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XFX HD 7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation 3 GB Review

ccokeman    -   January 26, 2012
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Conclusion:

Having just looked at a reference card for the hard launch of the HD 7970, it's interesting to see a non-reference cooling solution on a card with boosted clock speeds so soon – in fact, ready to go at launch. With its higher clock speeds and better cooling, the card was able to be pushed that much further when overclocked. I was able to push the core clock to 1177 MHz and the GDDR5 memory clock to 1652 MHz. Both are pretty substantial bumps over the reference clocks and the CCC clock speed limits. Using the latest Beta Afterburner software and bumping up core voltage, as well as the Power Tune voltage, the card just felt like it needed more voltage to go faster. Even so, the higher base clock speeds on the XFX HD 7970 Black Edition equates to an increase in the already stellar performance of the HD 7970 – everything else on top of that is just gravy. This HD 7970 Black Edition, featuring "Double Dissipation" cooling, from XFX is a step forward, as it uses XFX's X Factor technology and GPU Edging process to make sure that this Black Edition card can deliver better-than-stock gaming performance. Just what are all of these X factors? They are a series of technologies and features that drive reliability and performance –things like XFX's Duratec Professional Grade components, including a 2oz copper layer in the PCB for lower impedance, higher power efficiency, and better cooling. Solid Capacitors and Ferrite core chokes also deliver a longer lifespan and 25% reduction in power losses. IP5X fans block the majority of dust that flows into the fan bearings, for a bump in longevity of up to 10,000 hours. Improved fan profiles and XFX's own mounting bracket also improve airflow through the card by up to 20%. HydroCell vapor chamber-based cooling is used to improve cooling efficiency. Alongside the Double Dissipation dual fan cooling solution, this HD 7970 offers lower operating temperatures and reduced acoustics.

All of AMD and XFX's technologies, coupled with the higher base clock speeds, add up to a card that outperforms the reference card in each gaming test and helps validate the $50 premium over reference cards. Cooling performance at the default clock speeds was significantly improved in both the idle and load testing by as much as 11°C over the reference cooling solution. When overclocked, the Double Dissipation fans and Ghost Cooling cover do the work they were designed to do, cooling both the GPU core and PCB. However, venting the thermal load into the chassis can have adverse effects on the rest of the components in the chassis without adequate airflow through the chassis – a problem not unique to XFX, but with all designs of this type. Gaming performance, as one might expect, was excellent from the start at both popular resolutions, as well as in Eyefinity mode. At a resolution of 5760 x 1080, the XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation HD 7970 delivered FPS numbers of 30 FPS or higher in every "Game" tested – impressive for a single GPU card. Pricing for this level of performance on the XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation HD 7970 comes at $50 higher than the reference pricing of $549. For that price, you get excellent performance, excellent cooling, better acoustics, and the ability to crank up the settings. XFX has a great looking card that lives up to the reputation of the Black Edition.

 

Pros:

  • Fastest single GPU card out
  • Great overclocking
  • High performance
  • Eyefinity gaming
  • New architecture
  • Zero Core power
  • Noise improvement
  • X-Factors

 

Cons:

  • Pricing
  • Heat dumped into the case


 

Editors' Choice



  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: HAWX 2
  9. Testing: Unigine 2.5
  10. Testing: Dirt 3
  11. Testing: Mafia II
  12. Testing: 3DMark 11
  13. Testing: Eyefinity & Surround
  14. Testing: Temperatures
  15. Testing: Power Consumption
  16. Conclusion:
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