Radeon HD 7970 hits shelves, 7950 coming in February

By on January 10, 2012, 3:00 PM

The world's fastest single-GPU graphics card is now available in stores, albeit in limited quantities. Newegg has most of its Radeon HD 7970 cards are listed for $550 with the slightly overclocked XFX Black Edition is pegged at $600.

We reviewed the Radeon 7970 last month and concluded while it comes at a substantial premium, the model offers excellent performance and fits snugly into AMD's top tier line-up.

Although it's pricey, the HD 7970 strikes somewhat of a balance in AMD's premium lineup when you compare it to the HD 6990. The dual-GPU card was 17% faster while costing 27% more and consuming 30% more power.

The HD 7970 might not deliver the same bang for your buck proposition as AMD's previous generation flagship cards, but it has secured the performance crown for the time being. Based on the dozen games that we tested, the HD 7970 was 17% faster than the GeForce GTX 580 at 2560x1600 and just 14% slower than the GTX 590.

The Radeon HD 7970 is the first graphics card to sport AMD's Tahiti-based chip, a graphics core stuffed with 4.3 billion transistors using a 28nm process. It boasts a 384-bit memory bus capable of pushing 264GB of data per second, 2,048 stream processors, a mere 3-watt power draw while idling and can be automatically overclocked by 33 percent through AMD's Powertune software for those times you need a little boost.

Currently, Asus, Diamond, HIS, XFX, Powercolor, Sapphire and Visiontek have all thrown their hats into the arena with mostly similar offerings, one exception being the XFX Black Edition. Also, on Monday, a handful of custom gaming rig companies such as Maingear started allowing systems to be configured with the new cards.

Also, AMD announced the availability of a refreshed mobile graphics lineup, the Radeon HD 7000M series. The new chips will be based on new package designs allowing GDDR5 support, Vari-Bright, PowerPlay and dynamic switchable graphics for additional power savings. The press release states that HP and Lenovo will have laptops featuring these chips and one such laptop that springs to mind is the HP Envy Spectre.

With the Radeon HD 7970 now available, the 7950 is anticipated to be released next month. Like its upscale brother, it will also be based on Tahiti architecture but should prove to be a more popular mainstream option due to its expected affordability.




User Comments: 13

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thewind said:

now correct me if im wrong (which I might be so feel free to comment)... Dosen't nvidia's cards do physx which would put extra strain on there cards? I have a 560ti and it does very well! I really like the physx portions of Batman arkham city with paper flying through the air... youtube it if you dont know what I'm talking about... so given that Radieon cards dont have this feature wouldn't that free up space so there would be higher frame rates? From what I've seen Radeon cards have been a tad bit faster but dont do physx. If nvidia cards didn't do that maybe they would be just as fast? Please tell me if im wrong in any of my thinking...

Guest said:

nVidia cards only process physx in games that support it and only when enabled. When companies review video cards they usually turn off card specific features in games to make the processing as equal as possible. So in batman they would turn off physx unless they were specifically testing the physx.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have to agree with thewind on teh GTX 560 ti though, it is a great little card

got mine running at 950MHz without any voltage tweaking, very impressed how well it runs BF3.

Guest said:

IS very tempting.

I have the 580 .. right now . .so i have NO need for a new Video card.. but knowing nVidia..

the 600 series will come end of the year probably. BOOOOO

Good time to upgrade in the high-end market. This will be top dog for at least 1/2 year. (unless nVidia get's their sh*t together)

Guest said:

Supply appears to be low and there is a lot of price gouging going on. Online retailers in Oz starting price for the cards was around $700 (yes we are getting ripped off here - I can buy the same card from the US for less than $600 inc shipping). The same retailers by the end of the first release day were selling for $30-90 more.

Guest said:

That's why you get an ATI card then buy an old 9800GTX+ or something and have it be a dedicated PhysX card.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Supply appears to be low and there is a lot of price gouging going on. Online retailers in Oz starting price for the cards was around $700 (yes we are getting ripped off here...

Think you've got problems?-check across the ditch in New Zealand ($1079...$AUD 831/ $US 857)...or $79 more than a HD 6990

- I can buy the same card from the US for less than $600 inc shipping).

Just out of interest, who ships these cards from the U.S.to the South Pacific? Most U.S. etailers are forbidden to send products that encroach on another regional distributer..

Guest said:

There are a few businesses dedicated to shipping from US retailers. Shipitto and PriceUSA are a couple of popular ones.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Yaarp, Australia/NZ is well-known to rip customers off in the PC/gaming markets.

Guest said:

Prices in the US are rising as well. Looks like they are up $100 from yesterday.

Guest said:

Frames/sec is probably not the best way to score top video cards. My son's GTX480 overclocks easily to 825mhz and then matches a base GTX580 in f/s in benchmarks. But the 580's extra hardware capacity will help out in other ways.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

There are a few businesses dedicated to shipping from US retailers. Shipitto and PriceUSA are a couple of popular ones.

[OFFTOPIC]

These are freight/mail forwarders- not etailers.

The problem with freight forwarding is that large etailers such as NewEgg won't accept international CC's, nor PayPal etc that is backed by such. Most etailers seem fairly arbitrary in shipping to a freight forwarding (i.e. Suite# ____ )address...this is before you consider the amount of charges, "handling fees" some charge on purchase totals, adding some juice to the exchange rates, and warranty returns when dealing with a middle man.

[/OFFTOPIC]

Guest said:

[OFFTOPIC]

These are freight/mail forwarders- not etailers.

The problem with freight forwarding is that large etailers such as NewEgg won't accept international CC's, nor PayPal etc that is backed by such. Most etailers seem fairly arbitrary in shipping to a freight forwarding (i.e. Suite# ____ )address...this is before you consider the amount of charges, "handling fees" some charge on purchase totals, adding some juice to the exchange rates, and warranty returns when dealing with a middle man.

[/OFFTOPIC]

Those sites pay from their US accounts for the items then on-ship so they are using US CC's so that is already taken care of. The handling fees for shipito are actually quite low and when you look at the price difference it is pretty competition compared to australian domestic pricing.

So they are a little more than freight forwarders. They are purchasing agents as well.

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