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AMD HD7970 Graphics Card Review

We have changed our method of measuring noise levels. We have built a system inside a Lian Li chassis with no case fans and have used a fanless cooler on our CPU. We are using a heatpipe based passive power supply and an Intel SSD to keep noise levels to a minimum. The motherboard is also passively cooled. This gives us a build with completely passive cooling and it means we can measure noise of just the graphics card inside the system when we run looped 3dMark tests. Ambient noise in the room is around 20-25dBa. We measure from a distance of around 1 meter from the closed chassis and 4 foot from the ground to mirror a real world situation.

Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on only the video card. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.

KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum

The reference card is quiet when idle, however when heavily loaded with a game it becomes clearly audible, although never that intrusive. When loaded with Furmark, the fan peaks at around 53%, peaking just over 37 dBa.

When compared to the previous AMD reference cooling designs this is a step forward, although it is still not good enough to cause a concern for AMD’s partners with third party custom heatpipe/dual fan cooling solutions.

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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.