AMD Goes For The Crown: Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Review

By on June 22, 2012, 1:33 AM

Having successfully launched their first 28nm GPU last January, AMD went on to release an entire family of Radeon HD 7000 GPUs over the next few months. The last of the series were the Radeon HD 7870 and 7850 graphics cards, which were closely followed by the launch of Nvidia’s next generation flagship part, the GeForce GTX 680.

It didn't take long for the GTX 680 a.k.a. Kepler to knock the Radeon HD 7970 off its perch, becoming the world’s fastest single GPU solution. AMD attempted to lessen the blow by cutting pricing of their 7900 and 7800 series lineups. Yet in the end, perhaps the best news for AMD came from the almost complete lack of GTX 680 stock.

Fast forward to the present day and it'd appear that AMD is desperate to claim the bragging rights of offering the single fastest GPU money can buy. As the name suggests the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition features a core clock speed of 1GHz, along with overclocked GDDR5 memory running at 1500MHz. AMD plans to charge a small premium for the GHz cards at $499, but is it worth it?

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 29

Got something to say? Post a comment
dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Nice wide ranging review once again Steve -much appreciated as always.

Reference overclocked 7970. For $499.99 you'd be better off with any number of factory OC'ed 7970's with a better/quieter cooling solution (XFX , Giga , PC, Sapphire, and Asus come to mind)...I'd say all are guaranteed to be quieter than the 7970GE:

And judging by OC's achieved with the GHz edition (~1150MHz for the most part), there doesn't seem to be an upside to buying it.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I still think though if you consider heat and power consumption the Nvidia GTX680 wins, 2% increase on average over the GTX680 with a 7% power increase...

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This just seems to be a pointless card, only a 75Mhz increase over the standard 7970? Would have expected a 1100 core clock at least as most people could hit that quite easily on the standard one.

Arizonian said:

A vanilla 7970 can easily over clock as well for less money. Doesn't mean the binned GHz edition will over clock any further than tested advertised factory OC. Seems pointless.

Nvidia can check mate and allow a higher voltage cap from 1.175v to 1.200v for greater over clock than current.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Nvidia can check mate and allow a higher voltage cap from 1.175v to 1.200v for greater over clock than current.

Quite possible given Vince Lucido's exploits - tho' I wouldn't expect 2002 MHz core is in any way standard- it's probably that extra 0.012v that makes the difference

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

Meh nice try AMD but I'm loving my 2 gtx 680s all ultra @ 2560 x 1600 res.

Guest said:

And in the interest of fairness perhaps AMD's new flagship should be compared to a 680 that nvidia increases its clock on also then AMD can do the same and repeat the process a million times.

Talk about ambiguous, how about review the original cards that are not factory OC'd etc with the most current drivers and game patches then see the comparison AMD?

Oh wait yeh I see...

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Love the reviews TechSpot, very detailed and encompassing. BUT....could you please also toss in a line or two about the noise factor of these cards? That's a big deal for me. If I'm going to shell out $300-$400 for a new card, I don't want it sounding like a wind tunnel.

Thanks!

Guest said:

"Yet in the end, perhaps the best news for AMD came from the almost complete lack of GTX 680 stock."

That's because they sell out in a matter of minutes when a new batch comes in.

680 has a greater share in steam hardware survey than 7970, 0.56% vs. 0.50%, in DX11 section.

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/videocard/

Guest said:

That's a lot of GHz!

Guest said:

still noob..please create a new model truly can beat the nvidia 680..

Guest said:

Really techspot? How about in fairness showing stock vs stock?

Am surprised this site didn't list the overclocked gtx680's as stock

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

It's impossible for AMD to have the crown. Thier drivers, features and overall stability are far behind Nvidia.

The best, smoothest most feature rich PC gaming experience is only possible with a Nvidia GTX. Period.

Speed/performance can go back and forth, but a true king delivers all the goods.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

125MHz difference.

Lionvibez said:

Meh nice try AMD but I'm loving my 2 gtx 680s all ultra @ 2560 x 1600 res.

I'm gonna add another useless post like your own.

SLI 680 is overkill for that res. You should be running a 3 monitor setup why spend $1000 on those gpu's for a single monitor??

Sounds like more money than brains!

Guest said:

NV spokesman: Hello and a heartily warm welcome to our PR, Amstech. Here, at nVidia, we strive for excellence. Even when our video cards are mistaken for toasters we're still the best and we'll always be because we are. [more AMD drivers bashing]. The 680GTX is the best card ever, that's why we'll keep manufacturing it for at least 5 years under different brandings. Hopefully, AMD will die out by then so we can sell you, for ridiculous expensive prices, our newest 5+ years old technology forever.

Guest said:

The Radeon HD 7970 significantly shines over the NVIDIA Kepler GTX 680 on multiple large displays. I used multiple high-res monitors and the GTX 680 can't keep up with them, so for people like me, the Radeon HD 7970 is the real choice/winner. Strange that they don't benchmark/mention that the GTX 680 does not perform well with multiple displays.

darkzelda said:

I feel sorry for most people that can't even install properly the drivers of a Video Card. I have sold many computers with ATI drivers and never have a problem with them. The guys complaining about drivers simply don't have any idea how to use computer it's that simple. Either AMD or Nvidia have two great performers anyone you choose it's a good card.

Guest said:

Yes clicking install is very difficult, amd fanboy.

Guest said:

Only in your mind do the amd drivers win in high res multi monitor, all the benchmarks have proven otherwise, AND nVidia is smoother, and has better software, like centering the taskbar, surround, and 3D, all superior to amd, not to mention bezel peek !

Another amd fan bites the dust, and lives in lies.

1 person liked this | TekGun TekGun said:

!

Another amd fan bites the dust, and lives in lies.

Oh the irony...

Either of the top end cards are awesome and both have positive and negative points including problem driver support from both camps, anyone who thinks different is deluded. Oh and personally I much prefer AMD's Catalyst software to nVidias control panel.

Guest said:

That's hilarious hardware enthusiasts talking about 2x GTX680 SLI overkill for 2560x1600 or using a single of these $500 HD7970/680 cards to drive 3 monitors in demanding/modern PC games.

Do you people even bother reading reviews or just fight over 3-4 fps win from one side of the other to tout your team as the superior one? Raise your hand who wants to play PC games at 25-37 fps at those resolutions with AA? Anyone?

[link]

The fact of the matter is even if HD7970 wins by 20% at triple monitor gaming, it won't make games any more playable. Anyone using higher resolutions or multiple monitors is going with 2 cards. At that point, the performance differences will be larger negated and more affected by how well drivers are optimized. In this generation, SLI works a lot better than Crossfire, once you add up 2x GTX670s (say Gigabyte Windforce 3x) for example vs. 2x HD7970 CF, the power consumption difference grows even more, while the noise levels will skyrocket even more for HD7970 setup.

Imo, AMD wins single-GPU round at 1920x1080/1200 this time since it offers a more well-rounded card and can catch up to GTX680 in BF3, while handily beating it in Crysis / Warhead and Metro 2033. However, for multi-monitor gaming, NV offers more consistent drivers as has been shown by countless forum users from AnandTech to HardOCP to TechPowerup.

Regardless, the bang for the buck on the high-end is still GTX670 and AMD hasn't addressed it at all. GTX670 will continue to sell better than 7950 and 7970. AMD needs to release a Ghz edition of 7950.

Guest said:

It's impossible for AMD to have the crown. Thier drivers, features and overall stability are far behind Nvidia.

The best, smoothest most feature rich PC gaming experience is only possible with a Nvidia GTX. Period.

Bullox.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Meh nice try AMD but I'm loving my 2 gtx 680s all ultra @ 2560 x 1600 res.

I'm gonna add another useless post like your own.

SLI 680 is overkill for that res. You should be running a 3 monitor setup why spend $1000 on those gpu's for a single monitor??

Going to disagree with your post. 680 sli would be just about perfect to run any and everything on highest detail at that res with a smooth 60fps min. I have 580 sli with a Samsung 305T.

Sounds like more money than brains!

PC nerd PC nerd said:

What is the point in this GPU?

>No architectural differences between this "GHz Edition" 7970 and the standard 7970

>Same crappy stock cooler

>Slightly different clock/memory frequencies

>More expensive than a custom 7970.

Who would be dumb enough to buy this?

simidude said:

What about GTX 690 ? Isst that one faster than the GTX 680 model? Or is the 690 not a singe cpu... I am confused...

Guest said:

The 690 is a dual-core GPU and it's probably faster than any of the aforementioned GPUs.

Guest said:

^Dual GPU

How come this card was not overclocked by the reviewer ?

Guest said:

7950 Ghz edition won't be enough. AMD should reduce it's 7900 price.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.