AMD has finally released Radeon HD 7950, which happens to be the cut-down version of the Radeon HD 7970 graphics card that hit the streets on January 9th, 2012. The AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics card is based on the same ‘Tahiti’ core
architecture that is used on the Radeon HD 7970, but some has less features and lower
The AMD Radeon HD 7950 is internally codenamed ‘Tahiti
Pro’ and features a core clock speed of 800MHz (13.5% slower than the Radeon HD 7970) with 1792 stream processors and 112 texture units. AMD did keep the 3GB of GDDR5 memory on a 384-bit bus, but is lowering the clock speed down to 1250MHz (5000 MHZ effective). Since the card has fewer cores and lower clock speeds the board power is down by 20% to just 200 Watts and the price has also been slashed. The suggested retail price of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 base design is $449, which is $100 less than the AMD Radeon HD 7970. With a 20% price slash and performance down around 15% this card should appeal to gamers on a budget.
AMD sent over a reference card for us to test, but they went on to say that no one would be offering the reference design. We don’t see the point of spending a ton of time talking about a card that no one will ever be able to buy, so we will focus on the first retail AMD Radeon HD 7950 card that arrived for testing. We aren’t sure about how unlocking cores is going to work with no standard design, so at this point in time we are unsure if it is possible to unlock a 7950 and turn it into a 7970.
XFX was the first company to send us a card, so we’ll focusing on their card in this review. We’ll include the AMD Radeon HD 7950 reference card numbers though as they do make for a good baseline score.
The XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition Overclocked card that we were sent uses a Double Dissipation GPU cooler for improved thermal characteristics and a custom PCB design that was made by XFX. XFX offers four AMD Radeon HD 7950 cards and the card that we were sent just happens to be the flagship model.
XFX Radeon HD 7950 Video Cards:
XFX was unable to provide us with pricing for the entire series, but they did say that XFX R7950 Black Edition featuring Double Dissipation has an MSRP of $499.99. The AMD Radeon HD 7950 base design cards have an MSRP of $449.99.
Turning the XFX Radeon HD 7950 Dual Dissipation video card over we don’t find too many interesting things as the card doesn’t have a back plate or any of the GDDR5 memory chips on the back of the PCB. The serial number sticker is the most important thing that is located on the back of the R7950. The PCB of
the card measures ~10.25″ in length and stands at ~4.0″ in height. It
noted that the metal fan shroud extends past the PCB, so the true length
of the card is ~10.6″ in length.
We noticed that the GPU cooler screws have stickers on them and if you remove them or break the seal to get to the screws it will terminate the two year warranty that XFX places on all Radeon 7900 series cards.
The XFX Radeon HD 7950 has a pair of mini-DisplayPort 1.2
connectors, a full size HDMI 1.4a output for 3D video (Blu-ray 3D)
support, and a dual-link DVI-I when it comes to video outputs. The AMD
Radeon HD 7900 series supports up to six DisplayPort displays by
“daisy chaining” them to two mini-DisplayPort outputs. XFX also placed their logo in the exhaust fan as you can see in the image above.
The XFX Radeon HD 7950 has two CrossFire interconnects and you can link up to four of these cards together for improved performance. The PCB that XFX is using has a spot for a BIOS switch, but they did not place it on the card. The AMD Radeon HD 7950 reference card did have a BIOS switch on it, but that card is using the Radeon HD 7970 PCB.
The XFX R7950 has two 6-pin PCIe connectors located along the top of the PCB that need to be hooked up. AMD says that the Radeon HD 7950 requires a 500W or greater power supply with two 75W 6-pin PCIe connectors. These are the same requirements that the Radeon HD 6950 had, so nothing too shocking here.