While AMD's Radeon HD 7770 and HD 7870 GPUs both have core clocks set at 1GHz, the high-end HD 7970 seems oddly underclocked, running at a rather underwhelming 925MHz. However, according to Australian tech site Atomic MPC, AMD is preparing to rectify this by releasing a revamped 'GHz Edition' of the HD 7970, featuring a GPU clocked at 1GHz.
If you shop around you can already find HD 7970 cards with the core clocked at around 1050MHz, but these cards fall outside of AMD's reference specification. By releasing a 'GHz Edition' of the HD 7970, AMD would be making the speed bump up to 1GHz official.
There's good reason for AMD to officially bump the core clock speed of the HD 7970. This is because HD 7970 cards with cores clocked at the 1GHz mark are faster than an NVIDIA GTX 680 running at reference speeds, which is currently the fastest offering from NVIDIA.
An official Radeon HD 7970 'GHz Edition' card would give AMD the hardware it needs to once again trump NVIDIA, and allow it to retake the fastest GPU crown -- for now.
I've had the opportunity to play with a Radeon HD 7970, and there certainly seems to be plenty of scope for boosting the performance without having to alter the design or revamp the cooling. With a little tweaking -- using nothing more than the options available in the official AMD Catalyst Control Center -- it's possible to push the HD 7970's core clock to run at 1,125MHz, which is 200 MHz above stock speed. Even at these higher speeds, the card runs cooler and quieter when under load than an HD 6990 running at stock speeds.
If you are willing to go outside of what the Catalyst Control Center has to offer, careful tweaking of the HD 7970 with a tool such as TriXX can take the core clock up to 1.26MHz. Again, the stock cooler has no trouble keeping the GPU within thermal limits, even under heavy load.
Given these observations based on overclocking, there's little doubt that AMD can squeeze more out of the HD 7970. And now that NVIDIA has released the GTX 680, the time is right to do just that.
I've reached out to AMD for official confirmation of the existence of a Radeon HD 7970 'GHz Edition'.
Image source: AMD.
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