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

Meet Gigabyte's Radeon HD 7970 Super Overclock

Editor's Note: I don't want to spoil the end of today's story, but this card technically isn't available in the U.S. Instead, Gigabyte is selling the few it made in Europe and Asia, which works out well for our international audience. However, the company was kind enough to redirect one board to the States for the purpose of giving to a lucky Tom's Hardware reader. You're going to want to read through to the end of our coverage of the Radeon HD 7970 Super Overclock for your chance to win!

Apparently, there is still such thing as cool-looking and technically-impressive graphics cards. Take Gigabyte’s Radeon HD 7970 Super Overclock with Windforce 5X as an example. The company didn't necessarily reinvent the wheel here, but it did introduce a new idea in cooling. Contrary to what we’re accustomed to seeing from axial-flow fans that pollute the inside of a chassis with heated air or centrifugal fans that push exhaust out of an I/O bracket, this particular product sucks warm air away from PCB, pushing it up and out the side of a case.

Of course, in order for this to work, you need an enclosure with an opening on the side. That's going to be a difficult prerequisite for many enthusiasts to satisfy. But the advantage you get is that warm air doesn't recirculate and impact other components inside of the system. 

Gigabyte's approach is interesting. Large-diameter fans naturally won't fit. And air needs to be sucked in across the entire length of the card. So, the Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Super Overclock uses a quintet of 40 mm fans.

Today, we want to answer three questions about this new card: How loud is it? How warm does it run? And how does it perform?

At first, we were most afraid that five small fans cooling a large GPU were going to generate a ton of noise. Fortunately, that wasn't the case. But we still needed to make some modifications of our own before we were satisfied with the card's performance.

  • 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.