Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Super Overclock: Now With Windforce 5X

Gigabyte's Cooling Solution, Up Close

The theory behind Gigabyte's Windforce 5X cooling solution is similar to what we've seen from direct heat exhaust-based systems, whereby warm air is channeled in such a way that it should not affect neighboring components or even increase the ambient temperature inside of a case.

Conceptually, the idea is great. However, it requires some creativity to implement. Gigabyte uses fans on top of the card that are turned around, sucking air though the card and away from the board instead of blowing into the card's heat sink. Heated air is then meant to exhaust through an opening on the side of the case.

Because of where they're located, Gigabyte was only able to use 40 mm fans on this three-slot card. This could get loud. In order to move the same amount of air as larger fans, these small blowers have to spin faster. And spinning faster generally results in a lot more noise. We're looking at up to about 10 000 RPM per fan.

The cooler is held in place by six screws. Taking them off gives us a good view of the board and cooler separately.

A total of nine heat pipes with diameters of 6 mm each transfer the heat from the large vapor chamber to the aluminum heat sink. The heat sink is constructed so that the air can’t escape to the sides.

We’ve overlaid a photo of the board with a photo of the cooler to better illustrate how they fit together.

The next photo shows the connection between the vapor chamber and four heat pipes that run toward the back of the card. It also shows the air channels, a few of which are partially open to allow indirect cooling of the board.

Even though the cooler looks imposing, we did have some questions about its performance. We’ll take a closer look on the next page.

  • unksol
    While the cooler is an interesting concept, and the cards components are solid build quality and attention to detail seem to be severely lacking. The cooler isn't even designed for this board. Loose screws? thermal pads and TIM you have to scrape off/replace and void your warranty? And on a review sample of all things. I can't imagine one off the line would improve that situation...

    And while good on Toms for reporting it why isnt the card tested as it comes from the factory so we know what to actually expect...
  • I will surely like to have that Gigabyte HD 7970 Super Overclock graphics card and be the only one in the US to claim so.
  • amuffin
    The Gigabyte SOC Cards were always on of the most intriguing series out there of GPU's!
  • jase240
    I like the idea of this card, but really that thing is LOUD. I have an Asus GTX 670 Direct CUII TOP and its silent even at load its barely audible. Personally I think if someone is going to overclock to the extent that they need a card that keeps the ambient temps to be low, they will probably be liquid cooling their CPU with a radiator at the top of their case(that's what I'm doing).

    Honestly though if this card could be a little quieter it would be a great standard considering most people do still overclock with air coolers, and one thing bad for air coolers is a hot GPU blowing air towards the CPU.
  • goodguy713
    To be honest i think its a pretty sexy card.. loud yea.. but still a sweet card.. ill keep my fingers crossed..
  • JeanLuc
    Yikes at the fan noise. Makes me glad I invested in a water cooling loop!
  • Over 90 degrees celcius? That card might not last too long if its under load all the time!
  • hellfire24
    gigabyte gtx 7970 *house brick* edition.
  • gsxrme
    Water cooling is truly the only option for really overclocking. Those fans are way to noisy. I wish toms had a 1300Mhz GTX680 listed because my factory ASUS reference board even hits 1300Mhz Core / 6750Mhz Ram with no mods or voltage tweaks. I don't see this as a breakthrough and with the cost of 2500 res monitors less than 1% of the market are running that high.
  • nforce4max
    This card isn't meant for the chickens that want cards to mostly silent but is for those who are much more aggressive in overclocking while being more forgiving when it comes to noise. This card isn't that loud compared to some rack mounted servers, I think that you guys could have pushed it further (why not) despite the power consumption. I like the build quality despite the R10 rated inductors that are driving the memory and gpu Q_Q As for the cooler I wonder if the heat pips only make contact with the vapor chamber or actually part of it? It isn't hard to design a good cooler but will cost more to produce.

    A lot of noise is a lot cheaper than going liquid cooling and as hot as it gets where I live you Need a really good cooling solution.