The SAPPHIRE HD 7970 OC 3GB Edition video card was designed for gamers and the benchmark results show that this card is perfect for serious gamers and performance enthusiasts. The AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPU (Tahiti XT) has been available for six months now and these DirectX 11 graphics cards are still able to impress us each time we use one. SAPPHIRE was able to take this GPU to the next level by adding the Dual-X custom GPU cooler and placing a healthy factory overclock on this card. Those changes are what make this card so great!
For starters the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 OC 3GB video card looks amazing thanks to the black PCB and the black GPU cooler. The copper heat pipes sticking out underneath looks awesome as well, but it is a shame that you can’t see that when it is installed in our computer.
When it comes to overclocking we found the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 OC to be a blast to overclock. The AMD ‘Tahiti’ core is built on the 28nm manufacturing process and we have found the new Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture very overclocking friendly. In case you forgot, the AMD Radeon HD 7970 reference design runs at 925MHz on the core clock. Using the SAPPHIRE TriXX overclocking utility we were able to hit 1310MHz on the core clock speed! This is a 42% clock frequency increase on the core clock and the first Tahiti XT graphics card that we have broken the 1300MHz barrier with! How can you complain with a 1.3GHz+ core clock speed that was done without any mods on the GPU cooler that came on the card?
Performance aside, the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 OC also fared well when it comes to the accessory bundle. SAPPHIRE included all the cables and adapters that you could possibly need and you get three game titles with the purchase of this card (for a limited time). This is a great bundle as not too many cards come with all numerous accessories and multiple game title these days. The warranty on the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 OC is two-years.
The only negative thing that we have to point out about the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 OC 3GB graphics card is that during use the card has a ‘buzz’ or ‘whine’ coming from the ferrite chokes that is rather loud. We searched around and found various people complaining about this on other forums and even Newegg and Amazon customer reviews, so just a heads up. It appears that SAPPHIRE is RMA’ing cards that have loud chokes though and that is a sign of good customer support and we have to respect that.
If you like what you see with the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 OC 3GB Edition you can find them online for $479.99 shipped. This is about $50 more than the cheapest priced AMD Radeon HD 7970, but it comes overclocked, looks great, has a custom GPU cooler and is topped off with an amazing bundle.
Legit Bottom Line: The SAPPHIRE HD 7970 OC 3GB video card gave us a look at the full potential of the AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPU and we liked what we saw!