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AMD Radeon HD 7950 Review: Up Against GeForce GTX 580

Test Setup And Benchmarks

Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) 3.3 GHz at 4.2 GHz (42 * 100 MHz), LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardGigabyte X79-UD5 (LGA 2011) X79 Express Chipset, BIOS F8
MemoryG.Skill 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL @ 9-9-9-24 and 1.5 V
Hard DriveIntel SSDSC2MH250A2 250 GB SATA 6Gb/s
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 7950 3 GB
AMD Radeon HD 7970 3 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6990 4 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6970 2 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6950 2 GB
Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 3 GB
Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB
Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 1.25 GB
Power SupplyCooler Master UCP-1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverAMD 8.921.2 RC11 (For Radeon HD 7970 and 7950)
AMD 11.12 CAP3  (For CrossFire Configurations)
AMD Catalyst 11.12
Nvidia GeForce Release 285.62

We've transitioned our test platform for graphics to a Sandy Bridge-E-based Core i7-3960X overclocked to 4.2 GHz. You'll notice that, in some cases, that's still not enough processing power to let some of our more demanding two- and four-GPU configurations really stretch their legs. I also made the call to swap from an Asus motherboard to a Gigabyte platform after discovering, last year during a Z68 Express motherboard round-up, that certain settings in Asus' BIOS would alter Turbo Boost behavior in an undesirable way.

Games
Battlefield 3Ultra Quality Settings, No AA / 16x AF, 4x MSAA / 16x AF, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, DirectX 11, Going Hunting, 90-second playback, Fraps
Crysis 2DirectX 9 / DirectX 11, Ultra System Spec, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, No AA / No AF, Central Park, High-Resolution Textures: On
Metro 2033Very High Quality Settings, AAA / 4x AF, 4x MSAA / 16x AF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, Built-in Benchmark, Depth of Field filter Disabled, Steam version
DiRT 3Ultra High Settings, No AA / No AF, 8x AA / No AF, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, Steam version, Built-In Benchmark Sequence, DX 11
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimHigh Quality (8x AA / 8x AF) / Ultra Quality (8x AA, 16x AF) Settings, FXAA enabled, vsync off, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, 25-second playback, Fraps
3DMark 11Version 1.03, Extreme Preset
HAWX 2Highest Quality Settings, 8x AA, 1920x1200, Retail Version, Built-in Benchmark, Tessellation on/off
World of Warcraft: CataclysmUltra Quality Settings, No AA / 16x AF, 8x AA / 16x AF, From Crushblow to The Krazzworks, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, Fraps, DirectX 11 Rendering
SiSoftware Sandra 2012Sandra Tech Support (Engineer) 2012.SP1c, GP Processing and GP Bandwidth Modules
CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5449 MB 1080i Video Sample to Apple iPad 2 Profile (1024x768)
LuxMark64-bit Binary, Version 1.0
MotionDSP vReveal 31080i Video Sample Playback, Apply One-Click Fix
  • bak0n
    More good GPU news. Keep em coming!
    Reply
  • Im not Paying $450 for barely better then GTX 580 performance a year after its released. They will have to knock that down to like $300, $250 for a 2gb version when Nvidia releases their next gen cards. Wait those money grubers out imo.
    Reply
  • thesnappyfingers
    stm I was thinking the same thing. But then agian it is still cheaper, more efficient compared to the gtx 580. Still, I am waiting it out till kepler.
    Reply
  • rmpumper
    7950/7970 should be priced ~$50+ of 6950/6970 prices. So as it is now, if nvidia's gtx680 will be better than 7970 they will price it at >$600? That's a load of crock.
    Reply
  • Derbixrace
    great value compared to the 7970 because you can OC it to be faster than it on stock voltage and even further with voltage tweaking ;)
    Reply
  • esrever
    I'd love to have one once kepler comes and these drop in price. Im gonna start saving.
    Reply
  • It beats the GTX580 one on one in most benchies and that's not taking into account the overclocking headroom these things have, they're also power friendlier and with XFX, cooler, quieter and expected to be cheaper so what's the problem? Me thinks me smell's NV fanboys!!
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    According to W1zzard's review, this card tops the Performance / Watt chart.
    Reply
  • primonatron
    Are the Skyrim benchmarks on the v1.4 beta patch?

    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl
    rmpumper7950/7970 should be priced ~$50+ of 6950/6970 prices. So as it is now, if nvidia's gtx680 will be better than 7970 they will price it at >$600? That's a load of crock.Every rumor and leak I've seen so far on gk104 pricing seems to indicate otherwise...

    http://www.guru3d.com/news/nvidia-gk104-kepler-gpu-priced-at-299-230-/
    According to Nvidia's AIB partners the initial price set for the first gk104 based graphics card is $300. Of course this can go up or down based on the competition. Unfortunately, I have the feeling it'll be going up.
    Reply