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AMD Updates Radeon HD 7950 to Counter GeForce GTX 660 Ti

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August 20, 2012 1:02:49 PM

So basically this new bios update overclocks the card?
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9
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August 20, 2012 1:03:59 PM

Good news everyone! (in Professor Farnsworth voice)
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17
August 20, 2012 1:11:14 PM

Quote:
So basically this new bios update overclocks the card?


Or clocks it where it should have been from the get-go :) 

IB
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26
August 20, 2012 1:14:31 PM

Anyone buying these kinds of video cards would probably go with custom coolers which is usually factory overclocked. The price difference between custom and reference design cards is not that big. Buyers don't want to risk their cards with crappy reference coolers.

Would non-reference cards with stock clocks follow suit?
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2
August 20, 2012 1:39:33 PM

tanjoThe price difference between custom and reference design cards is not that big. Buyers don't want to risk their cards with crappy reference coolers.

Buyers looking to water-cool WANT the reference boards so the type of cooler is irrelevant to them, savings are welcomed.

This generation of Radeon cards have so much headroom to overclock anyway, so why not. The original clocks were conservative anyway. Not like it matters much, anyone can take your basic CCC and do it themselves. Besides, Nvidia and AMD are staggered quite a bit on their release cycles these days, in a short while, we'll be back at it with the GTX6xx vs the Radeon HD 8xxx price/performance war (hard to believe this card is already over 7 months old).
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14
August 20, 2012 1:42:50 PM

What I really lol at (and like it, at the same time), is that 925 MHz are basically the same frequency at which reference non-OCed HD 7970 works! Thus, you get HD 7970-performance, but for the price of HD 7950. I wouldn't really buy it for myself (because I have both Sapphire's HD 7970 AND MSi's "R7970 Lighting"), but for people who cannot afford HD 7970 or don't know anything about GPU OverCloking (or both at the same time), this is probably the best option so far. Seriously, if you want HD 7970 performance - get this, not the reference HD 7970. From now on, reference HD 7970 is absolutely useless.
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August 20, 2012 1:45:08 PM

this update just seems like an excuse for AMD not to drop prices. the card magically became better!
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10
August 20, 2012 1:46:35 PM

master_chen...reference HD 7970 is absolutely useless.



Ill gladly take that useless reference 7970 off your hands
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14
August 20, 2012 1:46:56 PM

Nice one AMD! 6 months later, your customers can now use their GPU the way it could/should have been from the start. Or are you admitting you had the settings wrong at release of the product?
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5
August 20, 2012 1:49:46 PM

You treat us like idiots and wonder why your market share crumbles.
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-4
August 20, 2012 1:50:19 PM

bustaprI'll gladly take that useless reference 7970 off your hands

But I don't have it. Re-read my previous comment. :3
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-14
August 20, 2012 2:24:14 PM

And in other news:

AMD DRIVERS STILL SUCK!

This update brought to you by common knowledge.
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-24
August 20, 2012 2:29:32 PM

Time to update ALL the benchmarks!
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9
August 20, 2012 2:48:37 PM

This is why competition is good.

Apple - you should take notes!
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10
August 20, 2012 3:15:45 PM

How much louder would they get? From what I have heard (from reviews and a frd), they are already pretty loud... With the OC, wouldn't be super loud?
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3
August 20, 2012 3:46:19 PM

Why must there always be so much hate and brand loyalty every time Intel, AMD, or Nvidia are mentioned by Tom's? As consumers shouldn't we be discussing price/performance or at least discussing the contents of the article? When I read the Comments here I try to learn from my fellow users but I have to sift through all the fanboys just to get a little bit of knowledge. AMD makes good products. Intel makes good products. Nvidia makes good products. Buy what you need at a price you can afford and you'll be fine if you do the research. Most gamers go for overkill but thats ok if you can afford it and like having awesome toys to play with. Personally, I will be passing on Nvidia's tasty new line of cards because of their compute performance. Since I will be using my graphics card on Linux for computing (Windows/Wine for gaming), I will be upgrading my GTX 460 to AMD's 7xxx series because it fits my needs and it is a wonderful card. This BIOS flash if great for Linux users because it's a pain to OC in Linux and AMD gave us a hand. Thanks AMD.
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2
Anonymous
August 20, 2012 3:54:02 PM

Why do they wait to "react to Nvidia"? Why didn't they just do this from the beginning? It's like they're try to see how lazy they can get away with or something.
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5
August 20, 2012 4:28:57 PM

Move on if you don't like rants, this will be a rant. After years of buying nvida cards, last month I decided to get a 7870 (MSI TwinFrozr III OC), and on day one of using it, my heart sank the more I used the card. Researching all the problems, of course you then find out what others are reporting, and it's not a pretty picture! Yes, the card has solid specs and was a fantastic value, but I am shocked that AMD still hasn't gotten its act together with drivers, and also, as most pragmatic owners of AMD's newest GPU architecture agree, the HD7000 is loaded with problems that won't get ironed out until at least HD8000 - early adaptors of AMD's graphics architecture are all aware of this, and yes, not everybody has problems, but all I can say is even AMD's official customer service response to my problems was "it should (SHOULD) be fixed in future driver releases" - this was in response to "Grey Screens of Death", randomly crashing my system (never had such problems before or since I returned the card). Anyways, very happy with my GTX670. Shame on AMD! Love AMD cpu's btw!
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-2
a b À AMD
August 20, 2012 4:39:09 PM

sad that nvidia has amd by the balls with one single asic - gk104 (gtx 680, 670, 660ti). amd's top end tahiti gpu is trying so hard to squeeze out every ounce of performance it can.....and then there's amd drivers....
just lower the prices, amd. better than any bios update or binning. :3
edit: it's not even nvidia's top asic...
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-8
August 20, 2012 4:40:32 PM

I remember when the cards first came out everyone was shouting that NVidia should come out with something competing, and no one said you know what, AMD should sell this with higher clock rates. I don't see anything wrong with what they did, they took a conservative clock and raised it to remain competetive at a price point without a ton of retooling, besides, it won't be long that the 8XXX series comes out and people will shout again ya but NVidia will come out soon, and the cycle continues. Sometimes I think people only use the comment section to complain. Free Clock Increase = Not Bad News
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6
August 20, 2012 4:44:52 PM

omnimodis78Move on if you don't like rants, this will be a rant. After years of buying nvida cards, last month I decided to get a 7870 (MSI TwinFrozr III OC), and on day one of using it, my heart sank the more I used the card. Researching all the problems, of course you then find out what others are reporting, and it's not a pretty picture! Yes, the card has solid specs and was a fantastic value, but I am shocked that AMD still hasn't gotten its act together with drivers, and also, as most pragmatic owners of AMD's newest GPU architecture agree, the HD7000 is loaded with problems that won't get ironed out until at least HD8000 - early adaptors of AMD's graphics architecture are all aware of this, and yes, not everybody has problems, but all I can say is even AMD's official customer service response to my problems was "it should (SHOULD) be fixed in future driver releases" - this was in response to "Grey Screens of Death", randomly crashing my system (never had such problems before or since I returned the card). Anyways, very happy with my GTX670. Shame on AMD! Love AMD cpu's btw!


Did you perform a fresh install of Windows? I would recommend this for any new major hardware unless you know exactly what you are doing. Random problems of hardware are usually user error, software conflicts, or flaws in the operating system.
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1
August 20, 2012 4:49:28 PM

jossrikI remember when the cards first came out everyone was shouting that NVidia should come out with something competing, and no one said you know what, AMD should sell this with higher clock rates. I don't see anything wrong with what they did, they took a conservative clock and raised it to remain competetive at a price point without a ton of retooling, besides, it won't be long that the 8XXX series comes out and people will shout again ya but NVidia will come out soon, and the cycle continues. Sometimes I think people only use the comment section to complain. Free Clock Increase = Not Bad News


Amen
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3
August 20, 2012 4:54:04 PM

AMD's was underclocked to begin with, and Nvidia's was overclocked from the get go.
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4
August 20, 2012 5:24:32 PM

new rumor: AMD 7930 is on the way!
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1
August 20, 2012 5:55:49 PM

I haven't had any problems with my drivers. At least nothing that was a show stopper and my last nvidia card gtx 570 burnt out a mosfet while playing nexuiz. So yeah i bought a 7950. I have it clocked to 900MHz no problem so I guess I can skip this bios update.
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0
August 20, 2012 6:03:00 PM

FormataYou treat us like idiots and wonder why your market share crumbles.

Unlike NVIDIA with its, hmm, three GT640s?
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5
August 20, 2012 6:22:59 PM

FormataNice one AMD! 6 months later, your customers can now use their GPU the way it could/should have been from the start. Or are you admitting you had the settings wrong at release of the product?


My guess is that the intentionally underclocked the card in order to bring themselves back into competition at the pricepoint nvidia launched at.

Not really the nicest thing for consumers, as they should have had the boost from the get-go; but it's a good strategy as the first to market, nVidia set their sites to be a slightly better value than the AMD option, but AMD had more performance waiting to unlock once nvidia hit the market, keeping them competitive with the 660TI.

The only people hurt by this are those with updated cards, who don't know that they can update their BIOS, and haven't already overclocked. Everyone has known that alot of the AMD cards have good overclocking headroom, AMD just took this step to make it official (rather than an overclock).

If I had a 7950, I wouldn't be mad about this. (It'd be nice if they make a similar change to the 7870)
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3
August 20, 2012 7:19:58 PM

dissbeliefDid you perform a fresh install of Windows? I would recommend this for any new major hardware unless you know exactly what you are doing. Random problems of hardware are usually user error, software conflicts, or flaws in the operating system.

Yeah, I did, 3x actually, just to be sure that it wasn't a fluke (not exaggerating). The issue is that the reports are so widely consistent that it's scary. I returned the hardware to newegg as soon as I got AMD's "support" email. I loved it how I was constantly told, oh check PSU, check mobo, BIOS up-to-date, etc etc - and yet never had problems with previous cards, nor have I had a single crash or conflict with the new card. My rant is not anti-AMD, as you can see, I have an AMD cpu, and I have had ATI cards in the past. I support and respect the company, and many of their products, but the HD7000 lineup simply sucks, and those saying otherwise simply haven't dealt with Fermi/Kepler to understand the relative superiority of the competition.
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-2
August 20, 2012 7:43:10 PM

Guys,
i will tell you an old story,

once upon a time , there was a 3d graphic card maker called 3DFX. The guys there were awesome, when all gpus were crap, they would deliver 3D!. I still remember my two voodoo2 16mb on SLI pwning for years :) . Unreal Tournament was so fun with them ^^

Then a bad company who wanted powah! more powah! bought 3DFX, inheriting the SLI tech and...closed 3DFX..yes that company is NVIDIA

THERE IS NO WAY I WILL EVER BUY NVIDIA PRODUCTS! And why should I? My XFX 5870 is still fun to use and i never encountered bad performance at 1920x1200 along my i5 2500k.

Anyway, about customers discussing price /performance and not becoming fans of one or the other gpu makers, i will just say you are right, but all people here like to brag about their PC setups so it is inevitable to support one or the other company...

The truth is i worry about AMD because if Intel stays solo...we are doomed!

And ATI, i don't worry about them! they are awesome ^^
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0
August 20, 2012 7:46:55 PM

omnimodis78Move on if you don't like rants, this will be a rant. After years of buying nvida cards, last month I decided to get a 7870 (MSI TwinFrozr III OC), and on day one of using it, my heart sank the more I used the card. Researching all the problems, of course you then find out what others are reporting, and it's not a pretty picture! Yes, the card has solid specs and was a fantastic value, but I am shocked that AMD still hasn't gotten its act together with drivers, and also, as most pragmatic owners of AMD's newest GPU architecture agree, the HD7000 is loaded with problems that won't get ironed out until at least HD8000 - early adaptors of AMD's graphics architecture are all aware of this, and yes, not everybody has problems, but all I can say is even AMD's official customer service response to my problems was "it should (SHOULD) be fixed in future driver releases" - this was in response to "Grey Screens of Death", randomly crashing my system (never had such problems before or since I returned the card). Anyways, very happy with my GTX670. Shame on AMD! Love AMD cpu's btw!


AMD did fix those problems. Catalyst 12.6 and 12.7 are extremely stable. Yes, it took them far too long, but they have already fixed the problems.

FormataYou treat us like idiots and wonder why your market share crumbles.


It's more than an overclock. The BIOS update provides a turbo boost feature too.
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0
August 20, 2012 7:49:58 PM

omnimodis78Yeah, I did, 3x actually, just to be sure that it wasn't a fluke (not exaggerating). The issue is that the reports are so widely consistent that it's scary. I returned the hardware to newegg as soon as I got AMD's "support" email. I loved it how I was constantly told, oh check PSU, check mobo, BIOS up-to-date, etc etc - and yet never had problems with previous cards, nor have I had a single crash or conflict with the new card. My rant is not anti-AMD, as you can see, I have an AMD cpu, and I have had ATI cards in the past. I support and respect the company, and many of their products, but the HD7000 lineup simply sucks, and those saying otherwise simply haven't dealt with Fermi/Kepler to understand the relative superiority of the competition.


I went from a GTX 560 TI to a Radeon 7850 and my experience disagrees with you, so coming from Fermi obviously doesn't mean that going to Radeon 7000 mustr be a bad experience. My 7850 is doing great, especially with the Catalyst 12.7 drivers, although I admit things were a little shaky up until 12.6 with occasional instability.
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August 20, 2012 7:52:56 PM

silverblueUnlike NVIDIA with its, hmm, three GT640s?


Also the GTS or GTX (there are contradicting reports on the name) 650 that is just a GT 640 GDDR5.
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0
August 20, 2012 8:46:21 PM

They should do the same for hd7870 as this one on par with 660 TI
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August 20, 2012 8:46:39 PM

tmk221They should do the same for hd7870 as this one on par with 660 TI


It might get too close to a Radeon 7950 that lacks boost when both are at stock performance and hurt the value of the 7950 if AMD increases the 7870's performance with a Turbo Boost BIOS. They might drop he 7870's price a little more again, but AMD is unlikely to give the 7870 a Turbo Boost BIOS.
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0
August 21, 2012 12:15:36 AM

jr46Why do they wait to "react to Nvidia"? Why didn't they just do this from the beginning? It's like they're try to see how lazy they can get away with or something.

The only reason I can see (besides the blatant lies to its customers to get more money) is that they must have noticed very low failure rates in the past 6 months, less then expected, so they decided that they can afford increasing the clock without too many failing. Just an idea.
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2
Anonymous
August 21, 2012 4:06:14 AM

amd drivers suck? since when? they have always been infront of Nvidia ever since the FX5### range.
Try and multi screen on a Nvidia, its the worst thing to deal with, wheres the AMD Radeon is by far the easiest and most user friendly interface!!

I'd take the Radeon 7950 over the 660Ti aka low to mid end card.
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0
August 21, 2012 8:00:09 AM

tanjoAnyone buying these kinds of video cards would probably go with custom coolers which is usually factory overclocked. The price difference between custom and reference design cards is not that big. Buyers don't want to risk their cards with crappy reference coolers.Would non-reference cards with stock clocks follow suit?

Maybe, it all depends on particular card's manufacturer, because more often than not due to custom PCB they also tweak and tune firmware. To be honest I will not be surprised to see that some roll out just firmware updates, some to roll out old cards with it and market as new products and some to do both. It's impossible to guess who will do what among them.
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0
August 21, 2012 8:14:54 AM

beetlejuicegrGuys, i will tell you an old story, once upon a time , there was a 3d graphic card maker called 3DFX. The guys there were awesome, when all gpus were crap, they would deliver 3D!. I still remember my two voodoo2 16mb on SLI pwning for years . Unreal Tournament was so fun with them ^^Then a bad company who wanted powah! more powah! bought 3DFX, inheriting the SLI tech and...closed 3DFX..yes that company is NVIDIATHERE IS NO WAY I WILL EVER BUY NVIDIA PRODUCTS! And why should I? My XFX 5870 is still fun to use and i never encountered bad performance at 1920x1200 along my i5 2500k.Anyway, about customers discussing price /performance and not becoming fans of one or the other gpu makers, i will just say you are right, but all people here like to brag about their PC setups so it is inevitable to support one or the other company...The truth is i worry about AMD because if Intel stays solo...we are doomed!And ATI, i don't worry about them! they are awesome ^^

The problem is that people support one of the other with almost no knowledge about either of them. Nvidia didn't destroy 3dfx by buying them. It was 3dfx who destroyed itself by doing very similar thing to what Nvidia is doing now, disregarding entry and mid-range markets. This round Nvidia wins utterly and completely in performance and high end range (GTX 660 Ti costs like 7870 but performs between 7950 and 7970) but utterly fails in lower segments, where HD 7750 and HD 7777 rule.

On SLI, Nvidia bought rights for the name of technology and technology, but people responsible for it went actually to ATI and their knowledge is reason why ATI has CrossFire .
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-1
August 21, 2012 8:33:54 AM

De5_roydespite the thumb downs for my previous post, amd did announce price cuts.http://www.anandtech.com/show/6175 [...] le-inboundyou can even compare past prices.amd is being swung around by teh proverbial balls.XD


If you actually read the comments of that article, you can see that AMD is not cutting prices because they are inferior.

HetneoThe problem is that people support one of the other with almost no knowledge about either of them. Nvidia didn't destroy 3dfx by buying them. It was 3dfx who destroyed itself by doing very similar thing to what Nvidia is doing now, disregarding entry and mid-range markets. This round Nvidia wins utterly and completely in performance and high end range (GTX 660 Ti costs like 7870 but performs between 7950 and 7970) but utterly fails in lower segments, where HD 7750 and HD 7777 rule.On SLI, Nvidia bought rights for the name of technology and technology, but people responsible for it went actually to ATI and their knowledge is reason why ATI has CrossFire .


I couldn't disagree more with your stance on Kepler. The 660 TI doesn't perform between a 7950 and a 7970. Many other reviewers than Tom's were given cherry-picked 660 TIs that were also factory overclocked and pitted against stock 800MHz 7950s with very Nvidia-friendly games and settings. How many reviewers tell us about how the 660 TI sucks at AA, tessellation, and especially DirectC lighting effects, among other issues? I'd buy the 7870 over the 660 TI. I'd even get a 7850 over a 660 TI. They overclock quite well whereas the 660 TI's huge memory bandwidth bottle-neck keeps it from overclocking well and give the 660 TI quite low minimum frame rates that are hidden by it's over-inflated maximum frame rates (it does have a GTX 670's GK104, after all).

Fermi, as an architecture, was much better than Kepler at pretty much everything related to gaming and many things that aren't.
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August 21, 2012 8:37:49 AM

mrmanbroamd drivers suck? since when? they have always been infront of Nvidia ever since the FX5### range.Try and multi screen on a Nvidia, its the worst thing to deal with, wheres the AMD Radeon is by far the easiest and most user friendly interface!!I'd take the Radeon 7950 over the 660Ti aka low to mid end card.


I'd easily take a 7950 over a 660 TI, but I don't think that I can agree that AMD's drivers have been consistently better than Nvidia's since FX-5xxx.
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0
August 21, 2012 10:55:55 AM

silverblueUnlike NVIDIA with its, hmm, three GT640s?

And the misleading naming of their mobile GPU products is just shameful...

Anyone else want to start making Graphics cards? Pleeze
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1
August 21, 2012 11:14:14 AM

DjScribblesMy guess is that the intentionally underclocked the card in order to bring themselves back into competition at the pricepoint nvidia launched at.Not really the nicest thing for consumers, as they should have had the boost from the get-go; but it's a good strategy as the first to market, nVidia set their sites to be a slightly better value than the AMD option, but AMD had more performance waiting to unlock once nvidia hit the market, keeping them competitive with the 660TI.The only people hurt by this are those with updated cards, who don't know that they can update their BIOS, and haven't already overclocked. Everyone has known that alot of the AMD cards have good overclocking headroom, AMD just took this step to make it official (rather than an overclock).If I had a 7950, I wouldn't be mad about this. (It'd be nice if they make a similar change to the 7870)


Agree with you and share your theories. If it is true that the card was deliberately scaled back at original time of release... it does make mad... to me it just seems unethical. Its market manipulation for the sake of future commercial gain. Hey, I know at the end of the day it's all about the $, but this just seems like a really cheap move. Do they now honour the warranties of anyone who preformed a similar OC on a 7950 that might have had other problems with their card, but couldn't RMA them because of the OC? AMD and Nvidia need to show a little respect to the community that supports their products.
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August 21, 2012 7:18:59 PM

FormataAgree with you and share your theories. If it is true that the card was deliberately scaled back at original time of release... it does make mad... to me it just seems unethical. Its market manipulation for the sake of future commercial gain. Hey, I know at the end of the day it's all about the $, but this just seems like a really cheap move. Do they now honour the warranties of anyone who preformed a similar OC on a 7950 that might have had other problems with their card, but couldn't RMA them because of the OC? AMD and Nvidia need to show a little respect to the community that supports their products.


How could you be unable to RMA because of overclocking? Simply don't tell the company that you overclocked. It should be common sense among enthusiasts. Also, how is this unethical of AMD? If you have a reference 7950, then you can simply update the BIOS. If not, well, overclocking it yourself is not difficult. Furthermore, any 7950 that isn't faulty can go FAR higher than this update goes to. Any 7950 that is faulty would have been faulty regardless of this update.

This is simply a case of AMD updating one of their cards with a new feature and higher clocks without asking for extra money in return. How can this possibly be unethical? Maybe they didn't have this update ready several months ago. Maybe they didn't want the 7950 to be this powerful back when its only competition was a GTX 580 3GB. Regardless of the why (which doesn't really matter), this is not a problem. If AMD made a new 7950-based card rather than update its BIOS, this wouldn't even be a problem. Way I see it, this is better than making a new card like they did with the 7970 GHz Edition, 7750s, et cetera.
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August 22, 2012 8:17:46 AM

blazorthon Maybe they didn't want the 7950 to be this powerful back when its only competition was a GTX 580 3GB.


I appreciate and agree with all your comments bar the above quote. It just seems underhanded to me to sell a product deliberately scaled down from what it is capable of performing at, with the motive of granting that performance down the track when it makes them more financially competitive. It's almost like miss-information.

I may have spoken out of place with the Overclocking comments. I too have returned Overclocked GPU's without issue. I just imagined it may have been a problem for some people :) 
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August 23, 2012 12:36:34 AM

blazorthonIf you actually read the comments of that article, you can see that AMD is not cutting prices because they are inferior.I couldn't disagree more with your stance on Kepler. The 660 TI doesn't perform between a 7950 and a 7970. Many other reviewers than Tom's were given cherry-picked 660 TIs that were also factory overclocked and pitted against stock 800MHz 7950s with very Nvidia-friendly games and settings. How many reviewers tell us about how the 660 TI sucks at AA, tessellation, and especially DirectC lighting effects, among other issues? I'd buy the 7870 over the 660 TI. I'd even get a 7850 over a 660 TI. They overclock quite well whereas the 660 TI's huge memory bandwidth bottle-neck keeps it from overclocking well and give the 660 TI quite low minimum frame rates that are hidden by it's over-inflated maximum frame rates (it does have a GTX 670's GK104, after all).Fermi, as an architecture, was much better than Kepler at pretty much everything related to gaming and many things that aren't.

I couldn't agree more. From pure performance numbers, the Kepler architecture sounded like a solid unit at a good price. Then came all of the things not apparent on the surface - they gutted Fermi to put it bluntly. Not only that, but Radeon and Geforce cards almost completely flipped in strengths, Kepler is a PURE gaming card now. It's odd to say this, but if DirectCompute/GpGPU (definitely becoming more popular) or something like F@H is your thing, the HD7xxx series is the new answer, or go BACK to Fermi. All this talk of cherry-picked samples, so many reviews of OC vs stock Radeon cards, Kepler falling on its face with AA/AF cranking up, much less headroom for OC because they were aggressive in their clocks plus a boost clock as well, and of course secretly gutting a Nvidia hallmark feature for years, makes me give two thumbs way up for the Nvidia PR and marketing team!
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