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XFX & Sapphire HD 7950 3GB Review

ccokeman    -   January 30, 2012
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Testing:

Testing of the XFX Black Edition Radeon HD 7950 and Sapphire HD 7950 will consist of running them 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 driver. The 290.53 drivers for NVIDIA-based cards are used for the testing.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

  • XFX HD 7950 Black Edition 3 GB Core 1156MHz Memory 1623MHz
  • Sapphire HD 7950 OC 3GB Core 1150MHz Memory 1614MHz

When it came to overclocking the HD 7950, the two cards delivered almost identical results. The current needed to reach a given clock speed seemed to be almost identical between both the Sapphire and XFX card, showing that overclocking is going to be similar across the board. Expectations aside, the results showed even scaling between the two HD 7950s was excellent. To reach the maximum overclocks on both cards, I had to bump the core voltage up as well as the fan speeds to stay completely stable. 1256mv was used to reach the 1150MHz to 1156MHz on the core speed for both cards and just over 1610MHz on the memory for both cards. At these speeds, the performance in games improved not by just one or two FPS, but by enough to make the games infinitely more playable. The core increase on the XFX and Sapphire cards was just at or over 250MHz, or easily plus 20%. The memory clocks scaled as well, with the two cards dumping another 20+% worth of scaling. These increases delivered measurable gains across the board in the gaming tests. The fans and cooling systems used on the Black Edition Double Dissipation from XFX and the OC model from Sapphire both feature a dual-fan, custom cooling solution. The fan noise is lower than the reference cards, but is still audible on the XFX Double Dissipation and less so on the Sapphire HD 7950 when spooled up to 100%. Any way you slice it, the second round of AMD's 28nm video cards featuring the Tahiti core and GCN architecture are overclocking beasts.

 

 

 

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 fails 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: Sapphire HD 7950
  3. Closer Look: XFX HD 7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation 3GB
  4. Specifications & Features: XFX
  5. Specifications & Features: Sapphire
  6. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  7. Testing: Metro 2033
  8. Testing: Batman: Arkham City
  9. Testing: Battlefield 3
  10. Testing: Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.5
  11. Testing: Dirt 3
  12. Testing: Mafia II
  13. Testing: 3Dmark 11
  14. Testing: Eyefinity & Surround
  15. Testing: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion
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