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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