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Now, here's the bad news: according to Gigabyte, there are only about 200 Radeon HD 7970 Super Overclock with Windforce 5X cards in the world, and they're all stuck in Asia and Europe. So, if you're reading this story from one of those continents, there's a slim chance you can get your hands on one, limited though the card may be. If you're in the U.S., unfortunately, the card won't be found for sale.
This is more a demonstration of what Gigabyte might be able to achieve with its Windforce 5X cooler than a mass-market card. But we're at least happy to report that our initial fears of ghastly acoustics were unfounded, and that it's even possible to improve on the original sample by removing the memory's thermal pads, by re-applying thermal compound, and by setting up our own fan speed profile.
Most importantly (and more noteworthy than the benchmarks and comparisons to other cards), we see now that this type of cooling solution is a viable way to dissipate heat without recirculating warm air inside a chassis, as many aftermarket designs are guilty of doing. The only shame is that you're required to use a very particular type of chassis. Otherwise, this approach to cooling would, in fact, simply blow heat around inside.
We cannot give this card our recommendation or any sort of award. We don't know when it'll be available or how much it will cost. And we do know that customers in the U.S. won't be able to get it. We are fans of Gigabyte's cooling solution, though, which does prove to be innovative. It's not just some third-party heat sink re-branded for this one card. So, we congratulate Gigabyte for daring to create something new.
The only changes we'd suggest would be a less aggressive fan speed profile and a few minor adjustments to the hardware finish. Otherwise, the card could be a great enthusiast's collector's piece.
The contest opens on August 6, 2012 9:00 PM PDT and closes on August 20, 2012 9:00 PM PDT.
One (1) Winner Will Be Chosen Randomly. Prize (provided by Gigabyte): One (1) Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Super Overclock Graphics Card with Windforce 5X Cooling
DUE TO LEGAL REQUIREMENTS, THIS CONTEST IS LIMITED TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE USA (EXCLUDING RI) AND 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER.
UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PERSONAL INFORMATION WILL ONLY BE USED TO QUALIFY AND CONTACT THE WINNER.