AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Review: Give Me Back That Crown!

Benchmark Results: MediaConverter 7.5

At long last, the fixed-function Video Codec Engine is ready for testing, six months after its introduction in the Radeon HD 7970!

AMD sent us a copy of Arcsoft’s MediaConverter 7.5, specially optimized to exploit VCE. We eagerly got it installed, anxious to see how the company’s multi-stream H.264 encoder improved performance.

Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect, slowing down our MPEG-2 and H.264 source files compared to our overclocked Core i7-3960X working on its own.

Of course, very few people have their own $1000 processor running at 4.2 GHz, so we asked AMD what it’d take to turn the tables and see the VCE-enabled result on top. The company admitted that VCE will play a more assistive role in lower-end platforms armed with Radeon HD 7800- or 7700-series cards. To that, we’d add desktops with Trinity-class APUs in them.

Perhaps the most ironic data points come from the GeForce GTX 680 and 670, though. The same AMD-supplied, AMD-optimized build of MediaConverter also supports CUDA, demonstrating that not all graphics cards get outperformed by fast CPUs in these workloads.

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    Top Comments
  • EzioAs
    AMD's Driver team really deserve praise this time. Kudos AMD!
    32
  • vmem
    jrharbortTo me, increasing the memory speed was a pointless move. Nvidia realized that all of the bandwidth provided by GDDR5 and a 384bit bus is almost never utilized. The drop back to a 256bit bus on their GTX 680 allowed them to cut cost and power usage without causing a drop in performance. High end AMD cards see the most improvement from an increased core clock. Memory... Not so much.Then again, Nvidia pretty much cheated on this generation as well. Cutting out nearly 80% of the GPGPU logic, something Nvidia had been trying to market for YEARS, allowed then to even further drop production costs and power usage. AMD now has the lead in this market, but at the cost of higher power consumption and production cost.This quick fix by AMD will work for now, but they obviously need to rethink their future designs a bit.


    the issue is them rethinking their future designs scares me... Nvidia has started a HORRIBLE trend in the business that I hope to dear god AMD does not follow suite. True, Nvidia is able to produce more gaming performance for less, but this is pushing anyone who wants GPU compute to get an overpriced professional card. now before you say "well if you're making a living out of it, fork out the cash and go Quadro", let me remind you that a lot of innovators in various fields actually do use GPU compute to ultimately make progress (especially in academic sciences) to ultimately bring us better tech AND new directions in tech development... and I for one know a lot of government funded labs that can't afford to buy a stack of quadro cards
    26
  • DataGrave
    Quote:
    Nvidia has started a HORRIBLE trend in the business that I hope to dear god AMD does not follow suite.
    100% acknowledge

    And for the gamers: take a look at the new UT4 engine! Without excellent GPGPU performace this will be a disaster for each graphics card. See you, Nvidia.
    26
  • Other Comments
  • esrever
    50 mhz boosts are kinda low imo
    14
  • Darkerson
    My only complaint with the "new" card is the price. Otherwise it looks like a nice card. Better than the original version, at any rate, not that the original was a bad card to begin with.
    6
  • mayankleoboy1
    Thanks for putting my name in teh review :D

    now if only you could bold it :lol:
    2
  • wasabiman321
    Great I just ordered a gtx 670 ftw... Grrr I hope performance gets better for nvidia drivers too :D
    6
  • mayankleoboy1
    nice show AMD !

    with Winzip that does not use GPU, VCE that slows down video encoding and a card that gives lower min FPS..... EPIC FAIL.
    or before releasing your products, try to ensure S/W compatibility.
    -22
  • hellfire24
    not trying to be a fanboy but "Still GTX 670 gives you best BANG FOR DA BUCK!"
    16
  • vmem
    jrharbortTo me, increasing the memory speed was a pointless move. Nvidia realized that all of the bandwidth provided by GDDR5 and a 384bit bus is almost never utilized. The drop back to a 256bit bus on their GTX 680 allowed them to cut cost and power usage without causing a drop in performance. High end AMD cards see the most improvement from an increased core clock. Memory... Not so much.Then again, Nvidia pretty much cheated on this generation as well. Cutting out nearly 80% of the GPGPU logic, something Nvidia had been trying to market for YEARS, allowed then to even further drop production costs and power usage. AMD now has the lead in this market, but at the cost of higher power consumption and production cost.This quick fix by AMD will work for now, but they obviously need to rethink their future designs a bit.


    the issue is them rethinking their future designs scares me... Nvidia has started a HORRIBLE trend in the business that I hope to dear god AMD does not follow suite. True, Nvidia is able to produce more gaming performance for less, but this is pushing anyone who wants GPU compute to get an overpriced professional card. now before you say "well if you're making a living out of it, fork out the cash and go Quadro", let me remind you that a lot of innovators in various fields actually do use GPU compute to ultimately make progress (especially in academic sciences) to ultimately bring us better tech AND new directions in tech development... and I for one know a lot of government funded labs that can't afford to buy a stack of quadro cards
    26
  • andrewcarr
    So happy :)
    4
  • DataGrave
    Quote:
    Nvidia has started a HORRIBLE trend in the business that I hope to dear god AMD does not follow suite.
    100% acknowledge

    And for the gamers: take a look at the new UT4 engine! Without excellent GPGPU performace this will be a disaster for each graphics card. See you, Nvidia.
    26
  • cangelini
    mayankleoboy1Thanks for putting my name in teh review now if only you could bold it

    ;-)
    Excellent tip. Told you I'd look into it!
    7
  • scrumworks
    When do you actually start using new games for benchmark? Let me give you a hint, WoW is not a new game and neither it's performance is any meaningful, because it's badly coded and looking a game and graphics are lousy Quake 2 level. See it yourself what kind of game they are testing here: http://tinyurl.com/dxarebj
    -3
  • esrever
    could you do power consumption with a game instead of 3dmark? it seems these cards uses much less power durring gaming and 3dmark doesn't give a realistic showing. Maybe have both graphs would be nice so you know the maximal as well as the general gaming power use.
    7
  • DataGrave
    Quote:
    Maybe have both graphs would be nice so you know the maximal as well as the general gaming power use.
    Page 2 - 4
    0
  • EzioAs
    AMD's Driver team really deserve praise this time. Kudos AMD!
    32
  • cangelini
    scrumworksWhen do you actually start using new games for benchmark? Let me give you a hint, WoW is not a new game and neither it's performance is any meaningful, because it's badly coded and looking a game and graphics are lousy Quake 2 level. See it yourself what kind of game they are testing here: http://tinyurl.com/dxarebj

    WoW is meaningful, actually.
    New games will make it in when vendors start giving us more than two or three days to retest all of their graphics cards :)
    10
  • vrumor
    recon you are about as big of a fanboy of nvidia as people who are disliking your comment are of AMD. So before ya spout off about fanboi'ism, look in the mirror bud. I have a 7970 and until I read this I would tell people all day to get a 670. So I guess it holds true, truth hurts huh?
    7
  • sarinaide
    Very nice work, basically upping the way lower than Nvidia clocks to restore parity in performance. Obviously the buffed up speeds will increase the load power but the idle power and low state draws still are industry leading. A very good update.
    2
  • masterjaw
    Either way, this will be good for the competition and for us consumers.

    And here's me, hoping that this kind of competition landscape would still be present in the enthusiast CPU market.
    5
  • xtreme5
    what????????? AMD over the GTX 680 no no, it's not possible noooooooooooooooooooooooo....
    -9
  • sarinaide
    recon-ukMeh at best.



    I really hope this is trolling, rather than a calous endeavor to discredit a competitors product.
    8