AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ReviewWed, Dec 21, 2011 - 11:00 PM
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
The AMD Radeon HD 7970 really ups the ante for what one can expect from a single GPU powered video card. AMD developed the AMD Radeon HD 7970 to become the fastest single GPU graphics card in the world and they clearly did that here today. The mighty EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Classified 3072MB is one of the fastest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 video cards ever released and AMD Radeon HD 7970 was faster in all of the benchmark tests with the exception of the game title. H.A.W.X. 2.
As good as the performance is with the stock clock speeds of 925 MHz core and 1375 MHz memory the true beauty of the Radeon HD 7970 was found when it was overclocked. We were able to push the card all the way up to 1165MHz core and 1625 MHz, which increased the performance of the card by over 20% in the benchmarks. With the Radeon HD 7970 overclocked to the max it was able to compete with the AMD Radeon HD 6990 OC and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590. It’s nice to see the flagship single GPU card of the current generation flirting with the dual-GPU behemoths!
When it comes to pricing the suggest retail price for the AMD Radeon HD 7970 starts at $549. For a flagship graphics card that really isn’t out of line as this is the fastest single GPU powered card on the market when it hits the streets on January 9th, 2012. It you plan on spending $500+ for a graphics card you have plenty of choices to pick from. Some of the ones worth highlighting:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 1536MB – $469.99 after rebate
- EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win – $519.99
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 – $549.99+ (SRP)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 3072MB – $589.99
- AMD Radeon HD 6990 – 699.99
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 – $749.99
As you can see when you get up into the super high-end graphics cards you have five really interesting cards to take a look at. Legit Reviews was fortunate to have all of these cards and we showed you how each of them performed in our Intel X79 test platform with PCI Express 3.0 enabled for all of the cards. The card that we feel best competes with the Radeon HD 7970 and beats it at stock clock speeds is the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win, which also costs $30 less. That card of course is a dual-GPU solution that running SLI. The drivers for single GPU solutions always seem better, so we still prefer single GPU solutions.
The AMD Radeon HD 7970 was tested using a PCI Express 3.0 enabled test system and we are sad to say that PCIe Gen3 didn’t show any real tangible benefits over PCIe Gen2. Our ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard is able to switch between PCIe Gen1, Gen2 and Gen3 in the BIOS and we did try it out. Hopefully down the road we’ll see PCI Express 3.0 being useful!
At the end of the day the Radeon HD 7970 is a great looking graphics card that puts AMD back on top of NVIDIA when it comes to single GPU performance. Will it be enough to hold off NVIDIA’s next generation graphcics cards? We don’t know the answer to that question since they aren’t out yet. We talked to NVIDIA today and they said they plan on releasing their next generation processor in the first half of 2012 and our sources off the record said it would be at the end of that time frame. That means AMD might have the lead for the next six month! Kuduos to AMD for being on top!
Legit Bottom Line: The AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB graphics card chews through DX11 game titles, overclocks like a beast and is very power efficient!