From a birds-eye perspective you would be hard pushed to distinguish whether this was an AMD or NVIDIA GPU. I have said it before but I do like the brushed aluminium shroud which gives off an air of quality to the overall product. The black contrasting centre and satin black fans contrast very well with the aluminium which overall, in my opinion at least has to be one of the best looking GPUs currently on the market.
Looking at the rear we find an abundance of spring loaded screws holding the PCB to the Double Dissipation cooler. Interestingly, like the reference design, the PCIe power area has dual 8 pins solder points while the card is an 8pin+6pin design signifying that the card originally may have need dual 8pins but has had the power requirements cut back to a 6+8pin configuration. While the PCB is black, the screen printing process over the copper traces makes the PCB look more like very dark brown which is a shame but when installed in a case with anything other than white light you certainly would not be able to tell.
Looking at the card side on, the card again impresses aesthetically. The red aluminium insert with the product title (R7970) and GHOST markings looks great and will happily be shown off through a windowed case.
Rather than using a high rpm single fan, XFX have 'doubled' the cooling power by having twin 90mm fans. This design is not a new concept but it does reduce noise compared the the full shroud of the reference models. The trade off is of course that being an open-air design, hot air is partially exhausted back into the PC enclosure.
Like the reference designs, the Black Edition of the AMD HD7970 has a 250W maximum power requirement and to supply this power, along with PCI 3.0, the card has both 8pin and 6pin PCIe power ports. Also present is the dual BIOS switch allowing the card to receive BIOS updates with a safety back-up or indeed allowing the user to modify one BIOS while having the peace of mind that there is a back-up present should things go awry.
Twin Crossfire tabs are present allowing the user to add this card to a multiple GPU setup in CrossfireX configuration.
Let's strip the card of its clothing to continue the R7970's examination...