The new Radeon HD 6970 is a very good contender to the GeForce GTX 570. We ran six games and simulations for a total of 21 tests, and the Radeon HD 6970 was faster than the GeForce GTX 570 in three of them: Call of Duty 4 (between 5% and 12% faster), Aliens vs. Predator (between 11% and 13%) , and 3DMark11 (between 4% and 17% faster). The GeForce GTX 570 was faster on the other three: Crysis Warhead (up to 13% faster), FarCry 2 (up to 21% faster) and Lost Planet 2 (between 7% and 36% faster). Therefore, which video card is the fastest will depend on the game and video configuration you decide to run.
Costing USD 370, the Radeon HD 6970 is 23% more expensive than the Radeon HD 6950. During our tests, however, the performance difference between the two touched 23% only a very few times: the Radeon HD 6970 was between 14% and 24% faster on Call of Duty 4, between 8% and 14% faster on Crysis Warhead, between 4% and 10% faster on FarCry 2, between 13% and 14% faster on Aliens vs. Predator, between 12% and 38% faster on Lost Planet 2, and between 13% and 17% faster on 3DMark 11 than the Radeon HD 6950. This may indicate that the Radeon HD 6950 brings a better bang for the buck. Let’s see.
The Radeon HD 6950 was only marginally faster than the Radeon HD 5870 in most games and simulations we ran, with two important exceptions: Aliens vs. Predator (between 12% and 14% faster) and Lost Planet 2 (between 10% and 15% faster). Since the Radeon HD 6950 comes with a price that is actually lower than the one Radeon HD 5870 used to carry a couple of months ago, this is indeed good news if you have USD 300 to spend on a video card.
Against the Radeon HD 6870, the Radeon HD 6950 was between 6% and 9% faster on Call of Duty 4, between 13% and 17% faster on Crysis Warhead, between 11% and 19% faster on FarCry 2, between 34% and 37% faster on Aliens vs. Predator, between 15% and 29% faster on Lost Planet 2, and between 7% and 10% faster on 3DMark 11. As you can see, the biggest differences were seen on the DirectX 11 games we included. The extra USD 60 can bring you a lot more performance in these games (spending 25% more will give you more than 25% performance improvement), if you have the money, of course.
Summarizing our conclusions: the Radeon HD 6970 has the GeForce GTX 570 as a strong competitor, and which one is the fastest will depend on the game and video configuration you use. The Radeon HD 6950 presents a better bang for the buck, being a nice replacement for the Radeon HD 5870, with similar performance in most games, but with improved performance on DirectX 11 games.