Sapphire Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition Review: Gaming On 6 GB Of GDDR5

Board, Cooler, And Power Supply

Taking the Sapphire Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition 6 GB Apart

The first thing that caught our eye when we took Sapphire's Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition apart was its large, flat vapor chamber. It’s fastened to a plate that cools the RAM modules and is secured to the board. Four heat pipes transfer thermal energy away from the chamber itself and into the cooler's aluminum fins. Two of those pipes are 8 mm in diameter, and the other two are 6 mm.

The card has good voltage regulator module (VRM) cooling. An aluminum brace beneath the cooler’s fins sits right on top of the VRM heat sinks.

Superimposing the cooler over the board reveals where the heat sink touches the PCB.

The memory on the back of the card is cooled by the support plate. Thermal pads in between are quite thick and soft.

The backplate features a thick, isolating foil with holes cut out for the thermal pads.

The back of the card sports the parts that Sapphire doubled up on, including its Black Diamond chokes.

Sapphire employs an 8 + 1 + 1 power regulator design, dubbed Lethal Power Suite. Eight phases correspond to the GPU, and the others are for the memory. Black Diamond chokes and MOSFETs with DirectFET packaging technology by International Rectifier on both sides of the board are meant to keep temperatures under 100 degrees Celsius. The heat sink and fans handle the rest.

There are several voltage measurement points under the small blue plastic shroud for the eight-phase circuit, which is a nice feature for extreme overclockers.

You can see the digital CHiL voltage regulator and two eight-pin power connectors toward the bottom of the picture.

And here we have a mystery button! Read on to find out what it does.

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  • Youngmind
    The 6gb of memory might not have much of an effect with only a single card, but I wonder if it will have a larger impact if you use in configurations with more graphics cards such as tri-crossfire and quad-crossfire? If people are willing to spend so much money on monitors, I think they'd be willing to spend a lot of money on tri/quad graphics card configurations.
    32
  • FormatC
    Quote:
    Tom's Hardware, if you are going to be reviewing a graphics card with 6 GB of VRAM you have to review at least two of them in Crossfire.
    Sapphire was unfortunately not able to send two cards. That's annoying, but not our problem. And: two of these are cards are deadly for my ears ;)
    15
  • tpi2007
    YoungmindThe 6gb of memory might not have much of an effect with only a single card, but I wonder if it will have a larger impact if you use in configurations with more graphics cards such as tri-crossfire and quad-crossfire? If people are willing to spend so much money on monitors, I think they'd be willing to spend a lot of money on tri/quad graphics card configurations.


    This.

    BigMack70Would be very interested in seeing this in crossfire at crazy resolutions compared to a pair of 3GB cards in crossfire to see if the vram helps in that case


    And this.

    Tom's Hardware, if you are going to be reviewing a graphics card with 6 GB of VRAM you have to review at least two of them in Crossfire. VRAM is not cumulative, so using two regular HD 7970 3 GB in Crossfire still means that you only have a 3 GB framebuffer, so for high resolutions with multiple monitors, 6 GB might make the difference.

    So, are we going to get an update to this review ? As it is it is useless. Make a review with at least two of those cards with three 30" 1600p monitors. That is the kind of setup someone considering buying one of those cards will have. And that person won't buy just one card. Those cards with 6 GB of VRAM were made to be used at least in pairs. I'm surprised Sapphire didn't tell you guys that in the first place. In any case, you should have figured it out.
    14
  • Other Comments
  • Youngmind
    The 6gb of memory might not have much of an effect with only a single card, but I wonder if it will have a larger impact if you use in configurations with more graphics cards such as tri-crossfire and quad-crossfire? If people are willing to spend so much money on monitors, I think they'd be willing to spend a lot of money on tri/quad graphics card configurations.
    32
  • robthatguyx
    i think this would perform much better with a trifire.if one 7970 reference can handle 3 screens than 3 of these could easily eat 6 screen,in my op
    YoungmindThe 6gb of memory might not have much of an effect with only a single card, but I wonder if it will have a larger impact if you use in configurations with more graphics cards such as tri-crossfire and quad-crossfire? If people are willing to spend so much money on monitors, I think they'd be willing to spend a lot of money on tri/quad graphics card configurations.
    6
  • palladin9479
    YoungmindThe 6gb of memory might not have much of an effect with only a single card, but I wonder if it will have a larger impact if you use in configurations with more graphics cards such as tri-crossfire and quad-crossfire? If people are willing to spend so much money on monitors, I think they'd be willing to spend a lot of money on tri/quad graphics card configurations.


    Seeing as in both SLI and CFX memory contents are copied to each card, you would practically need that much for ridiculously large screen playing. One card can not handle multiple screens as this was designed for, you need at least two for a x4 screen and three for a x6 screen. The golden rule seems to be two screens per high end card.
    8
  • tpi2007
    YoungmindThe 6gb of memory might not have much of an effect with only a single card, but I wonder if it will have a larger impact if you use in configurations with more graphics cards such as tri-crossfire and quad-crossfire? If people are willing to spend so much money on monitors, I think they'd be willing to spend a lot of money on tri/quad graphics card configurations.


    This.

    BigMack70Would be very interested in seeing this in crossfire at crazy resolutions compared to a pair of 3GB cards in crossfire to see if the vram helps in that case


    And this.

    Tom's Hardware, if you are going to be reviewing a graphics card with 6 GB of VRAM you have to review at least two of them in Crossfire. VRAM is not cumulative, so using two regular HD 7970 3 GB in Crossfire still means that you only have a 3 GB framebuffer, so for high resolutions with multiple monitors, 6 GB might make the difference.

    So, are we going to get an update to this review ? As it is it is useless. Make a review with at least two of those cards with three 30" 1600p monitors. That is the kind of setup someone considering buying one of those cards will have. And that person won't buy just one card. Those cards with 6 GB of VRAM were made to be used at least in pairs. I'm surprised Sapphire didn't tell you guys that in the first place. In any case, you should have figured it out.
    14
  • FormatC
    Quote:
    Tom's Hardware, if you are going to be reviewing a graphics card with 6 GB of VRAM you have to review at least two of them in Crossfire.
    Sapphire was unfortunately not able to send two cards. That's annoying, but not our problem. And: two of these are cards are deadly for my ears ;)
    15
  • Anonymous
    tpi2007This.And this.Tom's Hardware, if you are going to be reviewing a graphics card with 6 GB of VRAM you have to review at least two of them in Crossfire. VRAM is not cumulative, so using two regular HD 7970 3 GB in Crossfire still means that you only have a 3 GB framebuffer, so for high resolutions with multiple monitors, 6 GB might make the difference.So, are we going to get an update to this review ? As it is it is useless. Make a review with at least two of those cards with three 30" 1600p monitors. That is the kind of setup someone considering buying one of those cards will have. And that person won't buy just one card. Those cards with 6 GB of VRAM were made to be used at least in pairs. I'm surprised Sapphire didn't tell you guys that in the first place. In any case, you should have figured it out.

    Why not go to the uber-extreme and have crossfire X (4gpus) with six 2500X1600 monitors and crank up the AA to 4x super sampling to prove once and for all in stone.
    3
  • esrever
    The normal 7970s seem much better than the ghz edition.
    -1
  • freggo
    FormatCSapphire was unfortunately not able to send two cards. That's annoying, but not our problem. And: two of these are cards are deadly for my ears


    Thanks for the review. The noise demo alone helps in making a purchase decission.
    No sale !

    Anyone know why no card has been designed to be turned OFF ( 0 Watts !) when idle, and the system switching to internal graphics for just desktop stuff or simple tasks?
    Then applications like Photoshop, Premiere or the ever popular Crisis could 'wake up' the card and have the system switch over.

    Or are there cards like that ?
    2
  • FormatC
    For noise comparison between oc'ed Radeons HD 7970 take a look at this:
    http://www.tomshardware.de/Tahiti-XT2-HD-7970-X-X-Edition,testberichte-241091-6.html
    2
  • dudewitbow
    freggoThanks for the review. The noise demo alone helps in making a purchase decission.No sale !Anyone know why no card has been designed to be turned OFF ( 0 Watts !) when idle, and the system switching to internal graphics for just desktop stuff or simple tasks?Then applications like Photoshop, Premiere or the ever popular Crisis could 'wake up' the card and have the system switch over.Or are there cards like that ?


    I think that has been applied to laptops, but not on the desktop scene. One of the reasons why I would think its not as useful on a desktop scene is even if your build has stuff off, the PSU is the least efficient when on near 0% load, so no matter what, your still going to burn electricity just by having the computer on. All gpus nowandays have downclocking features when its not being on load(my 7850 downclocks to 300mhz on idle) but I wouldnt think cards will go full out 0.
    3
  • mesab66
    Nice review. However, most of us would have been able to work out the benchmarks in our heads - we've all seen similar reviews and understand that, beyond a minimum, more memory in a single card setup makes little/no difference. The company is trying to lure us into a multi-card setup - hoping that the memory benifits there override/mask out the obvious significant noise issue.

    If these companies - or ourselves - can tackle the noise then such card's traget senario would be realised. Of course, even here, for the rest of us mere mortals we still have one more significant 'hurdle'........cost......so we'll keep waiting.
    0
  • spat55
    far too much money, would rather buy a TV with that!
    2
  • hellfire24
    for a single monitor,this is waste! 3GB is enough.
    0
  • spentshells
    This did not feel like an enthusiast review.

    I realize it is expensive but the review needed another tox for CF and some proper monitors.

    Lack luster to say the least. Nothing to say wow about here, I have a feeling 2 or 3 these in cf on water or phase change is something I will have to hunt down myself on the internet
    3
  • shin0bi272
    Would like to see a comparison at 3 monitors against a Galaxy GeForce GTX 680 SOC White Edition ...

    You know since an even number of monitors means youre looking at a lovely seam running right down the middle of your view.
    0
  • Yuka
    "All of that makes Sapphire's Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition an answer in search of a problem. We can’t think of a usage scenario for which we’d recommend it. If you really dig the effort Sapphire put into its Vapor-X cooling solution, we recommend you check out the Vapor-X HD 7970 GHz Edition 3 GB card, and use the difference to take your better half out to a nice dinner."

    Really? I can think Crossfire and use 6x30" monitors. If you're getting an expensive set up, why not go all the way? This is the Beyron of setups after all!

    And yes, it was a very unfair conclusion, since regular people is no the target customer of this kind of card. I thought Toms had more enthusiast blood.

    Cheers!
    3
  • myufox
    I heard the same thing said about 1GB and 2GB. Hang tight for a year or so and 6GB will be there. Also high resolution screens like the retina displays will demand much much more from our graphics cards, as they become more popular. Only just now has IPS panels really start becoming in demand for computer monitors thanks to Ipad, and next will be the retina displays.
    0
  • rebel1280
    Why not just hook it up to a 1080P projector 0.o ... or THREE 1080P projectors?!!!! that would be awesome!
    1
  • rthorington
    How effective would the 6GB of video RAM be for Microsoft's RemoteFX (giving multiple users -- single or possibly dual displays)?
    0
  • rmerwede
    Who the heck would run at that rez in Eyefinity 6? Why not 5760x2160?
    -1