XFX HD 7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation 3 GB Reviewccokeman - January 26, 2012
Category: Video Cards
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Just a few short weeks ago, I had the opportunity to look at and test a reference HD 7970 from Sapphire for the official launch of AMD's latest video cards, which feature an all new architecture based on the 28 nm Tahiti core. On top of the die shrink, this new architecture from AMD includes a move to PCIe 3 support, an increase to 3 GB of high speed GDDR5 memory, DX 11.1 compliance, Power Tune and Zero Core power technologies, and Eyefinity 2.0, which brings its own upgraded feature set. AMD's GCN, or Graphics Core Next Tahiti core, is a step away from the VLIW design and towards 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 384-bit wide memory bus for increased memory performance. For XFX, they have decided to further improve the reference design in the form of the Black Edition Double Dissipation HD 7970 – the latest card to carry the Black Edition pedigree. While you get the new tech from AMD, XFX includes their own X-Factors such as Duratec components, Hydrocell vapor chamber cooling, dual fans for a 13 dB drop in acoustics and at least a 7°C improvement in cooling performance, and a significant boost in the base clock speeds to 1000 MHz on the core and 1425 MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Let’s see if the improvements and hardware enhancements equate to a better end user experience.
XFX has loaded the packaging with a ton of information about the Black Edition HD 7970. The front features the Black Edition logo, the name of the card, and information about the 3 GB of GDDR5 memory, double dissipation cooling, and Ghost Thermal technology. The back and sides touch on the rest of the card’s attributes including Hydrocell technology, Duratec component selection, and 4K display support.
Inside the outer sleeve is a black box typical of XFX's GPU products, with the XFX logo and "Play Hard" slogan on the top flap. Inside is a top panel that holds the accessories. Underneath, the HD 7970 is held in place by a form-fitting carton.
The accessory bundle included with the XFX Black Edition HD 7970 contains both documentation and hardware. The documentation includes the driver disk, a quick install guide, a door tag to let others know not to bother you while fragging, information on the limited warranty, and sales information on XFX's power supply line. The hardware side of the bundle is really kind of slim, consisting of an HDMI to DVI dongle, Crossfire bridge, and a Black Edition badge to put on your case.
The XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation HD 7970 promises improved performance and cooling over the stock cards – let’s dig a little deeper to find out if the card has what it takes to deliver on them.