Sapphire HD 7970 3GB Reviewccokeman - January 9, 2012
Category: Video Cards
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Back right before Christmas AMD took the wraps off their latest GPU architecture code named Southern Islands. This architecture rang in the drop to a 28nm process with what AMD calls a revolutionary architecture to drive computing power to +1.4x the previous generation. Along the way we also get a move to PCIe 3 support, 3GB of high speed GDDR5 memory, DX 11.1 compliance, Power Tune and Zero Core power technologies and Eyefinity 2.0 that brings its own new feature sets. AMD's GCN or Graphics Core Next Tahiti core is a step away from the VLIW design to a non VLIW SIMD engine for higher computing performance. This new core comes with a large increase in the transistor count to 4.31 Billion, an increase in the streaming processor count to 2048 with 32 raster units, 128 texture units and finally a move to a 384bit wide memory bus that drives compute performance and memory bandwidth scaling upwards. All this together on paper looks pretty significant and should drive gaming performance to new levels.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 comes packed much like many of Sapphires offerings with a fair amount of information highlighted including the 28nm manufacturing process technology, Eyefintiy, AMD APP, Displayport, PCIe 3 and the dual bios feature, included HDMI cable and 3GB of onboard GDDR5 memory. The front panel has Ruby dressed for some Black ops instead of flaunting her sexuality. The back panel has many of the capabilities and specifications listed including a brief description of the new GCN architecture, GDDR5 memory, Eyefinity 2.0, and HDMI 1.4a audio support.
Opening the package we find the Sapphire HD 7970 securely packed in a formed cardboard tray with a separate box for the included accessories. Sapphire is committed to using recyclable materials for the packaging.
The accessory bundle is one thing that can drive the purchase of a card based on how complete the bundle is. Sapphire has included just about all the items one could need to hook this card up in many different scenarios including an Eyefinity multi monitor solution. The included accessories include power adapters to supplement the power connectivity of the power supply, a high speed HDMI cable, Crossfire bridge connection, DVI to VGA adapter, Mini Display Port to HDMI dongle, Mini Display Port to SL-DVI Active dongle, HDMI to SL-DVI Adapter, driver disk and manual.
Many have already seen the reference cards but let's see what Sapphire has in store for this offering and how it performs.