Originally Posted by pteek
MSI HD6950 TF3.
Heat/noise on a reference 6970 would be much more than that 6950.
OCed 6950 can match the 6970.
You could unlock the 6950 into a 6970 if you get lucky.
Originally Posted by xPrestonn
There's no luck involved. The 2gb 6950 TFIII edition has a special tool for it made specifically for the card by MSI that unlocks shaders with a 100% success rate.
That + overclocking = easy performance bump up to the 6970 level at a lower cost.
@OP, go for the MSI card
this is also a factor, but if your case has good airflow it should balance out.