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AMD Radeon HD 7970: Promising Performance, Paper-Launched

Benchmark Results: Overclocking

AMD representatives were quite confident about the Radeon HD 7970’s overclocking headroom. They went so far to say that most cores will make it over 1 GHz, that many will get past 1.1 GHz, and that some will even slam right into 1.2 GHz. Moreover, they claimed that the stock 1375 MHz GDDR5 memory could make it to 1625 MHz or higher.

We were happy to perform the tests needed to validate AMD’s claims. Unfortunately, the card’s stock BIOS is more of a prude than the company’s representatives. Its software-based Overdrive tool won’t push any higher than 1125 MHz on the core and 1575 MHz memory. Compared to the stock 925 MHz core and 1375 MHz memory settings, though, those are respectable ceilings for a consumer card. Of course, board partners will be able to customize the overclocking limits of their own offerings, and if the Radeon HD 7970 has the overclocking headroom that AMD says it does, we’d hope to see factory-overclocked cards with nice boosts.

With all of that said, we increased PowerTune’s slider by the maximum 20% setting and shot for the moon. The result on this undoubtedly hand-picked sample was the top available frequencies. Will your card be chosen for its headroom? Probably not. Can we guarantee you’ll see a similar overclock? Unfortunately not.

How does that frequency jump translate into performance? We’ll show you: