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23 de December de 2011

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Released – Summary

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Written by: Pedro
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Yesterday, December 22, AMD released the first HD 7000 family graphics card, the Radeon HD 7970.

The card brings a lot of new features and various performance numbers to analyze. With this article I will try to make it easier for you to gather all the info regarding the HD 7970. I will not go deep into anything and for that you should check the more specific benchmarks and articles for what you are looking for.

Let’s start

- The AMD Radeon HD 7970 is the first member of Southern Islands family of GPUs. This specific model was codenamed “Tahiti”. It boosts 3GB of GDDR5 video memory clocked at 1375 MHz, the core is clocked at 925 MHz and the card features a 384-bit memory bus. The GPU itself has 4.3 Billion transistors which were possible in part to the 28nm fabrication process. Finally, the card possesses 2048 stream processors and 32 ROPs (The number of ROPs has not increased from the HD 6970) .

- The launch for the HD 7970 was a limited launch. Being that the case, only a very limited amount of graphics cards are available to the public and probably all of them have been sold and/or reserved by now.

- The “real” launch is expected to be on January 9 (just before CES 2012) and not only the HD 7970 but also the HD 7950 will be released.

- The AMD Radeon HD 7970 is the first graphics card to use a GPU built with the 28nm fabrication process. Basically, AMD can put more “stuff” into a smaller area and using lower voltages which obviously brings great benefits. It is also the first DirectX 11.1 and PCI Express 3.0 graphics card.

- PCI Express 3.0 has been hyped for a while now but you won’t see any difference from PCI Express 2.0 in the most hardcore game even with the HD 7970. Some improvement was shown however is some very specific benchmarks/situations.

- The HD 7970 also brings the new Eyefinity 2.0 which now allows the user to use different monitors (with different resolutions for example) to setup Eyefinity and support to resolution of up to 16k x 16k. Since the HD 7970 comes with 3GB of video memory that doesn’t look all that scary…right? Apart from that some improvements in HD3D, Tessellation and AMD’s UVD are also present.

- Overall the HD 7970 is significantly faster than both the GTX 580 and the HD 6970. The difference becomes more substantial in higher resolutions being near 20% faster that the GTX 580 and 30% faster than the HD 6970 at those resolutions.

- While the HD 7970 is the top-of-the-line single GPU from AMD (even counting with future HD 7000 products) it boosts a low power consumption. It uses just a few watts on desktop idle and the TDP is 210W (some reports however showed the power consumption go higher than it’s TDP). Even better is that when idle the graphics card will shut itself down (including the cooler) due to the new ZeroCore Power technology with just a fraction of the GPU working.

- Temperature and noise wise the reference HD 7970 is on par with other reference cards we have seen lately, no surprises there.

- The HD 7970 also seems to have a good overclocking potential. When brands bring out their “premium versions” of this card we may have a very nice surprise.

- The HD 7970 price is set at 549 US dollars.

- The HD 7970 is plain and simple the fastest single GPU graphics card in the world at the moment. It even comes close to both the GTX 590 and the HD 6990. As new drivers are released we can expect that performance will improve and that new features will be added so that one can use the full potential of the HD 7970.


There you have it, a small and simple summary of the HD 7970. If something was forgotten or any data is incorrect please let me know as I will fix and/or add it. Let’s see how Nvidia’s Kepler is going to pair up against this beast by AMD.


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