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Differences What are the advantages of each

Front view of Radeon HD 6950

Reasons to consider the
Sapphire Radeon HD 6950

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Significantly higher clock speed 880 MHz vs 650 MHz More than 35% higher clock speed
Better passmark score 3,181 vs 752 Around 4.2x better passmark score
Much higher effective memory clock speed 5,200 MHz vs 1,800 MHz Around 3x higher effective memory clock speed
Significantly more memory 2,048 MB vs 512 MB 4x more memory
Significantly better floating-point performance 2,478 GFLOPS vs 208 GFLOPS Around 12x better floating-point performance
Higher memory bandwidth 166.4 GB/s vs 57.6 GB/s Around 3x higher memory bandwidth
Higher pixel rate 28.2 GPixel/s vs 10.4 GPixel/s Around 2.8x higher pixel rate
Higher texture rate 77.4 GTexel/s vs 20.8 GTexel/s Around 3.8x higher texture rate
Significantly more shading units 1,408 vs 64 1344 more shading units
More render output processors 32 vs 16 Twice as many render output processors
More texture mapping units 88 vs 32 56 more texture mapping units
Significantly higher memory clock speed 1,300 MHz vs 900 MHz Around 45% higher memory clock speed
Front view of GeForce GT 9600

Reasons to consider the
Nvidia GeForce GT 9600

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Lower TDP 95W vs 200W 2.1x lower TDP

Benchmarks Real world tests of Radeon HD 6950 vs GeForce GT 9600

Passmark Industry standard benchmark for overall graphics card performance

Features Key features of the Radeon HD 6950  vs GeForce GT 9600 

memory bandwidth Rate at which data can be read from or stored in onboard memory

Radeon HD 6950
166.4 GB/s
GeForce GT 9600
57.6 GB/s
For Blu-ray playback AMD's latest cards do reduce the GPU clock and voltage, but the memory stays clocked at its full speed which negatively impacts power consumption.
Radeon HD 6950 | by techPowerUp! (Dec, 2010)

pixel rate Number of pixels a graphics card can render to the screen every second

Radeon HD 6950
28.2 GPixel/s
GeForce GT 9600
10.4 GPixel/s
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.
Radeon HD 6950 | by techPowerUp! (Mar, 2011)

texture rate Speed at which a graphics card can perform texture mapping

Radeon HD 6950
77.4 GTexel/s
GeForce GT 9600
20.8 GTexel/s
A tandem of two Radeon HD 6950 cards in CrossFire can achieve excellent performance levels that easily surpass AMD's aging HD 5970 dual card and also beat NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580 by over 25.
Radeon HD 6950 | by techPowerUp! (Dec, 2010)

floating point performance How fast the gpu can crunch numbers

Radeon HD 6950
2,478 GFLOPS
GeForce GT 9600
208 GFLOPS
The NVIDIA driver however uses 25 MHz for its calculation: 725 MHz = 25 * 29 / 1.
GeForce GT 9600 | by techPowerUp! (Feb, 2008)

shading units Subcomponents of the gpu, these run in parallel to enable fast pixel shading

I was able to reach those clocks, no matter if the card was in HD 6950 mode or in HD 6970 mode with all shaders enabled.
Radeon HD 6950 | by techPowerUp! (Feb, 2011)

texture mapping units Built into each gpu, these resize and rotate bitmaps for texturing scenes

Reviews Word on the street

Radeon HD 6950  vs GeForce GT 9600 

8.3
9.6
The cooler is the average VGA cooling assembly using a Copper baseplate and an array of fins made from Aluminum.
GeForce GT 9600

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