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AMD's Pixel-Crunching Extravaganza: Radeon HD 7970 Review

By Julio Franco ยท 51 replies
Dec 27, 2011
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  1. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,243   +446

    5970 is kind of old tech these days - you're talking 2 generations back.
  2. 1. Amazing upgrade for GTX2xx or HD48xx users who have been holding out all this time.

    2. GTX570 and HD6950 @ 6970 users will probably have to skip this generation (unless they feel like paying $300 more) if they planned to get a much faster GPU at the $300 level. It doesn't look like $299 HD7870 will be much of an upgrade for these users since the flagship 7970 is barely 42% faster.

    3. For GTX580 users who are gaming at 2560x1600, this card changes nothing though. They are probably the disappointed group. 22% more performance isn't that amazing. NV's 28nm GPU should probably add 40-50% over this.

    4. Looking forward to see if HD7950 unclocks and overclocks as well as the 7970.

    Great review Steve. Would have loved to see noise levels measured among the cards.
  3. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,848   +583

    Not quite. Do you see a 7990 on newegg yet?
  4. jeffz6

    jeffz6 TS Rookie Posts: 79

    Mighty 5970! Still a kick *** card
  5. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,264   +102

    Only a window onto the card's RAM is mapped into the CPU's memory map. A 3GB card will look no different than a 512MB card.
  6. 5970 is still beast and still relevant imo. And it didn't get much attention even a year ago in bencmarks. Not sure if DX11 performance has anything to do with that though.
  7. Before the 7000 series saw the light of day, I hazarded a guess that dollar to percentage point ratio would remain 1:1 and you would still be paying for what you get. It's actually a lower value at this point when you compare 7000 and 6000 series. The 7970 is king for now , but it will be up to Nvidia to match it blow for blow or hopefully surpass AMD to get prices to come down across the board. I think maybe I'm just being a little too naive to expect an encore of the hd 4000 series.
  8. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,243   +446

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the 5970 is not a beast... I'm just saying that it's two generations behind and it has to be pretty difficulty to try testing everything from previous generation let alone including the generation before. Look at my sig and you'll see I'm running a pair of 5970s in my current rig... having had the card since it came out I know about where it lies in the charts (one 5970 is roughly equivalent or a little faster than a GTX 580 except on TWIMTBP titles) and then I have to take into account slightly poorer scaling with a pair of 5970 vs a pair of 580. I'd like to assume I have performance right around a 6990 or a little faster for the games that will use all 4 GPUs. Also, those with 5970s already know the limitation imposed by having only 1 GB of VRAM per GPU so anytime the resolution gets higher than 2560 or with high AA + fairly high resolution we'll see a pronounced decline in performance. Highly tessellated scenes will do the same.

    Again, I'm not saying the 5970 isn't fast, just that it's been out for quite some time and the people who own them should have a really good idea where they lie in the charts anyway. Also, the number of people who own them is much lower than any of the other 5xxx cards so it wouldn't make sense to include the 5970 over those.
  9. AlienOverlord

    AlienOverlord TS Rookie Posts: 27

    I'm planning on building a new PC this year. I've currently got a 4850 and want a considerable performance increase but want to spend less than $200, should I wait for a 7000 series to come out in that price range or get something currently available? I don't want to wait longer than the beginning of summer.
  10. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,344   +1,475

    The Radeon HD 7850 should cost around $200 and if the rumors are correct it will perform like a 6950 in most games. It should also be out within the next month or so.
  11. AlienOverlord

    AlienOverlord TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Awesome, thanks for the info. Looks like I'm on the right buy cycle since this generation looks much better than the last just as the 4000 generation was much better than the preceding generation.
  12. I am currently running a single 5870 with EyeFinity (6024x1080 with bezel correction) for playing SWTOR. I have been getting between 30-45fps most of the time with some stuttering here and there, but nothing major although I do have some of the graphics tuned back a bit. What do you guys think is the better option, should I upgrade to a single 7970, or would it be better to put in a second 5870, or some other option?
  13. GaMEChld

    GaMEChld TS Rookie

    I'd have liked to see the 5970 in there myself, but pretty much just because that's what I am upgrading from. Just from eyeballing the charts, it looks like I'll get some improvement all around, and much better Tesselation to boot.

    I don't know about that two generations back argument though, since the 5870 is present.
  14. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,344   +1,475

    As others have said the Radeon HD 5000 series is getting too old now. The Radeon HD 5870 is included as a representative of that series but will be dropped later this year. We favored it over the 5970 because far more people invested in the 5870 than the 5970.

    If we included the 5970 then we might as well have included the 5850 and then why not the 5770, that was the most popular card from the series after all especially for Crossfire builds.

    Also you should be able to work out where the Radeon HD 5970 stands in relation to other graphics cards such as the Radeon HD 5870 and 6990.
  15. Using the 6970 price of $369 cited on page 1 and the price of $549 for the 7970 your price difference of 60% in your wrap up is off.

    The price difference is 49% (369 * 1.49 = 549).
  16. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,344   +1,475

    Thanks I get the maths but you are confusing the MSRP with the actual retail value.
  17. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Even the 60% might be more than a little conservative...

    XFX HD 6970 $310 (MIR)...
    First confirmed "sold at" price I've seen for the HD 7970...$608 (470 euro's)

    I'm sure there's a degree of "new tax" added to the price, but I'd be surprised if retailers will be selling at MSRP, and it's probably a given that the 6970 drops in price relatively quickly.
  18. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    that amounts to around $750 US dollars; without shipping/taxes etc... i think i'll wait lol
  19. fpsgamerJR62

    fpsgamerJR62 TS Rookie Posts: 489

    I hope that the HD 7970 price will drop to lower levels after a few months. At the current pricing, Crossfire configurations using the 7970 are just not viable except maybe for those with really deep pockets. Meanwhile, I'll just have to make do with my "Last Gen" HD 6990 :).
  20. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,243   +446

    It's not necessarily deep pockets that justify it... it's just a difference in priorities. Take me for instance... I will pass up an SSD all day long to get a faster GPU(s). Others will probably want a little more balance. A gaming system for me focuses on the GPU. A productivity machine will go more toward balance and maybe even lack a bit on the GPU, but not so far as to use IGP.
  21. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,222   +163

    I am afraid you are making entirely too much sense Papa :)
  22. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    What's IGP ? Insignificant Graphics Performance ?.....Infrequent Gamescreen Postcards ?
  23. looks like i only have to wait a few more days before my zr30w gets playable framerates
  24. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,222   +163

  25. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,243   +446

    A lot of liquid nitrogen benches look like that. Problem is they can't be used like that for extended periods of time.

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