Welcome Stranger to OCC!Login | Register

XFX & Sapphire HD 7950 3GB Review



I have to say that AMD and its partners truly have delivered a product that is the perfect follow-up to the fastest single GPU on the market with the HD 7950. Both the Sapphire and XFX factory overclocked cards delivered excellent performance that was even better than the last generation's top single GPU card, the HD 6970, in all cases. That alone is a reason to look at the HD 7950 as a possible upgrade path. Between $470 and $499, this level of performance still comes with a price tag that will most likely stick until NVIDIA's next gen parts start rolling out the door, allowing AMD and its partners to sell as many as they can produce for premium pricing. Gaming performance followed just behind the levels delivered by the HD 7970 and easily outperformed the best last-generation parts from AMD as well as NVIDIA's top single GPU card, the GTX 580. All of this was with a non-release driver so in the near future we can hope for a full release driver to really show what the architecture is capable of. Eyefinity gaming was more of the same with the HD 7950 from XFX and Sapphire as they both delivered frame rates over 30FPS, which is commonly quoted as being playable in games.

Each game though has a level of performance that really is playable. BF3 and Dirt 3 were easily playable using High settings on BF3 and Ultra settings on Dirt 3 at 5760 x 1080 in an Eyefinity configuration. The performance delivered by the Sapphire and XFX cards, while impressive, only improves with overclocking. Both of these card just scaled like it was going out of style. 1200MHz on the core was a reality when the resolution was kept at a maximum of 1920 x 1080 but dropped closer to 1150MHz to gain stability in Eyefinity resolutions that really put a higher load on the GPU. Memory clock speeds were above 1600MHz(6400QDR) on both the XFX Black Edition and Sapphire OC Edition cards, increasing the memory bandwidth for additional performance across the board in all of the games tested. These card really offer a sweet spot for performance. When overclocking, temperatures are increased due to the increased clock speed and the additional voltage needs of the GPU. XFX and Sapphire have offered these custom cooled cards to deliver exceptional cooling performance that they do deliver, at stock speeds. AMD Zero Core technology allowed the XFX HD 7950 Black Edition to drop down to a system low of 91 watts when AMD's Zero core power technology was active. Sapphire did not reach that level but still only consumed 105w when in an idle state. The power load readings at stock speeds show the HD 7950s from XFX and Sapphire deliver significantly lower power consumption than the Northern Island's parts from AMD's partners and NVIDIA's current top single GPU SKU's, the GTX 580 and GTX 570. Overvolting the HD 7950 does drive power consumption up exponentially, but even so, the power penalty is still lower than the GTX 580 when the clocks and voltage are cranked up. When you look at the noise generated by by the reference cards from AMD, that alone is the single largest deficiency in the product lineup. Both the XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation and Sapphire HD 7950 Overclock Edition cards come with non-reference cooling to alleviate that concern and deliver cooling performance with better acoustics on all counts. Based on the improvement over a reference card delivered by the XFX Black Edition HD 7970 of 10+ degrees Celsius over the reference card at stock speeds means the HD 7950 from XFX and Sapphire are going to deliver those kinds of results and then some. I did find in my testing that the five heat pipe design from Sapphire was more efficient across the board in both acoustic and thermal performance than the XFX solution. Not to say that they don't both work but one has to be better than the other and in this case the massive heat pipes were more efficient than the Vapor Chamber. Sapphires solution, however, only uses a plate for the memory instead of a complete integrated assembly leading most likely to the lower clock speed on the memory in the overclocked testing.

With all of that being said, the HD 7950 offers tremendous performance potential if you chose to overclock it. At stock speeds it offers predictable performance that is well ahead of previous generation parts and in just about every game ahead of NVIDIA's current high end parts. As an upgrade, the current pricing puts it in line with the GTX 580 which it of course beats hands down. Add in Eyefinity capabilities with a single card and the HD 7950 is a card that is a perfect upgrade path for those looking for top end performance but have a hard time shelling out $600 for the top line product. Even just less than $500 the HD 7950 is not a value proposition. Performance at stock and overclocked speeds make the XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation and Sapphire Overclocked Edition HD 7950 video card as potent upgrades to enjoy the latest games. Good looks, Custom cooling and PCB, Awesome performance, and more are good enough reasons to move to the HD 7900 series from Sapphire or XFX.



  • Great overclocking
  • High performance
  • Eyefinity gaming
  • New architecture
  • Zero Core power
  • Noise improvement
  • Cooling Performance
  • Power Consumption



  • Pricing


OCC Gold

  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
Related Products
Random Pic
© 2001-2018 Overclockers Club ® Privacy Policy
Elapsed: 0.1875360012   (xlweb1)