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Help me understand the '7970'

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 20, 2012 1:20:47 PM

I hear people talking about the 7970, but there appear to be a number of GPUs with the number 7970 in their name. Is the 7970 a specific make of GPU that is produced by various companies? What is considered to be THE 7970?

Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages of having 2 GPUs? How do I know if my MOBO/system will support it?

Thanks a heap for any answers :D 

More about : understand 7970

a b U Graphics card
December 20, 2012 1:29:33 PM

AMD designs a gpu and then licenses that design to vendors to build boards with that gpu. Sapphire, MSI, Asus, etc. take these designs from AMD and build it. Advantages of 2 gpus are more power. Disadvantages are cost, heat, and compatibility. Your mobo should have 2 pci 3.0x8 slots to use 2 gpus.
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a c 79 U Graphics card
December 20, 2012 1:32:54 PM

There is one particular graphics processor, made by AMD, that goes into all the different 7970 cards. This comes with one of two different firmwares, with the one that makes the card run faster giving the GHz Edition tag. And then there are a number of companies (eg. XFX and Sapphire) that take those graphics processors and put them onto a graphics card, with a cooler and so on, to make a finished product. They normally add their own name to the mix, and often various terms designating what cooler they put on the particular graphics card.

AMD also has a "crippled" version of that graphics processor, and that goes into all the various 7950 cards.

wanderer11 said:
Advantages of 2 gpus are more power. Disadvantages are cost, heat, and compatibility. Your mobo should have 2 pci 3.0x8 slots to use 2 gpus.

Only needs two PCIe 2.0 x8 slots. Or technically it even works in x4 slots, but that could hamper the performance of a pair of 7970s at least a little.
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December 20, 2012 1:32:55 PM

wanderer11 said:
AMD designs a gpu and then licenses that design to vendors to build boards with that gpu. Sapphire, MSI, Asus, etc. take these designs from AMD and build it. Advantages of 2 gpus are more power. Disadvantages are cost, heat, and compatibility. Your mobo should have 2 pci 3.0x8 slots to use 2 gpus.


Thanks for the help :) 
So would you say that the 'more power' provided by 2 GPUs is helpful? Is 1 HIS Radeon HD 7970 IceQ enough to run any game at 30-60fps?
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a b U Graphics card
December 20, 2012 1:34:14 PM

ok 7970 is designed by AMD
when a new card gets realeased all of the partner manufacturers can only product the original "refference" design that they received so they will all look the same using the same cooler. after a month or two AMD gives them a green light to create their own versions of 7970 meaning its the same card inside but they might have use different color of the circuit board, a different cooler on the top and they might give you more features such as better power management, higher core and memory speeds (overclocked models), you will see fanless cards, cards that are ready to be water cooler and so on

so there are computer hardware manufacturers making their version of the original design...amd designs the cards and manufacturers follow these designs to make their own product...you can mix and match the cards from different manufacturers as long as they are in the same product family so you can have an Asus 7970 working together with XFX 7970, you can't mix a 7970 with a 7850
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a b U Graphics card
December 20, 2012 1:37:37 PM

It's AMD's flagship GPU. AMD, like Nvidia, doesn't make the cards themselves (apart from engineering samples). They ship their chips to the other manufacturers such as Asus, Gigabyte, Msi, etc. The only real difference between all of these is usually the cooling solution.

Advantages of having 2 or more graphics cards is obviously better 3D performance which is aimed at gamers with deeper pockets. The disadvantages are the extra cost and power usage, seldom driver issues, game incompatibility and microstutter. It's usually reserved for high end parts since it's pretty much always better to have 1 flagship card (Radeon 7970, GTX680) than 2 mid ranged cards (Radeon 7850, GTX660) to avoid pretty much all of the above mentioned disadvantages 100% of the time.

To check if your system supports CrossFire (AMD)/SLI (Nvidia), it's usually best to refer your motherboard's manual or specification sheet on manufacturer's website. Pretty much all Intel based motherboards with 2 or more PCI-e x16 slots support both CF and SLI but some AMD based boards only support CF due to licencing issues.
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a b U Graphics card
December 20, 2012 1:39:49 PM

nolanb13 said:
Thanks for the help :) 
So would you say that the 'more power' provided by 2 GPUs is helpful? Is 1 HIS Radeon HD 7970 IceQ enough to run any game at 30-60fps?


If you are playing at 1920x1080 then yeah you will definitely get 30+ fps in any game on ultra. If you want to play at 2560x1440 or 5760x1080 you may want to crossfire. Also, there is the 7970 GHz edition, which is basically an overclocked 7970 so it will be more powerful than a vanilla 7970.
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December 20, 2012 1:51:39 PM

Ahhh, this makes a lot more sense now, thanks a lot fellas.
A few more things, if you'd like to help :) 
I assume it would be entirely possible to buy and install one GPU and then later, if I need to, install another one?
Also, can you tell me what is the best 7970 GPU for money? I'm willing to spend around 400 dollars on it, but I can fork out more if the value is really there.

THANKS :D 
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a b U Graphics card
December 20, 2012 2:50:59 PM

yes buy can buy one card and get another one later on, but make sure when making a part list you get a motherboard that can support multiple graphics, the power supply has enough watts to support another card in the future, the case is big enough, you get the same card family card meaning another 7970...doesnt matter which manufacturer as long its the name number

newegg link to 7970 cards:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...


the cheapest is $380 and it has a nice aftermarket heatsink on it :D  (not a refference card)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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