press release. The next couple of paragraphs are similar.

I understand that the reviewers aren't experts on the mechanical features of the cooling systems and aren't analyzing the fans (or the capacitors, or the heat pipes) themselves. That's fine. But if you're going to copy from promotional material, be explicit about it. Don't try and "put it in your own words" if it's not. It's bad form, and it gives undo creedence to a company's claim by taking advantage of [H]'s credibility.
 

FrgMstr

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Thanks for the suggestions. Grady is new, and Brent is more focused on the review perf content and conclusion than a few intro words. Sorry that got through the filter, we did not mean to sully your [H] experience.
 

Seiuchi

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So the concern was if one gb ram is enough. It seems yes and no. (for now) But if one was to consider eyefinity should they only consider the 2 gb card? or if future plans include going crossfire on this card?

I feel like part of this review is missing. [H] Is probably the biggest promoter of eyefinity out there and they dont even include this in the review anymore. This is a very valid function of this card is it not? This card got a silver rating without even being fully reviewed.

I am sure if [H] conducted a psu review like this people would be frustrated too. It seems these days you guys are reviewing for the most eyecandy vs resolution. But I am sure there are many that would rather lower the res from 5760x1200 to 5040x1050 then set game settings to run that res for the eyefinity, than drop to 1920x1200 so they can turn on aa or af. I personally like using eyefinity as much as i can. If i have to turn off some of the nice stuff to do it i will.
 

samuelmorris

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Yes, nobody should be buying 1GB cards for eyefinity. Same applies for nvidia surround.
 

Seiuchi

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to translate my post above to short an sweet I felt this review was usless to me because there was no info about eyefinity perf and I am an eyefinity user.
 

Seiuchi

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Than i guess this card is no faster than my 5770 xfire. Which generally plays eyefinity decently was looking for somthing faster in a single card for not too many $
 

Silent Knight

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This card is meant for folks with single 22-24" monitor like me,not Eyefinity users.If you want to run EF then you could take a look at the 2GB version.

Anyway,IIRC then the 5770 CF could only match the single 5870.
 

twzTechman

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Good review - I ordered the 2GB Sapphire Toxic (should come tomorrow), and after reading this review, I think I made a good choice. Running the newer games on a 30 inch monitor @2560x1600 is just a little too much for my old 5870, and for the MSI 1GB card as well.

Even if my new Toxic card won't flash to a 6970, the factory speed (880MHz) is higher than this card could reach on the max overclock. (got it - flash worked - I now have a 6970 for 6950 price)

I will say I got my money's worth on the 5870. I have had that card for over 2 years, and it was the first card that could run most of my games at 2560x1600.




i7 930
ASUS P6t Deluxe
G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) @1600
ATI Radeon HD 5870
Dell 3007WFP (30in) @2560x1600
Antec CP-850 850W
 
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Topaz

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I know this is a noob question, but when it comes to overall system thermals, are these sorts of aftermarket cooler cards really better? Unlike reference designs they don't exhaust the air out the back - instead the hot air is blowing straight across your mobo.

I know that case airflow is the big decider here, but it seems to me I'd rather keep the GPU heat isolated from the rest of the system as much as possible. (Although there's certainly no question as to which design is noisier...)
 

Impulse

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It's a valid point, but there's far too many different case configurations for anyone to make a blanket statement regarding that... Typically you have air blowing across the GPUs and rising up to the top/back of the case, but something as simple as a side panel fan could drastically alter that... Even the direction in which said fan bows would probably make a big difference one way or the other depending on whether you video card exhausts out the back or all over the place.

It's not like cards that exhaust out the back are this neat little closed system anyway... Most of those cards are less effective at quickly transferring heat away, and just because the main exhaust is in the rear doesn't mean they don't slowly emanate heat in several other directions... I have two stock cooled 6950s in a fairly small mid tower with two intakes (mid-front + side) and one exhaust (back + GPUs), I think it works fairly well but I think TT coolers would work even better (though I'd probably flip the side fan). Even mobo slot placement would have an impact here.
 

Topaz

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Hmm, that's certainly true. The case I'm considering does have a robust side exhaust fan, so maybe it wouldn't be as much of an issue, and the overall increase in airflow from the GPU fans would probably make up for any drawbacks...

Thanks for the detailed response!
 

samuelmorris

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I swear the price of the 2GB Twin Frozr goes up every time I look at it.

Generally, if you're just using one card like this, there's no issue with cooling, as anyone using a $300 graphics card has a decent case with plenty of airflow, you end up better off because of this. When using SLI/crossfire though these sorts of coolers don't tend to fare very well compared to rear blowers because their maximum fan speeds aren't high enough. Double slot spacing works (unless you have a 3-slot cooler card!) usually, but single slot spacing is very problematic in most cases - hence why using 3 cards is tricky.
 

GaNGrENe

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I swear the price of the 2GB Twin Frozr goes up every time I look at it.

Generally, if you're just using one card like this, there's no issue with cooling, as anyone using a $300 graphics card has a decent case with plenty of airflow, you end up better off because of this. When using SLI/crossfire though these sorts of coolers don't tend to fare very well compared to rear blowers because their maximum fan speeds aren't high enough. Double slot spacing works (unless you have a 3-slot cooler card!) usually, but single slot spacing is very problematic in most cases - hence why using 3 cards is tricky.

Price goes up every time you look at it?

Have you looked at the front page recently? Tigerdirect has the 2gb version for $229.99 after MIR and coupon, plus it comes with Dues Ex, Shogun 2, and 3dmark coupons.

That's lower than the 1gb that was tested in this article, though I'm not sure if Tigerdirect's 2gb version is the performance edition. That's probably why.
 

chrnochime

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Price goes up every time you look at it?

Have you looked at the front page recently? Tigerdirect has the 2gb version for $229.99 after MIR and coupon, plus it comes with Dues Ex, Shogun 2, and 3dmark coupons.

That's lower than the 1gb that was tested in this article, though I'm not sure if Tigerdirect's 2gb version is the performance edition. That's probably why.

The Frozr 2 2GB is 229.99 on Tiger. Frozr 3 2GB is still 279.99...
 

samuelmorris

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Ah it's a frozr2, that explains the lower price. Still, pretty cheap for a 2GB 6950 with a decent heatsink.
 

bramahonX

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These Twin Frozr designs are just awesome, recently got a great deal on a R6870-Hawk and I've to say I've never seen temp readings so humble. Also these things are near silent, along with a coolermaster silent pro series PSU, I miss the noise of the reference design that I previously had.
 

Jeffredo

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Wha'ts really surprising to me is the section on acoustics/noise of the card. I've not read any reviews on this specific card, but many on other MSI Twin Frozr III cards and almost all comment on the racket that HSF produces compared to reference designs or even the Twin Frozr II HSF. I would consider the Twin Frozr III GTX 570 PE "if" I hadn't read so many negative comments regarding the noise of that design.

Edit: Skimmed all the Twin Frozr III reviews I could find (regardless of card) and get conflicting comments about the noise. Some say very quiet, some day very loud. Guess I'd just have to stick my neck out to see what it would do in my system.
 
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DarkSideA8

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I enjoyed the review - and I like MSI cards; but with the 28 nm cards coming out in a few months... why shouldn't the enthusiast wait for the HD 79xx to hit the street?
 

[F2C]MaDMaXX

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Yeah i think you'll find it's a good 6 months before you see the high end cards. Just bought the Toxic 6950.
 
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