The rumors were right: AMD has introduced its new flagship desktop graphics card, the Radeon HD 7970. While the $549 super board won't hit retailers until January 9, the first reviews are in, and as expected, the new Radeon is now the fastest single-GPU card available.
There was speculation that the 7970 could hang with dual-GPU cards like the Radeon HD 6990, but test after test from sites like Hot Hardware, Anandtech, and Tom's Hardware shows that hope to be unfounded. The 6990 and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 590 continue to provide the absolute best scores on the latest games, but the 7970 tops the GeForce GTX 580 and its predecessor, the Radeon HD 6870, on nearly every benchmark, though its superiority is lessened at lower resolutions.
The new card does deliver on its ability to provide that better performance with somewhat less power consumption, though it's fairly noisy. It should also be noted that these scores were recorded using early driver versions, and hopefully AMD will further tweak them in the couple of weeks between this paper launch and the actual release.
Will you be pouncing on the Radeon HD 7970 when it becomes available next month? Let us know in the Talkback section.