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Sapphire HD 7970 6GB Toxic Edition Review

Price: $680


Almost a month ago the HD 7970GHz edition cards were introduced, bringing along all the enhancements inherent with a maturation of the manufacturing process. Most notable was higher clock speeds hence the GHz Edition moniker. The Sapphire HD 7970 6GB Toxic Edition is built upon this improved process silicon. Not content to deliver a card based on the reference design, Sapphire has thrown away the book and put together its own design using a custom 12 layer PCB, double sided Black Diamond chokes and DirectFET technology; all part of its Lethal Power Suite. Cooling is via an all new Vapor-X implementation designed for this card to manage the thermals while keeping noise in check with new 90mm fans.

The stock GHz Edition cards from AMD have 1000MHz clock speed with a boost clock of 1050MHz, with the memory a constant 1500MHz. Compared to the standard HD 7970 clocks of 925MHz on the core and 1375MHz on the memory there is a significant boost in clock speed and ergo, performance. Sapphire has upped the ante with clock speeds of 1050MHz with a boost clock of 1100MHz or 50MHz higher than the standard GHz Edition. Memory speeds are constant at 1500MHz. How does it get better than that? Sapphire has added the Lethal Boost button to bump the clock speeds even higher to 1150MHz with a boost clock of 1200MHz and 1600MHz on the memory using AMD's Power Tune feature. Pricing will of course be higher than a reference version at around $680 but you get a full custom design that should offer improved stability and cooling long term. Let's see what the Sapphire HD 7970 Toxic Edition has to offer.

Closer Look:

Image has always been something that Sapphire uses to effect. With the latest offering in the Toxic line up we have a futuristic rendition of Ruby based soley on the unmistakable female figure. Highlights on the front panel include the fact that this is a GHz Edition card in Sapphire's line up. The list of features include the Lethal Power Suite, Lethal Boost button and Vapor-X cooling solution, a massive 6GB of GDDR5 memory and support for CrossfireX, Eyefinity, and the 28nm GCN architecture. The back side delves into the details of the feature set including AMD HD3D, AMD APP acceleration and more.













Inside the outer sleeve is a plain box that holds the HD 7970 6GB Toxic Edition. It is split into two levels with the top level holding the card in a formed cardboard shell while the lower level holds the accessory bundle in a separate box. Pretty much standard packaging from Sapphire. If it works why change.



The bundle included with the Sapphire HD 7970 6GB Toxic Edition contains all the parts necessary to get the card installed in just about any configuration with an HDMI cable, DVI to VGA adapter, Mini-DP to DP adapter, two dual 4-pin to 6-pin PCIe power adapters, Mini-DP to DVI active adapter, quick start guide, Lethal Boost button instructions and a registration guide with a link to Sapphire's free TriXX overclocking utility.


Packaging and accessories do not begin to tell the entire story of the Toxic Edition HD 7970 so let's take a look a little deeper into what Sapphire has done with this improved offering in its HD 7900 series product stack.

  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 3.0
  9. Testing: Sid Meier's Civilization V
  10. Testing: DiRT 3
  11. Testing: Mafia II
  12. Testing: 3DMark 11
  13. Testing: Temperatures
  14. Testing: Power Consumption
  15. Conclusion
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