With the Radeon HD 7000 series trickling out, Ivy Bridge and Kepler bound for mid-2012 and hard drive prices gradually recovering, it seems a great time to begin plotting your next system upgrade. What parts do you plan to buy in the near future? Need more horsepower, storage or RAM? Finally going to splurge on a flash drive or secondary display? Perhaps it's time for a completely fresh build?
Components for Shawn's new X79 test rig
I'm tempted to perform an overhaul this summer, but I think I'll skip this generation and see what 2013 brings. The i5-750 and GTX 460 should hold strong until then. Coincidentally, you are reading this via TechSpot's newly upgraded server, which now has dual quad-core Xeon E5620s, 12GB of RAM and two SSDs in RAID (from dual quad-core Xeon E5335s, 8GB of RAM and 10k RPM SAS drives).
The AMD ATI Radeon HD 7970 measures 27 cm long (10.6 in), the GPU core is clocked at 925MHz, and the GDDR5 memory operates at the same frequency of 1375MHz (5.5GHz DDR). Still, pairing that frequency with a 384-bit memory bus gives the HD 7970 264GB/s of theoretical bandwidth. The HD 7970 carries 2048 SPUs, 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs, up 33% from 1536 SPUs and 96 TAUs, it's also the first PCI Express 3.0-compatible card.
The HD 7950 has 2048 SPUs, 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs. The only other ports are on the I/O panel where you'll find a dual DL-DVI connector, a single HDMI 1.4a port, and two mini-DisplayPort 1.2 sockets. Supports a max resolution of 2560x1600 on up to 3 monitors.
The AMD ATI Radeon HD 7770 measures 21cm (8.2in) long, the GPU core runs at 1GHz, it comes loaded with a 1GB frame buffer, the Radeon HD 7770 also carries 640 SPUs, 40 TAUs and 16 ROPs. The HD 7770 operates at near silence because even under load it only draws 80 watts and as little as 3 watts at idle, courtesy of the ZeroCore Power technology. Last but not least, AMD has included a single 6-pin PCI Express power connector.
The Radeon HD 7750 measures only 17cm (6.6in) long and operates at 800MHz. The HD 7750 reference card has a single slot cooler that uses a low-profile heatsink and fan measuring 3cm tall. The heatsink itself is 9.5cm long, 7.5cm wide and is cooled by a 65mm fan. The I/O panel has a dual DL-DVI connector, a single HDMI 1.4a port and a DisplayPort 1.2 socket.
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