Retail-ready HD 7970
We have our first retail card based on the Radeon HD 7979 in-house and put it to the test in single and multi-GPU modes!!
We first showed off the power of the new AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB graphics card in our reference review posted on December 22nd. If you haven’t read all about the new Southern Islands architecture and the Tahiti chip that powers the HD 7970 then you should already be clicking the link above to my review to get up to speed. Once you have done so, please return here to continue.
Welcome back, oh wise one. Now we are ready to proceed. By now you already know that the Radeon HD 7970 is the fastest GPU on the planet, besting the NVIDIA GTX 580 by a solid 20-30% in most cases. For our first retail card review we are going to be looking at the XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation that overclocks the GPU and memory clocks slightly and offers a new cooler that promises to be more efficient and quieter.
Let’s put XFX to the test!
The XFX Radeon HD 7970 3GB Black Edition Double Dissipation
Because of the use of a completely custom cooler, the XFX HD 7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation looks completely different than the reference model we tested last month though the feature set remains identical. The silver and black motif works well here.
Reference clock speeds on the HD 7970 were set at 925 MHz on the GPU and 1375 MHz on the memory. For comparison, the XFX Black Edition ramps that up to 1000 MHz on the GPU and 1425 MHz on the GDDR5 memory. While these aren’t out of this world results that we might have been hoping for, the 8% boost or so in clock rate will surely be seen.
The back of the remains pretty much unchanged.
The top of the card has a pretty nice looking brushed metal finish that clearly indicates the card model and cooler implemented and adds a nice touch to the design. I actually prefer this over the reference card’s glossy complexion. The XFX and "Ghost" logo are actually etched in, not just printed.
The card still requires an 8-pin and a 6-pin power connector to operate; this has become the norm for high-end cards.
CrossFireX with up to 4 cards is supported and we put these connectors to the test later in our review for a dual-GPU HD 7970 CrossFire action!
The cooler on the XFX Black Edition supposedly got an upgrade to something they are calling "Ghost Technology" though in my testing the different in temperatures and noise between the reference design and this retail card are pretty minimal.
The display connections on card are also identical to the reference design with a single dual-link DVI, full size HDMI connection and a pair of mini-DisplayPort connections. The XFX logo is branded into the fan exhaust which adds a nice little touch though not many people will be seeing it.
In the box you get a single CrossFire cable, an HDMI to single-link DVI converter and a pretty bad-ass XFX case badge.
Finally, the instructions in the box with the XFX card are actually more impressive than I would have hoped. The diagram that shows you how to connect multiple monitors and what kinds of adapters you’ll need to convert to DP connections to what ever else you might need will be handy for first time Eyefinity users. And that door hanger? Don’t tell me you don’t want one for your room!