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titleAll of the holidays, New Years, and CES cause a chaos this time a year. Last year we had the Sandy Bridge launch in the mix. This year AMD's new GPU series launch is packed in as well. Around the holidays we saw a few reviews using AMD's reference design. Sampling was very limited; today all of the manufactures can finally release all of their reviews. Today we are covering Sapphires first card of many, the HD 7970. This card uses the reference design and cooler and should be a great way to judge the series’ performance without any overclocking or aftermarket cooling. AMD advertises the HD 7970 as the world’s fastest single GPU, let’s find out!

Product Name: Sapphire HD 7970

Review Sample provided by: Sapphire

Review by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes


AMD Next Gen

News on the new Radeon 7970 has been rolling in hot and heavy, but what does the new gen actually mean?  The foremost that catches my attention is the 7000 series once again scales down the GPU from 40nm to 28nm. Code named Tahiti, the shrink in size was something we were expecting to see in the next generation of GPUs. Smaller die size usually lead to impacts in a couple of key area: more cores in a given space or less energy used.  We are also seeing the jump to the PCI-e 3.0 specification – though being able to use this additional bandwidth requires having a mainboard that supports it.

The frame buffer is being opened up from 2gb to 3gb with a 384 bit interface (from 256 bit) for a whopping 264GBps of bandwidth. We can expect various vendors to play with this a little bit and have overclocks from the reference design, but it is nice to see this pipe opening even more.  Another introduction is the ZeroCore Power technology that takes the 7970 down to 15w when not actively being used and as low as 3w with a blank screen.

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We are seeing a slight bump in the core clock, 925MHz vs. 880MHz, but we can expect many of the vendors to play with the reference design on this to differentiate a bit more from a reference 6970.  The core clock seems to be an area where the vendors try to stand apart from each other, whether with a slight factory overclock, or at least supplying software to allow for easier overclocking.

 

Specifications

Output

1 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI 1.4a
2 x Mini-DisplayPort
DisplayPort 1.2

GPU

925 MHz Core Clock
28 nm Chip
2048 x Stream Processors

Memory

3072 MB Size
384 -bit GDDR5
5500 MHz Effective

Dimension

275(L)x115(W)x36(H) mm Size.

Software

Driver CD
SAPPHIRE TriXX Utility

Accessory

CrossFire™ Bridge Interconnect Cable
8 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable
DVI to VGA Adapter
Mini-DP to DP Cable
Mini Display Port to HDMI dongle
6 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable
HDMI to SL-DVI Adapter
HDMI 1.4a high speed 1.8 meter cable(Full Retail SKU only)
Mini Display Port to SL-DVI Active dongle


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