AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card launched, benchmarked: Fastest single-GPU board available

AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card launched, benchmarked: Fastest single-GPU board available

Summary: 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.

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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.

Topics: Hardware, CXO, Enterprise Software, Legal, Processors

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Talkback

9 comments
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  • RE: AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card launched, benchmarked: Fastest single-GPU board available

    Before someone comes around and calls it a toy for only hardcore computer folks, I'd like to say that the biggest advantage of this thing coming out is the price drop on the 6970s that are sure to follow.
    Aerowind
    • RE: AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card launched, benchmarked: Fastest single-GPU board available

      @Aerowind <br><br>> First off everyone should be very leary of the 6970's that are in the market right now; some are not AMD reference cards. Also, these cards will not have the switch bios for 880Mhz core clock, leaving them with less than acceptable gaming performance and they are too long at 13".<br><br>Now for the low down on this article; typo one is the mention of the 6870 and not the 6970. And he got it wrong with the resolution handicap being at lower resolutions, coming from Tom's hardware it was at 2560x1600 and higher. So, the claims that AMD is making for this card are like their drivers also; they are well suited for the multi-viewing experience and dependable workstation. They just don't cut it in the gaming arena against Nvidia at any level of DirectX11 gaming price point. Even though all of my vid cards are 6800 series it is for their reliability, and the lack of warranty support from the manufacturers of AMD graphics cards doesn't effect my choice. EVGA Nvidia has the best USA support of everyone and that counts when spending huge amounts of cash on gaming gear.
      Zurk_Orkin
  • RE: AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card launched, benchmarked: Fastest single-GPU board available

    It might be the fastest but their drivers will be crappy as usual as their development tools unlike NVIDIA :)
    shellcodes_coder
    • To each his own

      @shellcodes_coder, I have had far more driver issues with nVidia over the years than AMD. Neither are perfect, but I'll continue to use AMD video cards until/unless Apple buys them out.
      itpro_z
    • RE: AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card launched, benchmarked: Fastest single-GPU board available

      @shellcodes_coder - I agree 1000%! The lost me as a customer over crappy drivers and support...
      smashandgrab
  • RE: AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card launched, benchmarked: Fastest single-GPU board available

    I'll let early adopters buy the 7970. I bet they're the ones paying for it as I can easily break my bank for that. :)

    I'll be holding out for a single-slot Radeon HD 7000 series of video cards, as I could sacrifice performance just to have one expansion slot in mATX motherboard free for other uses, even for a single-purpose gaming PC.

    The reason for that is I have a laptop as a general-purpose PC for browsing, listening to Live365, use Outlook 2010 for e-mail, calendaring, task, and notes synchronization, do work in VS2010 Pro (I got it from DreamSpark when I was a student), and do other things in it. Plus, I plan to build a completely silent mATX PC for music creation. I suppose I could use a gaming PC for video editing, though.

    That is, since I have a laptop connected to my HDTV, I plan to go from a PC using an ATX motherboard into using two smaller PCs both using mATX motherboards.

    Anyway, the 7970 is a very nice graphics card, but if I'm a game developer, I'd be glad to target those with a Radeon HD 6520 that's built-in to my AMD A6-3400 laptop. Japanese RPG is one of my favorite genres and I have a passion for that. I played The Last Remnant at 1280x720 and the gameplay is very smooth. When I bump up to 1920x1080, the game almost became unplayable. I could live with 1280x720 and 24+ FPS, though. I probably wouldn't tell the difference between 30 FPS and 60 FPS and 1280x720 and 1920x1080.
    Grayson Peddie
  • RE: AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card launched, benchmarked: Fastest single-GPU board available

    @shellcodes_coder
    It's okay if it performs a couple frames faster... People really couldn't notice the difference as long as it is over 30FPS. Another thing, ATI/AMD graphics tend not to be as smooth and polished... With this it could score a couple better gains and users typically wont notice. Lastly... I couldn't agree with you more about the driver issues. I've had nothing but trouble with ATI/AMD and their horrid driver crap. Catalyst hogs memory. Drivers poorly coded. Some drivers may even brick your card... Never heard of nVidia drivers doing anything of the sort. Just like the issue where my friend couldn't wait for the nvidia based Asus laptop I told him to get so he jumped the gun and bought the one with the ATI crap I told him to avoid. Two models are G73JH <-ATI based, G73JW <-nVidia. His computers video card idles around 70c and light gaming or watching videos spikes up to a constant 95c and if any changes occur it will spike past that and his computer would shut off. He went through several drivers trying to get the computer to be stable and discovered the cool drivers they were pushing that tended to brick video cards. He went back to the factory drivers from Asus and has to baby the computer around. My G73JW has no issues at all. I can't even get the card to pass 80c even under heavy gaming for hours. Its idle will range from 37c to 42c. The card also supports all 3D tech even shutter shades. He noted that he will never by any ATI or AMD product ever again. Another satisfied customer right? LOL Great drivers right? LOL...kk enough bashing. Regardless of anything with drivers an so on... This card does an awesome job but I'm sure nVidia has some tricks up its sleeve as well. Seems like just about the right time for their product launch. All they need to do is see the specs on AMD's new cards and just beat those numbers which they seem to be good at and also since nVidia has been working on their prices they are doing a great job at competing. Only time will tell but I can say my experience with ATI/AMD has always been trouble. First AMD board went up in smoke and flames after one minute of use. At that point I told the dumbsh*t at Fry's to cap it and not mention AMD at all. He seemed bent but I showed him the mobo and CPU and well, can't argue that. Got an Intel board and CPU and ran smooth, quick with no issues and never had any since with the several mobo's and CPU's I've gone through. Just waiting now for the Ivy Bridge to come out and dominate and get nVidia in the mix with the new 600 series that should give about 5-10% boost over AMD. I'm glad for the competition but end result I rather pay a couple dollars more for quality and speed opposed to only speed saving some dollars. To each their own.
    audidiablo
    • nVidia vs AMD

      @audidiablo
      Actually, yes nVidia put out a couple drivers that were burning up people's cards (I was one of the victims). On new cards (I got the 8800 when it was first introduced), the driver "works" but I have seen improvements in the performance even now, so no driver is perfect for a card coming out of the chute. It's a nice dream, though =)

      The only reason *I* might chose nVidia over AMD is CUDA, and in the CG community, there are evidently problems with the CUDA implementation.
      Drakaran
      • RE: AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card launched, benchmarked: Fastest single-GPU board available

        @Drakaran >

        If you think about the ARM support that is coming with Windows 8 and the possible offering of only one operating systems for desktops/laptops and tablets: CUDA could become a reality for Nvidia and the death of AMD Radeon series graphics.
        Zurk_Orkin