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PowerColor LCS HD7970 3GB Review

ccokeman    -   March 11, 2012
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Testing:

Testing of the PowerColor LCS HD 7970 will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities, to show where they each fall on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should give you an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing, with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing, where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA Control Panel, if applicable. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performing in the graphs to show where they fall by comparison. The drivers used are the 11.12 Catalyst drivers for AMD-based cards, with the exception being the new HD 7900 series that have been tested with the latest AMD press release performance driver. The 290.53 drivers for NVIDIA-based cards are used for the testing.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

  • PowerColor LCS HD 7970 3 GB — Core 1235MHz, Memory 1730MHz

Overclocking the LCS HD 7970 was both fruitful and disappointing for a number of reasons. I was disappointed that I could only get to 1235MHz on the core when the memory speed was ramped up over 1580MHz. That being said, I could increase the GPU core clock to 1270MHz when the memory speed was left at lower levels. The overall combined numbers of 1235MHz on the GPU core and 1730MHz on the GDDR5 memory offered the highest marks on both clock speeds combined. To reach the maximum clock speeds, I used MSI's Afterburner Utility with unofficial overclocking enabled so the clock speeds could be adjusted past the limits in the Catalyst Control Center. Since the PowerColor LCS HD 7970 is liquid-cooled, I cranked the voltage up to 1300mv and let it rip. Any lower and the clock speeds would suffer. The higher voltage and frequency only impacted the load temperatures by 2 ºC, coming in at 44 ºC, validating PowerColor's claim to less than a 50 ºC load temperature. By overclocking, there were significant gains to be had in performance in all the games tested, making it a worthwhile endeavor. The clock speed gain over the class leading 1050MHz was 185MHz, or +18%, on the Tahiti core, and 305MHz, or just over +21%, on the GDDR5 memory. This led to improvements in gaming at 5760x1080 of close to 20%; again, well worth the effort. This card was meant to be overclocked and it does quite well.

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consists of looping Unigine 2.5 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds fail when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment fails, then the clock speeds and tests are rerun until they pass a full hour of testing.

 

 

 

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro 2033
  2. Batman: Arkham City
  3. Battlefield 3
  4. HAWX 2
  5. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.5
  6. DiRT 3
  7. Mafia II
  8. 3DMark 11
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: The Video Card
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Metro 2033
  6. Testing: Batman Arkham City
  7. Testing: Battlefield 3
  8. Testing: Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.5
  9. Testing: DiRT 3
  10. Testing: Mafia II
  11. Testing: 3DMark 11
  12. Testing: Eyefinity & Surround
  13. Testing: Temperatures
  14. Testing: Power Consumption
  15. Conclusion
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