Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 Dirt 3 Edition review

A quality HD 6950 graphics card with good overclocking capabilities

TODO alt text

Sapphire radeon hd 6950 dirt 3 edition

The Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 Dirt 3 Edition's a reference GPU and no mistake. There's absolutely no difference in clock speeds, and hence no change in performance. What's not shown in the raw fps numbers, however, is the change in temperature.

The three small and two fat heatpipes do a fantastic job of pulling the GPU sweat away from the chip. It idles around 10C cooler and manages a 12C drop in temperatures under load. That, however, does come at a higher cost in terms of power draw – it's 30W more thirsty than the reference card.

Sadly, however, no matter how much of an overclock you can squeeze out of this little GPU, it's no substitute for the reference chip's shader-unlock prowess. And no matter what, it's always going to be compared to that.

Sapphire radeon hd 6950 dirt 3 edition

We liked

The fact you can get around AMD's artificial locking of the Cayman Pro's core clock speeds is an absolute bonus for this Sapphire card. It makes for some serious overclocking chops.

The new cooler is also impressive, giving a hefty drop in temperature to help push along that overclocking prowess.

We disliked

Sadly one of our favourite things about the reference HD 6950, the shader-unlock, has been cut out of the latest round of Cayman Pro GPUs, making the dual-Bios almost irrelevant now.

That new cooler has also had a rather negative effect on the power draw too, making for a fairly significant extra pull under load.


If you look at this Radeon HD 6950 Dirt 3 Edition with an open mind, and no thought to the shader-unlocking loving, then you wont be disappointed. It's one of the best stock HD 6950s out there, and one of the coolest too.

Tech Specs

Product TypeGraphic Card
Chipset ManufacturerATI
Chipset ModelHD 6950
Chipset LineRadeon
Chipset SeriesHD 6000
Maximum Resolution2560 x 1600
Brand NameSapphire
Standard Memory2 GB
Host InterfacePCI Express 2.0 x16
Bus Width256 bit
Multi-GPU TechnologyCrossFireX
Analog SignalYes
Digital SignalYes
Dual Link DVI SupportedYes
Number of DisplayPort Outputs1
Number of DVI Outputs2
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Cooler TypeFan Cooler
Memory TechnologyGDDR5 SDRAM
Form FactorPlug-in Card
ManufacturerSapphire, Inc
Memory Speed5000 MHz
Product Model11188-05-50G
Product NameRadeon HD 6950 Dirt3 Edition Graphics Card
Package TypeRetail
Manufacturer Part Number11188-05-50G
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The SAPPHIRE HD 6950 Dirt3 Special Edition is a new SAPPHIRE original model with a special cooler using a new dual fan configuration. Based on the latest high end AMD GPU architecture, it boasts true DX 11 capability and the powerful configuration of 1408 stream processors and 88 texture processing units. With its clock speed of 800MHz for the core and 2GB of the latest GDDR5 memory running at 1250Mhz (5 Gb/sec effective), this model speeds through even the most demanding applications for a smooth and detail packed experience. A Dual BIOS feature allows enthusiasts to experiment with alternative BIOS settings and performance can be further enhanced with the SAPPHIRE overclocking tool, TriXX, available as a free download from

Package Contents
  • Radeon HD 6950 Dirt3 Edition Graphics Card
  • 1 x Dirt3 Coupon
  • CrossFire Bridge Interconnect Cable
  • DVI to VGA Adapter
  • 2 x 6-Pin to 4-Pin Power Cable
  • 1.8 m HDMI Cable
Limited Warranty2 Year
API SupportedDirectX 11.0, OpenGL 4.1, DirectCompute