A sample of AMD's next-generation Radeon HD 7970 landed in our lab just before Santa. Don't cross your fingers for one of these in your stocking, though. It's not available yet. Is it fast, though? Our benchmarks suggest yes, but more testing remains!
If 3DMark is any indication, the Radeon HD 7970 has a great deal of potential. It lands right between the GeForce GTX 580 and dual-chip solutions like Radeon HD 6990 and GeForce GTX 590. Being natural cynics, we can’t say we put a lot of faith in the correlation between these scores and what our real-world tests will demonstrate, but it’s good to see in this one ubiquitous title for which graphics vendors religiously optimize, the possibility exists for this single-GPU board to at least approach the last generation of hot, power-hungry dual-GPU cards.
Let’s continue with another synthetic, Unigine’s Heaven Benchmark. Since we’re taking the benchmark twice (once with tessellation off and once with it set to Normal), these results give us a point of comparison to gauge any of Tahiti’s tessellation improvements. Bear in mind that we disabled AMD’s tessellation optimizations in the CCC driver for all tests, making this a fairer metric.
We again see what the Radeon HD 7970 can do. However, the results wind up coming across confusing because the frame rate penalty incurred when enabling tessellation is more pronounced than it is on other cards.
The tessellation setting in Batman: Arkham City only allows you to choose between normal and high tessellation without turning other DirectX 11 features off entirely. So, we benchmarked both settings to isolate tessellation as a variable. The frame rates are so close here that it’s hard to declare a winner.
H.A.W.X. 2 lets us turn tessellation on or off, so it should make an ideal comparison. As we might have guessed given its standing as a TWIMTBP title, the game is clearly optimized for GeForce graphics cards, making a more general assessment difficult.
However, the vendor-specific optimizations can be minimized by comparing tessellated performance relative to non-tessellated results:
Here we see that the Radeon HD 7970 is better able to cope with a tessellation load compared to the Radeon HD 6970. It performs on par with the GeForce GTX 580 and Radeon HD 6990.
- Radeon HD 7970: A Holiday Surprise That You Can't Buy
- Graphics Core Next: The Southern Islands Architecture
- Bringing It All Together: The Tahiti GPU And Radeon HD 7970
- PRTs, DirectX 11.1, Eyefinity, Stereoscopic 3D, And More
- Test System And Benchmarks
- Synthetic And Tessellation Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3
- Benchmark Results: Crysis 2
- Benchmark Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Benchmark Results: DiRT 3
- Benchmark Results: World Of Warcraft
- Benchmark Results: Batman: Arkham City
- Benchmark Results: Metro 2033
- GPGPU Benchmarks: This Time, With A Preface
- 2D Performance Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: Overclocking
- Power, Temperature, And Noise Benchmarks
- Radeon HD 7970: Fast, Forward-Looking, But Not Fully Baked