AMD still may not be able to claim the top-performing desktop processor, but it's gunning for the title of fastest graphics card for your PC with its newest board. The Radeon HD 7970 is based on the new 28nm "Tahiti" manufacturing process and sports a brand-new architecture.
Per VR-Zone, the top-tier 7970 will come with 2,048 stream processors and 3GB of GDDR5 memory that will make use of a 384-bit bus width. The core clock speed will be 925MHz, but AMD claims that the card will be able to be overclocked beyond 1GHz. Cooling is provided by a heat sink (sixth-generation vapor chamber!) and "improved fan design" and will occupy one of two expansion slots. No doubt after-market liquid cooling options will be available.
According to Fudzilla, initial reports indicate that the 7970 appears to be about 30 percent faster than its Radeon HD 6970 predecessor, with performance close to the dual-GPU Radeon HD 6990. These numbers come from using the initial driver, so performance should be further tweaked before release.
AMD will supposedly introduce the new card on Thursday December 22, though you won't see it stocked in stores until early January. That will give you more time to save up, because top performance always requires top dollar -- in this case, supposedly $549 for the Radeon HD 7970. We'll know soon if it's worth the coin for hard-core gamers.