AMD announces Radeon HD 7970, claims fastest GPU title

By on December 22, 2011, 8:30 AM

AMD has officially announced its first ever 28nm-based graphics card: the Radeon HD 7970. The first member of the 'Southern Islands' GPU family is based on the 'Tahiti' core and utilizes a fresh architecture AMD refers to as "Graphics Core Next." The latter introduces a non-VLIW SIMD engine and is claimed to deliver a big improvement in performance per square millimeter of GPU space over the prior generation.

Update: TechSpot's review of the Radeon HD 7970 is now live.

Spec-wise, the Radeon HD 7970 packs 2048 Stream Processors, 128 Texture Units, 32 ROPs, a core clock of 925 MHz, a 384-bit memory interface, and 3 GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 5500 MHz. It has the highest transistor count of any GPU yet at 4.31 billion and offers massive improvements over the previous single-GPU flagship -- 3.79TFLOPs of theoretical computing performance compared to 2.7TFLOPs for the Radeon HD 6970, and 264GB/sec of memory bandwidth over the 176GB/sec of the 6970.

Cards in the 7900 series can make full use of the newest and speediest PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 x16 bus interface, though they will retain backwards compatibility with both 1.0 and 2.0 standards.

Other enhancements include PowerTune and AMD ZeroCore Power technologies, which allow for higher performance levels while maximizing power efficiencies, App Acceleration to improve HD video playback and general performance, and an update to AMD's Eyefinity technology that brings new monitor configurations (up to 5-by-1 landscape and portrait with  2560 x 1600 monitors), flexible bezel compensation, stereoscopic 3D support across three displays and support for up to five independent audio streams.

AnandTech tested AMD's newest card and summarizes its gaming performance and power usage like this: "Depending on the game being tested it’s anywhere between 5% and 35% faster than NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 580, averaging 15% to 25% depending on the specific resolution in use. Furthermore thanks to TSMC's 28nm process power usage is upwards of 50W lower than the GTX 580, but it’s still higher than the 6970 it replaces."

The reference AMD Radeon HD 7970 card features a dual-slot cooler which uses vapor chamber technology, has CrossFireX support, and includes four display outputs: one dual-link DVI, one HDMI 1.4a and two mini DisplayPort 1.2. It'll arrive in January 9 just ahead of CES with a price tag of $549.

User Comments: 23

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hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

$549 will turn into $599 pretty quick when released. Too bad it performs too close to the GTX 580 for me to part with my two 6950 2GB's that I paid ~$600cdn for, just yet. Tahiti Overclocks like no other though. That is just impressive right there. I'll let y'all see it for yourselves... Good job AMD, but IMO, you only just now caught up to nVIDIA's last gen flagship (GTX 580).


When I said it overclocks like no other, you first have to see LegitReviews... review. They say they got a special BIOS from AMD.


Okay after looking at more reviews, the 7970 is impressing me. Some games are showing massive gains over the GTX 580 (ie: Shogun 2 and Deus Ex), while other times it is consistently 10fps+ higher. Will I upgrade? No, but if the 7970 is priced near the GTX 580, it will sell a TON!

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If this is what ATI have brought to the table, I can't wait to see what Nvidia have up their sleeve!

Mindwraith said:

so intstead of 30fps i will get 33-35fps? i dont really want to pay $549 for that...

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

AMD should have clocked the 7970 way higher. Legit reviews got to 1165Mhz on stock voltages with a reference card, imagine what you could do with a voltage bump and an aftermarket cooler... The overclocked results were very impressive.

princeton princeton said:

A 5-10fps increase over my $250 unlocked 6950 doesn't seem worth over double the price.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Princeton said:

A 5-10fps increase over my $250 unlocked 6950 doesn't seem worth over double the price.

It's a LOT more than that compared to one 6950. Try 20-30fps better. Techpowerup tests a ton of games including new titles like Batman Arkham City and Battlefield 3. Start there.

Guest said:

599?, glad my used 220 dollars 5870 can run almost everything at 60 fps and the rest at 45. I think I will past another series O.O

Good gpu the 7970 by the way.

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

This looks like a really good GPU, and power consumption is better than what Anandtech says I believe.

Techpowerup tests power draw by measuring only the consumption of the VGA card, in every case it is lower than the 6970 it replaces, and in some cases by allot!


andy06shake said:

Cant wait to see Nvidia crap all over the specs of this card with there next effort! I know im an Nvidia fan boy. Im also an Intel fan boy too, its just ATI & AMD just dont seem to cut it these days.

Guest said:

"The world's most powerful and advanced graphics" with the worlds most shitty drivers!


dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

@andy et al

Credit where credit is due. The HD 7970 is a nicely executed card. The only thing that makes it less than superlative is the price- and that is probably a reflection that the cards will be very thin on the ground even after release. There are so few cards that I don't think there is a single Crossfire bench amongst the reviews, and I daresay that those who have reviewed the card will be packaging them up to send to the next reviewer in line.

If you want the simplicity of a single GPU, and are looking for an enthusiast card for 2560x1600/1440 or Eyefinity then this card makes a compelling choice. If you already have an upper tier card (or 2, 3, 4), then there isn't much point unless you're a benchmark addict or just like waggling your e-peen in public

Also nice to see that AMD have sent out a card at launch with a strong driver. Very encouraging after the last few releases that had some glaring issues.

EDIT: Hardware Heaven has a CFX review

shamus087 said:

Just so you know man. If intel forced AMD outta the market, imagine where the prices would go. Not to mention innovation. Just sayin.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

My GTX 570 runs past stock 580's and a stock GTX 580 is giving this thing a run.

I was going to consider this for my U3011 and 2560 X 1600 gaming but not so sure now.

andy06shake said:

Reply to amstech, i love my GTX 570 ta bits. I dont think i have seen it drop below 50fps yet, What a great card and for a reasonable price, comparatively! The 580s are out of my price range through!

andy06shake said:

Suppose id at least give it a go if Santa dropped one of these 7970s in my stocking!

princeton princeton said:

shamus087 said:

Just so you know man. If intel forced AMD outta the market, imagine where the prices would go. Not to mention innovation. Just sayin.

I think the leaked Ivy Bridge price sheet is evidence against your mentality regarding CPUs.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Not too shabby, doubt I'll be grabbing one but good to see a solid start come next year. Hope we see a great performance from the more wallet friendly 8xx series too.

PinothyJ said:

But does it blend...

Guest said:

ha ha ha ha ha, they not only just caught up with it, they passed and kicked its *** on the way past, go here:

Guest said:

"ha ha ha ha ha, they not only just caught up with it, they passed and kicked its *** on the way past, go here:"

Yea.... ok we'll see whos laughing when the next Nvidia Graphics card releases.

Guest said:

think the best thing is the Partially Resident Textures.

and room for high overclocking too. :)

MCJeeba said:

For someone with two 6970s such as myself, I see absolutely no need to upgrade to this. In the past year, the only things I've even had to enable Crossfire for was Shogun 2 on highest settings possible.

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

I'll probably grab one. Skipped the 6000 series and now I think I'll move from my 5870 to the 7970, which should be quite the leap forward...

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