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AMD Radeon HD 7970: Promising Performance, Paper-Launched

Test System And Benchmarks

Our original plan was to test Radeon HD 7970 on an X79-based platform with Core i7-3960X. However, AMD pulled the rug out from under us as our desired platform was en route to the snowy whiteness that is Canada in December. Instead, we were forced to run all of our performance data on an admittedly more common LGA 1155-based Core i5-2500K overclocked to 4 GHz. The Sandy Bridge-E-based testing will have to wait until next month, when AMD lets its next batch of information spill on the 7900-series family.   

Test Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge)Overclocked to 4 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache, power-saving settings enabled, Turbo Boost disabled.
MotherboardMSI P67A-GD65, Intel P67 Chipset
MemoryOCZ DDR3-2000, 2 x 2 GB, at 1338 MT/s, CL 9-9-9-20-1T
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/sSamsung 470 Series SSD 256 GB, SATA 3Gb/s
Graphics CardsRadeon HD 7970 3 GB GDDR5Radeon HD 6970 2 GB GDDR5Radeon HD 6990 4 GB GDDR5GeForce GTX 580 1.5 GB GDDR5GeForce GTX 590 3 GB GDDR5
Power SupplySeasonic X760 SS-760KM: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
CPU CoolerCooler Master Hyper TX 2
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectX VersionDirectX 11
Graphics DriverGeForce: 285.88 Beta
Radeon: 7900 Launch Beta Driver
Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMark 11Version 1.0.3.0, Extreme Preset
Unigine HeavenVersion 2.1, two runs, Tessellation Off and Tessellation Normal
Games
Battlefield 3Version 1.0.0.0, Operation Swordbreaker, Fraps Run
Batman: Arkham CityVersion 1.0.0.0, Built-In Benchmark
Metro 2033Version 1.0.0.1, Built-In Benchmark
DiRT 3Version 1.2.0.0, Built-In Benchmark
Crysis 2Version 1.9, FRAPS runs
Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimVersion 1.2.14.0, FRAPS runs
World of WarcraftVersion 4.3.0.150.50, FRAPS runs
  • thepieguy
    If Santa is real, there will be one of these under my Christmas tree in a few more days.
    Reply
  • a4mula
    From a gaming standpoint I fail to see where this card finds a home. For 1920x1080 pretty much any card will work, meanwhile at Eyefinity resolutions it's obvious that a single gpu still isn't viable. Perhaps this will be something that people would consider over 2x 6950, but that isn't exactly an ideal setup either. While much of the article was over my head from a technical standpoint, I hope the 7 series addresses microstuttering in crossfire. If so than perhaps 2x 7950 (Assuming a 449$) becomes a viable alternative to 3x 6950 2GB. I was really hoping we'd see the 7970 in at 449, with the 7950 in at 349. Right now I'm failing to see the value in this card.
    Reply
  • mi1ez
    Damn, that's a good looking GPU!
    Reply
  • cangelini
    a4mulaFrom a gaming standpoint I fail to see where this card finds a home. For 1920x1080 pretty much any card will work, meanwhile at Eyefinity resolutions it's obvious that a single gpu still isn't viable. Perhaps this will be something that people would consider over 2x 6950, but that isn't exactly an ideal setup either. While much of the article was over my head from a technical standpoint, I hope the 7 series addresses microstuttering in crossfire. If so than perhaps 2x 7950 (Assuming a 449$) becomes a viable alternative to 3x 6950 2GB. I was really hoping we'd see the 7970 in at 449, with the 7950 in at 349. Right now I'm failing to see the value in this card.
    I'll be trolling Newegg for the next couple weeks on the off-chance they pop up before the 9th. A couple in CrossFire could be pretty phenomenal, but it remains to be seen if they maintain the 6900-series scalability.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    thepieguyIf Santa is real, there will be one of these under my Christmas tree in a few more days.
    Hate to break it to you, but there won't be, unless you celebrate Christmas in mid-January.

    Start treating your SO super-nice and ask for one for Valentine's Day!
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    Well I know what I want at tax time :D
    Reply
  • danraies
    cangeliniStart treating your SO super-nice and ask for one for Valentine's Day!
    If I ever find someone that will buy me a $500 graphics card for Valentine's Day I'll be proposing on the spot.
    Reply
  • a4mula
    cangeliniI'll be trolling Newegg for the next couple weeks on the off-chance they pop up before the 9th. A couple in CrossFire could be pretty phenomenal, but it remains to be seen if they maintain the 6900-series scalability.
    While I have little doubt that 2x of these cards would be very impressive, so would the $1100+ pricetag. I guess coming from the 580 SLI standpoint it might not seem like much, but if you've been considering the $750 ($900 for mobo+psu difference) 3x 6950 route like myself it seems like a major jump.

    Of course this is all just initial reaction towards the earliest of benchmarks. Given awhile to really dig around the new 7xxx, while allowing it to mature from a driver standpoint might make the 3x6950 seem foolhardy.
    Reply
  • Zombeeslayer143
    WOW!!! I love the conslusion; all of it, which basically is interpretted as "I'm biased towards Nvidia," and trys to say don't buy this card! Has the nerve to mention Kepler as an alternative; right, Kepler, as in 1 year away. The GTX580 just got "Radeon-ed" in it's rear. I'm not biased towards either manufacturer, just love to see and give credit to a team of people with passion, vision, and hardwork come together and put their company back on the map, as is shown here today with AMD's launch of the 7970. It's AMD's version of "Tebow Time!!"
    Reply
  • Zombeeslayer143
    No hard feelings to the author...thanks for the review nonethless..
    Reply