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XFX HD 7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation 3 GB Review



Testing of the XFX Black Edition Radeon HD 7970 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 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 and the 290.53 drivers for NVIDIA-based cards.


Comparison Video Cards:



  • XFX HD 7970 Black Edition 3 GB Core 1177 MHz Memory 1652 MHz

In my previous testing, the Sapphire card easily maxed out the core and memory clock speeds in the Catalyst Control Center, but I was unable to test it with the latest beta software that allows increasing the clock speeds above those limits. However, with the XFX Black Edition HD 7970, I was able to use the latest Beta Afterburner utility to hit clock speeds higher than the limits imposed by AMD in the BIOS and CCC. Keep in mind, the base clock speeds of 1000 MHz on the core and 1425 MHz on the memory are already sizable increases over the default clock speeds. However, XFX has added their Double Dissipation cooling to increase the overclocking potential of their Black Edition HD 7970. As a result, the card responded well to voltage tweaking and a further boost in the clock speeds to 1177 MHz on the Tahiti core and 1652 MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Clock speeds above 1.2 GHz on the core were possible in some games, but not the entire test suite – Dirt 3 just would not show love for a core speed that high. The fan speeds were set to 100% for the overclocked testing and the card stayed at almost the same temperature as the stock results, showing that it can handle a voltage increase without adverse effects. Noise from the fan was audible at 100% fan speed – not as loud as the stock solution, but loud enough to hear outside the case. The only downside to the Double Dissipation cooling solution is that it dumps the thermal load back into the case. With a high airflow case, however, this is less of a concern than with a chassis that has poor airflow.



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: 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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