AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB 'Tahiti' Review

👤by Richard Weatherstone Comments 📅20-12-11

So there we have it. AMD have made some great leaps today. Not only are they the first to the GPU scene with 28nm archetecture but they have implemented some neat little features, an improved cooling design and best of all, very impressive overclocking abilities.

The new Tahiti core is clearly a force to be reckoned with and while no doubt NVIDIA have some tricks of their own to unveil, presently a GTX580 is redundant. The HD7950 will also be based on the same core, most likely with a reduction in CU's and clockspeeds however if the performance of the HD7970 is anything to go by, the HD7950 will also be a hell of a card. IT is expected that lower end 7000 series cards will be based on the older Caymen core so this is where you should perhaps look for the best bang-per-buck as at an expected price of £480-500 for a Powercolor version, the HD7970 is anything but cheap. Top performance however is rarely bought on a budget and so while the price of the card is criminally expensive, for the latest high-end technology it is to be expected. I would have liked to have seen the HD7970 aimed closer to reference GTX580 prices as this would truly make it on everyones belated Christmas list, especially those looking for the best performing single core card. However, at £500 I feel many will keep a tight rein on those purse strings and wait to see what the green time has to offer before splashing out the cash.

The HD7970 is a phenomenal card and impresses in almost every area save for the price. I particularly like the zero PowerCore feature which means I can happily leave my PC on all night while streaming/downloading safe in the knowledge my GPU is not gobbling up power. When GPU power is needed though, the card will instantaneously jump to life and grant you extreme framerates even at the highest resolutions thanks to the huge 3GB of GDDR5 which all but eliminates current VRAM limitations. Have more than one monitor? No problem. Will full Eyefinity compatibility (and indeed Eyefinity 2.0 due in Q2 2012 with future driver revisions), you have a card that not only performs extremely well today but also offers plenty of future proofing with the card also being DX11.1 (Windows 8 ) and PCIe 3.0 ready.

To conclude then the card is expensive. There's no getting away from that fact and any component costing this much is going to take serious consideration before reaching for the credit card. If you are a fan of the red team and here's where your loyalty lays, then I see no reason not to thoroughly recommend what is a very impressive piece of kit. If however you prefer to sit on the fence until you see what both sides have to offer then no words of wisdom will persuade you to go for this product. You may be wise to wait, or foolish to believe that waiting is a good strategy as the HD7970 is awesome in it's own right. Sure NVIDIA may release an even faster card (likely costing more money) but for the time you spend sitting on the proverbial fence will be wasted when everything you need is right here, right now with the AMD HD7970.

+ Amazing GPU core overclocking
+ Good memory overclocking
+ Good cooling
+ Great performance especially at High-res
+ Quiet (when fan below 40%)
+ Good looking design
+ Black PCB

- Expensive
- Loud fan above 40%, deafening at 100%
- Only one DVI port

Click here for an explanation of our awards at Thanks to AMD for providing today’s review sample.

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