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AMD HD7970 Graphics Card Review

To test today we are using two main systems. The first is our long standing Core i7 970 system, which is overclocked to 4.6ghz today. We have a variety of hardware benchmarked on this system within the last couple of weeks which will make for an interesting market comparison. Not many people will yet have a system with a PCIe 3.0 slot either.

The second system is based around the latest Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition processor which we have overclocked to 4.6ghz paired up with the PCIe 3.0 capable Asus Rampage IV Extreme motherboard. This is the fastest system we have to test the latest graphics hardware.

System 1:
Processor
: Core i7 970 @ 4.6ghz
Graphics: AMD HD7970
Cooling: Coolit Vantage
Motherboard: MSI X58A-GD65
Chassis: Thermaltake Level 10 GT
Power Supply: Corsair AX1200
Memory: 6GB ADATA @ 2133mhz 9-10-9-32
Storage: Kingston SSDNow V+ 512GB Gen 2 SSD (Storage) / Crucial RealSSD C300 256GB (OS boot)

Comparison Cards:
HD6990 (880 core)
HD6970
HD6950
HD6870
HD6790
HD6770
HD6670
GTX590
GTX580
GTX570

System 2:
Processor: Intel i7 3960X EE @ 4.6ghz
Graphics: AMD HD7970
Motherboard: Asus Rampage IV Extreme
Cooler: Antec H20 920
Memory: G.Skill 16GB @ 2400mhz 10-12-10-28
Power Supply: Enermax Platimax 1200W
Optical Drive: Asus BluRay Drive
Chassis: Lian Li PC-A77FR Aluminium Red Full Tower Case
Boot Drive: Patriot WildFire 120GB
Secondary Drive: 1TB Samsung

Monitors: Dell U3011 / LaCie 730

Software:
Windows 7 Enterprise 64 bit
Catalyst 11.11/11.12 press driver
ForceWare 285.62 WHQL
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
3DMark Vantage
3DMark 11
Fraps Professional
Steam Client
FurMark

Games:
HomeFront
Alien V Predator
Dead Island
Tom Clancy HAWX 2
Resident Evil 5
Lost Planet 2
Far Cry 2
F1 2011
Deus Ex: Human Revolution

All the latest BIOS updates and drivers are used during testing. We perform generally under real world conditions, meaning KitGuru tests games across five closely matched runs and then average out the results to get an accurate median figure. If we use scripted benchmarks, they are mentioned on the relevant page.

Some game descriptions are edited from Wikipedia.

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  • ChrisJ

    Finally! I’ve been looking forward to AMD giving nvidia a bloody nose!

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  • Roger

    wow thats a hell of a fast piece of hardware. nice job from AMD

  • David

    Well after bulldozer they needed to do something, this is it.

    but its not a direct replacement for 6970, its a completely new price category, more than GTX580. 6970 was much cheaper.

  • Eran B

    hey, I wonder how nvidia will respond to this, thats an insanely powerful card. Only concern for me is the price. Ive seen the 6990 on sale for £499.

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  • Frank

    Very nice, but im more interested in the 7950, and the pricing. this is just too expensive IMO.

  • Brian Ha

    Good performance, and nice to see them improving the cooler a little. the HD6990 cooler is insanely loud. I am surprised that it doesn’t cost around £399 inc vat as AMD have always been competitive on pricing. t his seems over the odds IMO.

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  • mbryans

    AMD Radeon HD 7970 a little disappointing. I hope the HD 7970 uses ultra-fast memory such as Rambus XDR2 and able to achieve perfect HQV score of 120. The use of PCI Express 3.0 by the HD 7970 also does not provide significant improvement.