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Sapphire HD 7970 6GB Toxic Edition Review



Testing of the Sapphire Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition 6GB will consist of running it 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 a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide 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 11 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 performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 301.42 drivers with AMD cards using the Catalyst 12.4 drivers and latest CAP profile.


Testing Setup:


Comparison Video Cards:




  • Sapphire Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition 6GB Core 1235MHz, Memory 1735MHz

Sapphire has given the end user a few different options to get the highest level of performance out of the Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition 6GB. Using traditional means with an overclocking utility like Sapphire's own TriXX where manual manipulation of the clock speeds voltages, fan speeds and current overage can all be tweaked to get the absolute highest stable clock speeds. The other option on this card is the Lethal Boost button that loads an overclocked profile once the Lethal Boost button is pushed and the computer restarted to apply the settings. First off let me say that this card delivered the highest clock speeds I have been able to reach on an air cooled HD 7970. Only the water cooled Powercolor HD 7970 LCS comes close. Manually tweaking the card resulted in clock speeds of 1235MHz on the 28nm core and 1735MHz on the 6GB of GDDR5 memory using 1174mv. Pretty stout to say the least on an air cooled card. Using a VDDR higher than 1180mv resulted in serious artifacts rather than the desired result of higher clock speeds. The results were the same when loading the card at both 1920x1080 and 5760x1080. The Toxic HD 7970 is rated at 1050MHz with a dynamic boost to 1100MHz although I never saw less than 1100MHz in my testing. The manual tweaked results equate to increases of just over 12% on the core and just over 15% on the 6GB of GDDR5 memory.

Sure manually tweaking can be rewarding but what about just pushing a button for big clock speeds. At times I'll take the easy button. By using the Lethal Boost button approach the Toxic HD 7970 6GB loads a profile that increases the clock speeds from already high 1100/1500MHz to 1200MHz on the core and 1600MHz on the memory. 1200MHz on the core is a pretty solid result that proves to be fully stable in my testing. That easy button really works delivering significant performance gains over the factory overclocked HD 7970. The cooling used on the Toxic HD 7970 plays a part in delivering these results with temperatures on the core at only 65 °C under load with the fan at 90%. Moving to 100% did not add any overclocking margin so the fan speeds were reduce to cut some of the fan noise. All in all the Toxic HD 7970 GHz Edition delivered a positive experience when it came to overclocking as expected.



Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consists of looping Unigine 3.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds fail 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. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 3.0
  5. Sid Meier's Civilization V
  6. DiRT 3
  7. Mafia II
  8. 3DMark 11


  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

  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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