Amd hd 7970


AMD Radeon HD 7970

Общая информация
РазработчикAMD
Год выхода2011
Категория видеокартыДесктопная
Тип видеокартыДискретная
ИнтерфейсPCIe 3.0
Максимальное разрешение2560 x 1600
Графический процессор
АрхитектураGCN 1.0
ЯдроTahiti
Количество чипов1
Техпроцесс28 nm
Количество транзисторов4313 млн
Площадь352 мм²
Частота ядра925 MHz
Универсальных шейдерных блоков2048
Блоков растеризации (ROP)32
Текстурных блоков (TMU)128
Пиксельная скорость заполнения (pixel fillrate)29.6 GPixel/s
Текстурная скорость заполнения (texel fillrate)118.4 GTexel/s
Видеопамять
ТипGDDR5
Объем3072 Mb
Частота5500 MHz
Ширина шины384 bit
Пропускная способность264.0 GB/s
Питание
Макс. потребляемая энергия (TDP)250 W
Мин. требования к блоку питания600 W
Разъемы дополнительного питания6-pin + 8-pin
Поддерживаемые API и технологии
DirectX11.2
OpenGL4.5
OpenCL1.2
Shader Model5.0
SLI / CrossFireXCrossFireX
Другие технологии• ATI Eyefinity• HDCP• AMD HD3D• AMD PowerTune• AMD ZeroCore

• AMD Mantle

Сравнить Radeon HD 7970 с другой видеокартой

( ~ 600 моделей )

Быстродействие Radeon HD 7970

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Рейтинг видеокарт

( + спецификации )

Сервис сравнения процессоров

( ~ 2 600 моделей )

Рейтинг процессоров

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www.chaynikam.info

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Review: 28nm And Graphics Core Next, Together As One

While AMD and NVIDIA are consistently revising their GPU architectures, for the most part the changes they make are just that: revisions. It’s only once in a great while that a GPU architecture is thrown out entirely, which makes the arrival of a new architecture a monumental occasion in the GPU industry. The last time we saw this happen was in 2006/2007, when unified shaders and DirectX 10 lead to AMD and NVIDIA developing brand new architectures for their GPUs. Since then there have been some important revisions such as AMD’s VLIW4 architecture and NVIDIA’s Fermi architecture, but so far nothing has quite compared to 2006/2007, until now.

At AMD’s Fusion Developer Summit 2011 AMD announced Graphics Core Next, their next-generation GPU architecture. GCN would be AMD’s Fermi moment, where AMD got serious about GPU computing and finally built an architecture that would serve as both a graphics workhorse and a computing workhorse. With the ever increasing costs of high-end GPU development it’s not enough to merely develop graphics GPUs, GPU developers must expand into GPU computing in order to capture the market share they need to live well into the future.

At the same time, by canceling their 32nm process TSMC has directed a lot of hype about future GPU development onto the 28nm process, where the next generation of GPUs would be developed. In an industry accustomed to rapid change and even more rapid improvement never before have GPU developers and their buyers had to wait a full 2 years for a new fabrication process to come online.

All of this has lead to a perfect storm of anticipation for what has become the Radeon HD 7970: not only is it the first video card based on a 28nm GPU, but it’s the first member of the Southern Islands and by extension the first video card to implement GCN. As a result the Radeon HD 7970 has a tough job to fill, as a gaming card it not only needs to deliver the next-generation performance gamers expect, but as the first GCN part it needs to prove that AMD’s GCN architecture is going to make them a competitor in the GPU computing space. Can the 7970 do all of these things and live up to the anticipation? Let’s find out…

Gallery: AMD Radeon HD 7970

AMD GPU Specification Comparison
  AMD Radeon HD 7970 AMD Radeon HD 6970 AMD Radeon HD 6870 AMD Radeon HD 5870
Stream Processors 2048 1536 1120 1600
Texture Units 128 96 56 80
ROPs 32 32 32 32
Core Clock 925MHz 880MHz 900MHz 850MHz
Memory Clock 1.375GHz (5.5GHz effective) GDDR5 1.375GHz (5.5GHz effective) GDDR5 1.05GHz (4.2GHz effective) GDDR5 1.2GHz (4.8GHz effective) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 384-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 3GB 2GB 1GB 1GB
FP64 1/4 1/4 N/A 1/5
Transistor Count 4.31B 2.64B 1.7B 2.15B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Price Point $549 $350 $160 -

The Radeon HD 7970 is a card of many firsts. It’s the first video card using a 28nm GPU. It’s the first card supporting Direct3D 11.1. It’s the first member of AMD’s new Southern Islands Family. And it’s the first video card implementing AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture. All of these attributes combine to make the 7970 quite a different video card from any AMD video card before it.

Cutting right to the chase, the 7970 will serve as AMD’s flagship video card for the Southern Islands family. Based on a complete AMD Tahiti GPU, it has 2048 stream processors organized according to AMD’s new SIMD-based GCN architecture. With so many stream processors coupled with a 384bit GDDR5 memory bus, it’s no surprise that Tahiti is has the highest transistor count of any GPU yet: 4.31B transistors. Fabricated on TSMC’s new 28nm High-K process, this gives it a die size of 365mm2, making it only slightly smaller than AMD’s 40nm Cayman GPU at 389mm2.

Looking at specifications specific to the 7970, AMD will be clocking it at 925MHz, giving it 3.79TFLOPs of theoretical computing performance compared to 2.7TFLOPs under the much different VLIW4 architecture of the 6970. Meanwhile the wider 384bit GDDR5 memory bus for 7970 will be clocked at 1.375GHz (5.5GHz data rate), giving it 264GB/sec of memory bandwidth, a significant jump over the 176GB/sec of the 6970.

These functional units are joined by a number of other elements, including 8 ROP partitions that can process 32 ROPs per clock, 128 texture units divided up among 32 Compute Units (CUs), and a fixed function pipeline that contains a pair of AMD’s 9th generation geometry engines. Of course all of this hardware would normally take quite a bit of power to run, but thankfully power usage is kept in check by the advancements offered by TSMC’s 28nm process. AMD hasn’t provided us with an official typical board power, but we estimate it’s around 220W, with an absolute 250W PowerTune limit. Meanwhile idle power usage is looking particularly good, as thanks to AMD's further work on power savings their typical power consumption under idle is only 15W. And with AMD's new ZeroCore Power technology (more on that in a bit), idle power usage drops to an asbolutely miniscule 3W.

Overall for those of you looking for a quick summary of performance, the 7970 is quite powerful, but it may not be as powerful as you were expecting. Depending on the game being tested it’s anywhere between 5% and 35% faster than NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 580, averaging 15% to 25% depending on the specific resolution in use. Furthermore thanks to TSMC’s 28nm process power usage is upwards of 50W lower than the GTX 580, but it’s still higher than the 6970 it replaces. As far as performance jumps go from new fabrication processes, this isn’t as big a leap as we’ve seen in the past.

In a significant departure from the launch of the Radeon HD 5870 and 4870, AMD will not be pricing the 7970 nearly as aggressively as those cards with its launch. The MSRP for the 7970 will be $550, a premium price befitting a premium card, but a price based almost exclusively on the competition (e.g. the GTX 580) rather than one that takes advantage of cheaper manufacturing costs to aggressively undercuts the competition. In time AMD needs to bring down the price of the card, but for the time being they will be charging a price premium reflecting the card’s status as the single-GPU king.

For those of you trying to decide whether to get a 7970, you will have some time to decide. This is a soft launch; AMD will not make the 7970 available until January 9th (the day before the Consumer Electronics Show), nearly 3 weeks from now. We don’t have any idea what the launch quantities will be like, but from what we hear TSMC’s 28nm process has finally reached reasonable yields, so AMD should be in a better position than the 5870 launch. The price premium on the card will also help taper demand side some, though even at $550 this won’t rule out the first batch of cards selling out.

Beyond January 9th, AMD as an entire family of Southern Islands video cards still to launch. AMD will reveal more about those in due time, but as with the Evergreen and Northern Islands families AMD has a plan to introduce a number of video cards over the next year. So 7970 is just the beginning.

www.anandtech.com

UserBenchmark: AMD HD 7970

The number of benchmark samples for this model as a percentage of all 20,623,058 GPUs tested.

GPU
HD 7970AMD  £331Bench 38%, 5,162 samples70x
EDIT WITH CUSTOM PC BUILDER Value: 29% - Poor Total price: £961
How Fast Is Your GPU? (Bench your build) Size up your PC in less than a minute.

Welcome to our freeware PC speed test tool. UserBenchmark will test your PC and compare the results to other users with the same components. You can quickly size up your PC, identify hardware problems and explore the best upgrades.

UserBenchmark of the month
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How it works
  • - Download and run UserBenchMark.
  • - CPU tests include: integer, floating and string.
  • - GPU tests include: six 3D game simulations.
  • - Drive tests include: read, write, sustained write and mixed IO.
  • - RAM tests include: single/multi core bandwidth and latency.
  • - Reports are generated and presented on userbenchmark.com.
  • - Identify the strongest components in your PC.
  • - See speed test results from other users.
  • - Compare your components to the current market leaders.
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  • - Compare your in-game FPS to other users with your hardware.
  • - Share your opinion by voting.

gpu.userbenchmark.com

TechPowerUp

Sort items by: Date Review Title Site Name Popularity

201320122011
Oct 29, 2013 AMD Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire at 7860x1440 Tweaktown
Aug 26, 2013 XFX Radeon HD 7970 Double Dissipation HT4U (de)
Jun 19, 2013 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX Platinum HT4U (de)
Jun 15, 2013 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX X-bit labs
Jun 9, 2013 Club3D Radeon HD 7970 royalAce Vortez
Mar 11, 2013 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II HardOCP
Mar 7, 2013 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II Tech Kings
Mar 3, 2013 Club 3D Radeon HD 7970 RoyalAce ChipLoco
Feb 26, 2013 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II Cowcotland (fr)
Feb 21, 2013 XFX Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition Tweak.dk (dk)
Feb 20, 2013 HIS Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition IceQ X2 Hardware-Mag (de)
Feb 18, 2013 MSI R7970 Lightning Vortez
Feb 13, 2013 MSI R7970 Lightning Boost Edition Hardware.info
Feb 10, 2013 HIS Radeon HD 7970 IceQ X2 GHz Edition Hardwareluxx (de)
Feb 10, 2013 HIS Radeon HD 7970 IceQ X2 GHz Edition X-bit labs
Jan 21, 2013 HIS HD 7970 IceQ X² & HD 7950 IceQ X² HardwareCanucks
Jan 17, 2013 HIS Radeon HD 7970 IceQ X2 Rage3D
Jan 16, 2013 HIS Radeon HD 7970 3GB IceQ X2 Tweaktown
Jan 9, 2013 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition TOXIC 6GB Hardware-Mag (de)
Jan 3, 2013 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 Matrix Platinum T-Break
Jan 3, 2013 HIS Radeon HD 7970 6GB IceQ X2 Tweaktown
Dec 30, 2012 ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II Overclockers Club
Dec 30, 2012 ASUS Matrix Radeon HD 7970 Platinum HotHardware
Dec 6, 2012 ASUS Matrix HD 7970 Platinum XtremeHardware (it)
Dec 3, 2012 HIS Radeon HD 7970 IceQ X2 GHz Edition PureOverclock
Nov 26, 2012 Sapphire HD 7970 Toxic 6GB BitsandChips (it)
Nov 18, 2012 ASUS Matrix HD 7970 Platinum Legit Reviews
Nov 18, 2012 HIS Radeon HD 7970 X Turbo 3 GB TechPowerUp
Nov 15, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX Platinum eTeknix
Nov 14, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX Platinum HardwareCanucks
Nov 4, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC Hardware-Mag (de)
Oct 31, 2012 ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II Think Computers
Oct 30, 2012 XFX Double D HD 7970 GHz Edition HardOCP
Oct 21, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 Matrix Platinum Edition Hardwareluxx (de)
Oct 20, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Vapor-X Legit Reviews
Oct 20, 2012 MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning OCaholic
Oct 18, 2012 Gigabyte HD 7970 Super Overclock Hardwarecanucks
Oct 17, 2012 ASUS HD 7970 Matrix Platinum OCaholic
Oct 16, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX Platinum Overclockers Club
Oct 16, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX Platinum Hardware.info
Oct 16, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX Platinum Guru3D
Oct 16, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX Platinum HardOCP
Oct 15, 2012 Sapphire HD 7970 OC 3GB Dual-X Real World Labs
Oct 15, 2012 ASUS MATRIX HD 7970 Platinum Bjorn3D
Oct 15, 2012 ASUS HD 7970 Matrix Platinum 3 GB TechPowerUp
Oct 11, 2012 HIS Radeon HD 7970 IceQ X2 3GB GHz Edition HardwareLook
Oct 8, 2012 HIS Radeon HD 7970 X Turbo HardOCP
Oct 3, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II Futurelooks
Sep 30, 2012 ASUS Matrix HD 7970 Platinum OCaholic
Sep 29, 2012 Sapphire HD 7970 6GB Vapor-X Overclockers Club
Sep 23, 2012 ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP Motherboards.org
Sep 10, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition BitsandChips (it)
Sep 10, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Vapor-X OC 6GB eTeknix
Sep 5, 2012 HIS Radeon HD 7970 X Turbo Guru3D
Sep 2, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X HWBox (gr)
Sep 1, 2012 Club 3D Radeon HD 7970 royalAce Hardware.info
Aug 29, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Vapor-X PureOverclock
Aug 27, 2012 HD 7970 with Core 2 Duo OCaholic
Aug 27, 2012 HD 7970 with Core 2 Quad OCaholic
Aug 23, 2012 Sapphire HD 7970 Vapor-X GHz Edition Overclockers Club
Aug 22, 2012 Sapphire HD 7970 Toxic 6 GB TechPowerUp
Aug 14, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X Tweaktown
Aug 13, 2012 Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC Cowcotland (fr)
Aug 12, 2012 Sapphire Toxic Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Hardwareluxx (de)
Aug 2, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition TOXIC 6GB HardwareHeaven
Aug 1, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition XtremeHardware (it)
Jul 31, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 Madshrimps
Jul 30, 2012 Gigabyte HD 7970 Super OC 3 GB TechPowerUp
Jul 30, 2012 HIS Radeon HD 7970 X IceQ X2 Turbo Tweaktown
Jul 26, 2012 Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 SuperOverclock TechSpot
Jul 25, 2012 Diamond Radeon HD 7970 3GB Double Black Diamond CircuitRemix
Jul 17, 2012 Sapphire HD 7970 6GB Toxic on 3 Screens Hexus.net
Jul 17, 2012 Sapphire HD 7970 6GB Toxic Hexus.net
Jul 15, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition TOXIC 6GB Tweaktown
Jul 15, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Legit Reviews
Jun 28, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Hardware Secrets
Jun 28, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC Legit Reviews
Jun 25, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Tweaktown
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition HardwareCanucks
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition HardwareHeaven
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition HotHardware
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition Tweaktown
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition Guru3D
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition TechSpot
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition Tech Report
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition Rage3D
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition VR-Zone
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition HardwareSpot.de (de)
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition HT4U (de)
Jun 24, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition Hardware.info
Jun 21, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3 GB TechPowerUp
Jun 20, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC Radeon3D.org
Jun 19, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire with 12.x Beta OCaholic
Jun 16, 2012 VTX3D HD 7970 X-Edition Cowcotland (fr)
Jun 12, 2012 MSI R7970 Lightning PC-Experience.de (de)
Jun 3, 2012 MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB HWBox (gr)
May 23, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Radeon3D.org
May 20, 2012 VTX3D HD 7970 X-Edition 3 GB TechPowerUp
May 17, 2012 Various Radeon HD 7900 Series Graphics Cards X-bit labs
May 16, 2012 Arctic Accelero Xtreme 7970 VGA Cooler HardwareOverclock
May 14, 2012 ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP BitsandChips (it)
May 8, 2012 MSI R7970 Lightning and R7870 Hawk Hardware.info
Apr 25, 2012 PowerColor Radeon HD 7970 PCS+ Tweaktown
Apr 24, 2012 MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3 GB TechPowerUp
Apr 11, 2012 MSI HD 7970 3GB Lightning HardwareCanucks
Apr 7, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC PureOverclock
Apr 3, 2012 MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB Tweaktown
Mar 30, 2012 MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB Guru3D
Mar 30, 2012 MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB Legit Reviews
Mar 29, 2012 MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB Tweaktown
Mar 29, 2012 Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC 3GB eTeknix
Mar 28, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 3GB Cowcotland (fr)
Mar 28, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II Top OCaholic
Mar 22, 2012 MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB HT4U (de)
Mar 18, 2012 MSI R7970 Lightning HardwareHeaven
Mar 18, 2012 PowerColor LCS HD 7970 Hardwareluxx (de)
Mar 15, 2012 Sapphire HD 7970 OverClock Edition Dual-X HardwareHeaven
Mar 14, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II Guru3D
Mar 11, 2012 PowerColor LCS HD 7970 Overclockers Club
Mar 11, 2012 Diamond Radeon HD 7970 Tweaktown
Mar 7, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Dual-X 3GB Tweaktown
Mar 6, 2012 VisionTek Radeon HD 7970 4-way CrossFireX Tweaktown
Mar 2, 2012 Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC Overclock3D.net
Feb 28, 2012 ASUS HD 7970 Quadfire Overclock3D.net
Feb 25, 2012 GTX 580 vs. HD 7970 Vortez
Feb 23, 2012 Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC WindForce Guru3D
Feb 21, 2012 XFX Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition NeoSeeker
Feb 9, 2012 XFX R7970 Double Dissipation Edition Crossfire X-bit labs
Feb 9, 2012 VisionTek Radeon 7970 PureOverclock
Feb 8, 2012 Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Hardwarecanucks
Feb 7, 2012 HIS Radeon HD 7970 3GB Vortez
Feb 6, 2012 XFX Radeon HD 7970 DD Black Edition Hardwarecanucks
Feb 2, 2012 XFX Radeon HD 7970 DD Black Edition OCaholic
Jan 31, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Hardware-Mag (de)
Jan 26, 2012 XFX Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation 3GB Overclockers Club
Jan 25, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Tweaktown
Jan 24, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 T-Break
Jan 23, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II Top Legit Reviews
Jan 22, 2012 Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC Hardwareluxx (de)
Jan 19, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Cards in 3-Way CrossFireX Tweaktown
Jan 19, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 3GB CrossFire Legit Reviews
Jan 17, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB X-bit labs
Jan 17, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Tweaktown
Jan 15, 2012 XFX Radeon HD 7970 Double Dissipation Edition Hardwareluxx (de)
Jan 14, 2012 HIS HD 7970 3GB Overclocked Tweaktown
Jan 10, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Quad-CrossFire HardwareHeaven
Jan 9, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Motherboards.org
Jan 9, 2012 XFX Radeon HD 7970 Motherboards.org
Jan 9, 2012 PowerColor Radeon HD 7970 HardwareHeaven
Jan 9, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Technic3D (de)
Jan 9, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 Crossfire Guru3D
Jan 9, 2012 XFX Radeon HD 7970 Tweaktown
Jan 9, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Overclockers Club
Jan 9, 2012 XFX Radeon 7970 Black Edition Overclocked vs GTX 580 OC vs Radeon 6970 OC HardwareHeaven
Jan 9, 2012 XFX Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition TweakPC (de)
Jan 9, 2012 Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Tri-CrossFire HardwareHeaven
Jan 8, 2012 XFX R7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation Benchmark Reviews
Jan 8, 2012 VTX3D Radeon HD 7970 Overclock3D.net
Jan 8, 2012 PowerColor HD 7970 Overclock3D.net
Jan 8, 2012 HIS Radeon HD 7970 Overclockers.com
Jan 8, 2012 HIS HD7970 Crossfire & Eyefinity Overclock3D.net
Jan 8, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB 4-way CrossFireX Overclock3D.net
Jan 8, 2012 HIS Radeon HD 7970 HardwareHeaven
Jan 8, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire TechPowerUp
Jan 7, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire TechPowerUp
Jan 6, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Tweaktown
Jan 5, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 Quad CrossfireX VR-Zone
Jan 3, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Tech Report
Jan 2, 2012 ASUS Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire Guru3D
Jan 2, 2012 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB eTeknix
Dec 28, 2011 HD 7970: Bulldozer vs. Sandy Bridge vs. Nehalem TechPowerUp
Dec 27, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB TechSpot
Dec 25, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Rage3D
Dec 24, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 CPU Scaling Performance Guru3D
Dec 22, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Vortez
Dec 22, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB HardwareSpot.de (de)
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB HardwareCanucks
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB HardwareHeaven
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Overclockers.com
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB HardwareHeaven
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Hardware Secrets
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB HotHardware
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Guru3D
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB VR-Zone
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Legit Reviews
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB NeoSeeker
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Hardwareluxx (de)
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Madshrimps
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Planet 3DNow! (de)
Dec 21, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB HT4U (de)
Dec 20, 2011 AMD Radeon HD 7970 TechPowerUp

www.techpowerup.com

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Graphics Card Review

Welcome to another AMD-releases-new-architecture review. Hopefully this one will go a bit better than the last one. Bulldozer was a disappointment to many. While I still hold it’s a solid CPU for the price point AMD set (but not current over-inflated retail prices), it definitely wasn’t the jump over Thuban everyone wanted it to be.

Enter Southern Islands and Graphics Core Next (GCN), a fundamental change to AMD’s approach to graphics processing. Will it struggle like AMD’s last fundamental change or will it rise above and be crowned the new king of graphics cores? Let’s find out, shall we?

Specifications, Features, Cooling & Power Consumption

This will be a bit shorter than you’re used to. We have the full info going over the architecture in detail and I’d love nothing more than to pontificate on its virtues, but unfortunately we’ve had very little lead time for this review. Being right before Christmas and, you know, having a family doesn’t lead to excessively detailed reviews when you only have a piece of hardware and info for six days (including one to type the review).

Getting right to it, there are going to be three iterations of the Southern Islands product line. All of them use GCN. The GPU we’ll be looking at today is code-named “Tahiti”, the highest-end Southern Islands part. The two to come in the future are “Pitcairn” and “Cape Verde”.

Southern Islands Line

Graphics Core Next, or GCN is AMD’s latest and greatest GPU architecture. It is rated as PCI-e Gen3 (which comes with its own set of issues as you’ll see later), is produced on a 28 nm process and has advanced power management. For a superb comparison on how AMD’s GCN compares to its former VLIW4 architecture that, frankly, I just didn’t have time to type in the time between getting this info and now, check out this piece at Anandtech.

Eyefinity 2.0 comes with a new monitor orientation option that’s not necessarily practical but interesting to have (how many people have room for 5 x 1 landscape monitors?). New bezel compensation is coming down the road – ETA Feb. 2012, they will support bezel compensation across different-sized monitors.

They’re also introducing Eyefinity with HD3D. You’ll probably need some insane GPU power to produce 3D at very high resolutions, but they’re laying the foundation for the future.

They are also pushing the computing ability of this GPU, which should be quite a bit stronger than their former VLIW4 Cayman architecture. With such a short lead time, we’ve chosen to focus on how this thing will bench and run games, but down the road we’ll look at how it computes, especially with Fold[email protected]

Southern Islands Features

Here we have quick specs and features overview. The HD 7970 has 2048 stream processors. AMD calculates this GPU as having over 3.5 TeraFlops of computing power, which eclipses its 6970 predecessor. It also comes with 3 GB of 384-bit GDDR5 RAM – and the ability to use up to six monitors, which you’ll need to take advantage of all that video RAM.

For features, it comes native with four outputs – one DVI, one HDMI and two mini-DisplayPort. Yes, that’s only four outputs, but AMD is partnering with manufacturers and will be coming out with a splitter that plugs into one of those mini-DP outputs and will allow you full use of your six-monitor potential.

Like the HD 6970 before it, the HD 7970 also has a dual BIOS switch, with one protected stock BIOS and another for you to flash as you see fit. I was on pins and needles when I flashed a GTX 580 to get some more voltage control because there was no coming back if I messed it up. This makes that process worry-free. Now all we need is something to control voltage, which doesn’t exist yet!

The cooler is reported as having an improved fan design – larger, which will produce higher CFM and be quieter. Larger? Check. Higher CFM? Probably. Quieter? Um…it’s a squirrel cage fan in a GPU. They can only get so quiet. While CCC does keep the fan under control and you can barely hear it when benchmarking and gaming (wait until that voltage control I mentioned…), when you crank it up you’ll know it’s there. So will your family and your dog if they’re in the same room.

HD 7970 Quick Specs

7970 Features Overview

The heatsink definitely does a good job though, even when running quietly under CCC control. As with previous reviews, for temperature testing the fan was set at 75%, which is moderately loud, but not enough to drive you out of the room; it’s reasonable for gaming use. Temperatures were measured and normalized to 25 °C ambient temperature.

GPU: 6970 6990 X580 7970
Temp Idle: 33 °C 38 °C 29 °C 31 °C
Temp Load: 51 °C 69 °C 57 °C 61 °C

It’s not the coolest GPU on the block, but does manage to be close to the Sparkle X580, which has an aftermarket Arctic cooler affixed from the factory. While it’s not as cool running as the HD 6970, it’s also much more powerful, so you’re sacrificing some degrees in exchange for performance, which is an acceptable trade-off for most overclockers.

As far as fan noise, it’s reasonable. Squirrel cage fans are always going to be loud when you ramp them up to four thousand or so RPM. I’ll never understand the people that always complain about loud squirrel cage fans on GPUs. Aren’t you used to it yet? Do you think physics is going to change all-of-a-sudden?

The thing is, when running games and benchmarks even overclocked the fan barely had to spin up to keep temps reasonable. So while it is definitely loud if you manually set it to 75 or 100%, if you let CCC control it, you might hear it but it won’t be anywhere near loud.

AMD introduced PowerTune with the HD 6900 series, where you can give up to 20% more power than stock to give your GPU some breathing room without actually considering it ‘voltage’ control. You can also turn it down 20% if you feel the urge.

PowerTune served us well for this GPU, for without it there would have been no added current capacity at all. Hopefully MSI (Afterburner) or Sapphire (TRIXX) will release updated versions of their software soon so we can show you what this thing can do with a little extra juice.

Power Tune

From sipping power at idle to loaded power efficiency, AMD is pushing power consumption heavily. Their GPUs have progressively dropped off to using almost zero power at idle. Now, this GPU will remain in the ‘normal’ range when it engages your screensaver (mine is ‘blank’) but will slip into ‘Long Idle’ when it powers the monitor down, reducing your GPU’s power sipping to a mere 3 W.

Zero Core Tech

Lower Long Idle Power

Multi-GPU Zero Core

So, what does that translate to in real-world use? Idle wattage to make even the greenest gamer proud. These numbers are total system wattage as read via a Kill-a-Watt from the wall as we don’t have the capability of measuring the GPU wattage directly.

GPU: 6970 X580 6990 7970
Idle: 97 W 118 W 112 W 89 W
GPU Load: 315 W 443 W 496 W 352 W
GPU & CPU Load 371 W 496 W 557 W 408 W

When the GPU drops into Long Idle, the HD 7970’s idle wattage goes down ~6W, from 89 W to 83 W. That isn’t reflected in the chart because I didn’t test the other cards there to see if they had any improvement when they shut the monitor off. What’s even better about this Long Idle feature is when using CrossFireX. Until they are needed, your extra GPUs will stay powered down in the Long Idle position, sipping a mere 3W each. So until you engage a load that needs them you can have three more HD 7970s in your box pulling only nine additional watts. That’s quite impressive.

When the GPU is loaded it comes in above the HD 6970, but almost a full 100 W below the GTX 580, which isn’t too shabby at all. Considering the performance, this is one efficient GPU. 28 nm shrouded in strong power management looks good on AMD.

AMD is also practically begging you to overclock this GPU (though it’s still not covered under warranty of course). Stock speed on these is 925 MHz. They seem to think 1 GHz is not going to be too hard. We’ll find out soon enough – the new version of CCC goes up to 1125 MHz, if the GPU can make it that far.

Overclocking Headroom

The comparison between the HD 6970 and HD 7970 is not really much of a comparison. The HD 6970 wasn’t top dog when it came out and did not beat the already-king-of-the-hill GTX 580. It is a strong GPU and priced perfectly for its target market. It also scales very well in CrossFireX, easily reaching 85-90% improvement over a single card. It was not, however, the best single GPU. That title resided with NVIDIA. We’ll see later whether AMD has stolen the champion belt.

The specifications have been improved significantly. The slide before said the GPU has been calculated as having over 3.5 TeraFlops of computing power and this one shows just what ‘over’ means, stating 3.79 TFLOPS. The HD 7970 comes with the same number of ROPS, 32 more texture units and 512 additional stream processors.

6970 vs. 7970

It clocks in at 925 MHz core speed, 45 MHz more than its predecessor. Memory clock speed remains the same, but it has more bandwidth available due to the 384-bit wide memory interface (over the previous generation’s 256-bit).

Stock GPUz

As mentioned, it is produced on a 28 nm process and weighs in at a very hefty 4.31 billion transistors. We’ll have to assume that’s accurate and it’s not edited down by, oh, about 0.8 billion or so like Bulldozer. {Cough.} It also does all of this with a 250 W power rating identical to the HD 6970, which is impressive in itself and is due in no small part to said 28 mm process.

The Card

AMD has updated the look of their GPUs again and these look even better than last generation. They’re glossy red and black, so it’s a minor pain to photograph, but the look is quite stunning. See for yourself!

AMD HD 7970

AMD HD 7970

AMD HD 7970

AMD HD 7970

AMD HD 7970

By now you know once it starts taking photos, my camera doesn’t like to stop. If you want to see a bunch more photos, feel free to click through.

The PCB is black (contrary to some leaked photos I’ve seen out there with red PCB), cleanly manufactured with neat soldering throughout.

Back of 7970 PCB

Along with the identical 250 W TDP comes identical power connectors – one 8-pin and one 6-pin PCI-e connectors. On the right you can see the dual BIOS switch. It’s small and slightly recessed so the chances of accidentally tripping it are very slim. There are dual crossfire connectors for hooking up other GPUs.

Power Connectors

7970 Dual BIOS Switch

Of course, it’s always fun to compare generations. The PCB is very nearly the same length as the 6970. The photo on the left looks shorter only because the cooler slopes on the end (as you can see above on the left). Turning them over shows they are very close to the same length. Surprisingly they did away with the backplate. I actually liked that feature as it kept components on the back of the PCB nice and cool.

6970 vs. 7970

6970 vs. 7970

I liked the prior generation’s looks, but they’ve done better this time around with a more streamlined, less boxy appearance. Though it’s not easy to photograph, the HD7970’s glossy sheen looks good and I actually prefer it to the matte black reference HD 6970 design.

Please accept my apologies for the lack of bare card photos. We were barred from removing the cooler prior to testing due to the proprietary thermal interface material and the slim post-testing time was spent compiling results and writing.

Test Systems

There are unfortunately two test setups involved when testing this GPU. Our editor splat went to the AMD tech briefing on this GPU in Austin, TX earlier this month and they understandably mistakenly shipped it to him. The stock benches were run on the same setup as all other benches in the charts you’ll see below (consisting of an i7 2600K at stock and DDR3-2133 memory). The overclocked HD 7970 results were not.

Unfortunately splat’s motherboard doesn’t like him any more and refuses to overclock, so the GPU was shipped to me (plus I have three monitors for Eyefinity). The only drawback is that the HD 7970 does not function in my P8P67 WS Revolution. That is the only socket 1155 motherboard in my posession. You can see our dilemma.

Because we had six days to work on this, we did the best we could for our readers. I took the Sandy Bridge-E socket 2011 system and hampered it to conform to the test parameters, running with four cores + HT active, dual channel DDR3-2133 RAM at stock i7 2600K speeds. Clock-for-clock, the two systems should be as nearly identical as you can make them. After testing, benchmarks between them all came very close to one another. There was one exception to the rule – 3DMark 11 just loves SNB-E for some reason. Aside from that they were all basically within margin-of-error similarity.

I’m hoping ASUS will be able to address this with a UEFI update. This is the PCI-e Gen. 3 specification problem I mentioned above. They are working on it and assuming it’s addressed, I’ll either verify the numbers are the same or correct them if necessary. For now, just note that we did the best we could in the time allotted; the difference, if any, will be minor

Overclocking

This card clocks like a champ. The only sort of voltage ‘control’ available to us was AMD’s PowerTune, which added +20% of…something. What that is I’m still not certain; doubtful it’s 20% core voltage, as that would get really hot, really quickly.

Author’s Note: Just to clarify, that is a tongue-in-cheek response to not knowing precisely how PowerTune affects voltages on the card. I do fully understand PowerTune adjusts the card’s P-states to allow it to operate at max TDP constantly. The question is how that translates to voltage adjustment, which we can’t know for sure.

Regardless, that 20% allowed us to take this GPU all the way to the maximum available clocks in Catalyst Control Center. Interestingly, where memory clocking wasn’t the 6970’s strongest area, the HD 7970 seems to enjoy overclocking there too.

Overclock Test - CCC Maxed Out

Without batting an eye, the HD 7970 clocked right up to a completely stable 1125 MHz core speed and 1575 MHz memory speed. I can’t wait to get voltage control on these things. If it does that at stock, imagine what we can do with some more voltage available!

As an interesting side note, with a reduced-capability SNB-E system and only overclocking the GPU, that score would be third place on HWBot for 3DMark 11 – Extreme. It’s not popular like the Performance test, so there isn’t a lot of competition there, but it’s amusing how easily the HD7970 beats out the other results. If this is how it’s going to perform in our benchmarks and gaming tests, we’re in for a treat.

Performance

We’ll measure two categories of performance – 3D Benchmarking and Gaming.

3DMark Benchmarks

3DMark03 is old. Other members of our staff practically beg me to get rid of it, but despite its obsolescence this old thing still does a great job of measuring GPU horsepower. It scales as it should with GPU power and even multiple GPUs, assuming CPU overclocks (or lack thereof) remain the same.

3DMark03

The stock HD 7970 just edging out an overclocked GTX 580. When overclocked, it even takes out a stock HD 6990. We’re off to a great start so far.

Up next is 3DMark06; it’s a newer benchmark, which is strongly bound by CPU clocks but does show some scaling.

3DMark06

Very interesting. 06 goes the other way, with the GTX 580 winning out. Overclocking the cards yields very little improvement thanks to the aforementioned CPU-bound issues. It seems the GTX 580 is a bit stronger with DirectX 9. The 7970 definitely shows a fair bit of improvement over the previous generation. I’m honestly not sure what happened with the HD 6970 IceQ here as I didn’t review that one.

Moving up another DirectX level, we have DX10-based 3DMark Vantage. This one loves some CPU as well but still scales well with GPU power.

3DMark Vantage

Back on top here. The stock HD 7970 beat the stock GTX 580 and they maintained a similar margin overclocked.  Again, when overclocked the HD 7970 outdoes its dual-GPU cousin 6990.

3DMark 11

Focus more on the stock results here. We see the stock HD 7970 beats the stock GTX 580 by almost 5%. The overclocked number is heavily skewed by the LGA 2011 platform we mentioned earlier, hence the ** by the result. Regardless of platform, scoring 9123 in 3DMark 11 with a single GPU is quite impressive.

Last in the benchmarking section is HWBot’s Heaven benchmark. This is more of a game benchmark than others in this section as it tests the Heaven game engine, but it’s scored like a benchmark.

HWBot Heaven Benchmark

Again the HD 7970 struts its stuff, with the stock result beating the overclocked GTX 580. Overclocked doesn’t catch up to the HD 6990, but does completely separate itself from the rest of the field.

Gaming Performance

Gaming is, of course, why a lot of overclockers become overclockers in the first place. You need every bit of extra FPS you can get, right??

The first game we’ll see is HAWX 2. This one is getting a bit long in the tooth, but we have comparison numbers so we might as well have a look, no?

HAWX 2

This one was an interesting way to start, with the HD 7970 showing no improvement over its predecessor and getting beaten by the GTX 580 handily. I actually had this one rerun to ensure the numbers were accurate, and indeed they are. Regardless, truthfully, who needs 200 FPS when 160 is just fine?

Dirt 2

The GTX 580 shows it has some life left in this game. Only the HD 6990 beat it out. The HD 7970 definitely improved over the HD 6970, but it didn’t take top spot for Dirt 2. Same deal as HAWX 2 though; these obviously don’t take a ton of horsepower to run, so what’s 124 FPS when you’re already at 110?

Stalker takes a bit more GPU intestinal fortitude than Dirt 2, making use of strong MSAA and Tessellation. We’ve chosen the most difficult of the four tests to present.

Stalker: Call of Pripyat (Sunshafts)

Computing heavy workloads is where this card really struts its stuff. Stock results come in very close to an overclocked GTX 580 and the HD 6990. Overclocked, it beats them both!

Up next is two iterations of Aliens vs. Predator DirectX 11 Benchmark, one with the default benchmark settings and the other with everything cranked up as high as it will go.

Aliens vs. Predator DX11 Benchmark - Default

Only the HD 6990 beats the HD 7970 here. Everything else falls by the wayside. Overclocking it just increases the distance with which it beats the competition.

Aliens vs. Predator DX11 Benchmark - High Quality

The GTX 580 and HD 7970 are a little closer here with more power needed to compete. Even so, the HD 7970 stock beats the overclocked GTX 580, then runs away overclocked.

Last up is the newest addition to our game lineup – Battlefield 3. It was run with the testing procedure outlined in our Battlefield 3 GPU Performance and Eyefinity Experience article.

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 is a strong test of GPU ability. As you can see it makes a single HD 6970 cry a little bit, but a GTX 580 can handle it nicely. What it can’t do is handle it as nicely as the HD 7970 can. The HD 7970 handily beats an overclocked GTX 580 and trounces it when overclocked. It even approaches SLI GTX 580s and the HD 6990. This is certainly one powerful new GPU!

Eyefinity Testing

With the ability for a single GPU card to run six monitors, Eyefinity is obviously a strong focus for AMD with the HD 7970. Thus, we connected up three monitors and tested all of the games in Eyefinity for you. This was a tri-monitor Eyefinity setup with three 1080p displays in landscape for a total resolution of 5760 x 1080.

Stalker, Hawx 2 & Dirt 2 are all graphed together.

Stalker, HAWX 2 & Dirt 2 Eyefinity

These titles definitely look great on the HD 7970. It beat the HD 6990 at stock and even more so overclocked.

Aliens vs. Predator DX 11 Benchmark Eyefinity

In Aliens vs. Predator the HD 6990 managed to stay on top, but after overclocking the HD 7970, it barely did so. This thing is a beast, coming very close to the previous generation dual-GPU card.

Battlefield 3 Eyefinity

Another close matchup here, with the overclocked HD 7970 actually beating out the stock HD 6990. It even gets very close to matching the overclocked HD 6990, with a higher minimum FPS.

This GPU is amazing in its ability to keep up with the HD 6990 at such high resolutions. Frankly, before testing I didn’t think it would be able to keep up with that, but the HD 7970 even surpassed it when overclocked!

Putting Some Horsepower Behind The 7970

Of course, what fun is an Overclockers review without putting some strong CPU power behind the latest and greatest GPU? In this case, I unhindered the i7 3960X back to its 6-core/12-thread, quad-channel RAM goodness and clocked it to 5050 MHz. Then I cranked the GPU as far as it would go and ran 3DMark 06, Vantage and 11.

3DMark06 - 37735

This managed to beat my previous personal best on a Sparkle X580. To get there before, I flashed the X580’s BIOS to allow greater voltage control and ran using the LoD (Level of Detail) turned down to max out the score. This just took overclocking with CCC. This is definitely a strong showing.

3DMark Vantage - 42247

Now, Vantage is a completely different story. This score is a new best for our team, beating Miahallen’s very strong score by over 3000 points. He was using liquid nitrogen on the CPU and GPU too; this is with water on the CPU and stock cooling on the GPU.

3DMark 11 - 9679

This 3DMark 11 score – not too far short of 10,000 on a single stock-cooled GPU – is also a new team best, beating, coincidentally, another of Miahallen’s score (but only by 12 points)…I sense a crosshair on my back!

With stellar results like this, these things are going to lead to quite a voracious 3D benchmarking competition!

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

This review really surprised me. I expected it to be better than the HD 6970 but not to the level of the HD 6990. I had hoped it would beat the GTX 580, but didn’t have a clue by how much it would do so.

Instead, we see a GPU that is tantamount to parity with the dual-GPU beast HD 6990 and one that, for the most part, leaves the GTX 580 squarely in its dust. When it comes to strong computing power required for MSAA and Tessellation, it separates itself even farther (look at the Stalker and Battlefield 3 results!).

It seems to falter slightly with excessively high FPS games (such as Dirt 2 and HAWX 2…do you really need over 100 FPS? …over 200?) and, apparently, DirectX 9 as we see via 3DMark06. How many people currently play DirectX 9 games again? I’ll go with slim to none. Those that do will just have to make due with 150FPS instead of 200 FPS. Think you can handle that?

Back to heavy-duty graphics computations, go look at those Eyefinity results again. If the HD 7970 isn’t beating the HD 6990 at stock, it’s getting pretty darn close when overclocked. That was the one thing that surprised me the most. I figured at 1080p we’d see a close battle between the two, but when you put three monitors on the HD 7970 it would have to show some weakness. I figured wrong.

Of course a main concern will be how much this GPU costs. Unless I’m mistaken it is the first publicly available PCI-e 3.0 GPU, so there’s one thing to make it more expensive. Then you have the fact that it beats out the GTX 580, making it the most powerful single GPU on the planet. Any guesses where this will end up?

Ok, enough suspense. AMD is putting this card at an MSRP of $549, with expected availability on January 9, 2012. That’s about $50 higher than your average GTX 580 with 1.5 GB of RAM. What’s really interesting is that, if you narrow down Newegg results to show only 3 GB models of GTX 580, not one of them is cheaper than $549. Zotac comes close, with an out of stock model for $555, but the others are EVGA and start at $590, going up from there.

Retailers will surely tack on an early-adopter premium, but if they somehow miraculously release at their MSRP, the GTX 580 is going to need a price drop before long. Of course, NVIDIA is supposed to release its new Kepler architecture in 2012. AMD has beat them to the punch, and upped the ante. In some areas, even an overclocked GTX 580 can’t match the new HD 7970 beast at stock. 2012 just got very interesting for GPUs.

AMD has taken back the hill. It’s your move NVIDIA.

– Jeremy Vaughan (hokiealumnus)

www.overclockers.com

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Review

For the last 12 months, AMD has had the Radeon HD 6970 be its premier single GPU graphics card, competing head to head with the GeForce GTX 570 and at times challenging the mighty GTX 580. For about $369 today, you can still get one hell of a graphics card, comprised of 2.6 billion transistors, a die measuring 389mm2 and a 250W TDP rating, but most importantly capable of running all modern PC games fluidly except for some extreme scenarios.

When compared to its previous generation board (the Radeon HD 5870), the Radeon HD 6970 was on average 24% faster. Now a year later AMD is launching its Radeon HD 7000 series which has been given the codename 'Southern Islands'.

The Radeon HD 7970 is the first of a series of upcoming graphics cards that are making the jump to the 28nm fabrication process. The new HD 7970 will effectively become AMD's new flagship single GPU graphics card come January, when the board is expected to ship.

The die shrink means AMD can cram more transistors into the same space, a lot more. Although the die size is only slightly smaller, at 365mm2 there are some 1.7 billion more transistors, taking the total count to a whopping 4.3 billion. This number whales that of the GeForce GTX 580 which boasts 3+ billion transistors in its massive 520mm2 die.

Nvidia is said to be updating their graphics lineup early in 2012, with the GeForce 600 series also expected to utilize the 28nm process. In an effort to beat Nvidia, AMD pushed up their (soft) launch date to late December.

With a mere two weeks before it’ll be possible to get your hands on a new Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, it’s definitely nice to get a look now at how they perform. But before we jump into our gaming benchmarks, let’s take a moment to check out the new card's capabilities and features in greater detail.

The Radeon HD 7000 series is a big leap for AMD, representing its most significant architecture overhaul in the last decade. It was back then that AMD adopted the Graphics Parallel Core architecture, which employs groups of scalar processors that work out very long instruction words, commonly abbreviated as VLIW.

The Radeon HD 5000 series used the VLIW5 architecture, while last year's 6000 series transitioned to a more advanced VLIW4 architecture. However, the Radeon HD 7970 and all other graphics cards based on the high-end Tahiti core replace the VLIW stream processor clusters with what AMD calls GCN (Graphics Core Next) compute units.

A GCN is basically a GPU that can handle both graphical and computing tasks with a high level of efficiency. It's AMD's answer to Nvidia's Fermi architecture, making the Radeon HD 7970 a capable computing workhorse. It's worth noting that only high-end HD 7000 series cards are based on the new Graphics Core Next architecture, while all other models will still use VLIW.

So essentially, a Shader cluster is now called a GCN compute unit and each unit is a super-scalar processor with scalar and vector elements that follow a new non-VLIW instruction-set architecture. This is a more efficient architecture that delivers more power per millimeter square of GPU die area.

The HD 7970 features a new 9th Generation Tessellation Geometry Engine with optimizations such as increased vertex re-use, off-chip buffering improvements and larger parameter caches. This helps improve performance at all tessellation factors with up to 4x the throughput of the HD 6900 series (Gen 8).

www.techspot.com


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