With Nvidia's GeForce GTX 670 readily available for $400, AMD's Radeon HD 7950 shifts to the upper middle class of graphics card performance. We test six third-party interpretations in anticipation of pricing more in line with its competitive position.
The Radeon HD 7950 has had a fairly quiet run since its release a little over four months ago, with many customers taking either a step up to the Radeon HD 7970 or a step down to an overclocked Radeon HD 7870. This is regrettable, since the Radeon HD 7950 actually beats the other two cards in efficiency.
Now that the cheaper (and even more efficient) GeForce GTX 670 is readily available at major retailers, the Radeon HD 7950 is starting to come down in price, mostly in the form of rebates. As vendors get realistic about the Tahiti-based board's competitive position, it should become more affordable for a greater number of gamers, effectively taking over the higher middle-class role in AMD's line-up from the Radeon HD 6950.
Today, we're taking a look at the Radeon HD 7950 in its new role. By now, the card is available in a variety of versions, and we have six boards engineered for different strengths. Some overclock well, while others are designed to operate as quietly as possible. We're also including video to demonstrate the acoustic characteristics of each card, believing that graphs sometimes fall short when it comes to conveying this very important aspect of a card's performance. If you are in the market for a graphics card in this segment, you'll know what to buy once AMD's boards reach a price with which you're comfortable.
Five Custom Designs And One Reference Model
We have a quintet of custom Radeon HD 7950 cards from AMD partners, in addition to a reference card from HIS. Naturally, you pay the least for the reference version, making it an ideal choice for fans of water cooling, who'll rip off that heat sink anyway.
Here are the specs for the six graphics cards. The prices don't include rebates, though many of these vendors are pulling prices down substantially by offering money back.
|HIS H795F3G2M||HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo||Sapphire HD|
|Asus HD7950-DC2T-3GD5||MSI R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD/OC||PowerColor PCS+ AX7950 3GBD5-2DHPP|
|Full Color ROPs||32||32||32||32||32||32|
|Graphics Clock||800 MHz||900 MHz||900 MHz||900 MHz||880 MHz||880 MHz|
|Texture Fillrate||89.6 |
|Memory Clock||1250 MHz||1250 MHz||1250 MHz||1250 MHz||1250 MHz||1250 MHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||240 GB/s||240 GB/s||240 GB/s||240 GB/s||240 GB/s||240 GB/s|
|Graphics RAM||3 GB ||3 GB ||3 GB ||3 GB||3 GB||3 GB|
|Process Technology||28 nm||28 nm||28 nm||28 nm||28 nm||28 nm|
|Power Connectors||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin|
(for 800 MHz
Aside from HIS' submission, all of these cards are overclocked by default. Unfortunately, the HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo (running at 900 MHz) isn't available in North America, though there's an 800 MHz model with the same cooler.
- Six Radeon HD 7950s, Rounded-Up
- HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo
- Sapphire HD 7950 OC
- Asus HD 7950 DirectCU II
- MSI HD 7950 Twin Frozr III
- PowerColor HD 7950 PCS
- HIS H795F3G2M (Reference Design)
- How We Test
- Power Consumption
- Noise Comparison Videos
- Benchmark Results And Overclocking
- Which Radeon HD 7950 Is Right For You?