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AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Review

Rating: 8.0.

AMD have had great success with their latest 7 series of discrete graphics cards. The HD7970 led the performance charts for some time until Nvidia released their flagship single GPU, the GTX680. AMD are attempting to answer the challenge with the HD7970 ‘GHZ’ Edition, earning the moniker from the enhanced default 1ghz+ core clock speed.

The GTX680 is without question one of Nvidia’s finest moments, replacing the excellent GTX580 which was in my own personal gaming system for close to a year. We have already reviewed a handful of GTX680’s, including some fantastic overclocked, modified custom cards from the likes of ASUS and KFA2.

Today we will see how the HD7970 GHZ Edition slots into the market, running tests inside our mainstream system against a plethora of other cards. Later in the review we will test against the reference GTX680 and an overclocked KFA2 GTX680 across three screens inside our ultra high end Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition system.

The new HD7970 GHZ Edition is shipped with a boost frequency set to 1050mhz. PowerTune with boost uses a new algorithm which measures the temperature and power draw levels so it can effectively adjust the core clock speed. According to AMD the latest system also tunes the voltage so it can maintain stability at enhanced speeds.

Product AMD HD7970
AMD HD7950 AMD HD7870 AMD HD7850
Core Clock speed 925mhz
800mhz 1000mhz 860mhz
Transistors 4.31 billion 4.31 billion 2.8 billion 2.8 billion
Stream Processors 2,048 1,792 1,280 1,024
Compute Performance 3.79 TFLOPS 2.87 TFLOPS 2.56 TFLOPS 1.76 TFLOPS
Texture Units 128 112 80 64
Texture Fillrate 118.4 GT/s 89.6 GT/s 80 GT/s 55.0 GT/s
ROPs 32 32 32 32
Pixel Fillrate 29.6 GP/s 25.6 GP/s 32.0 GP/s 27.52 GP/s
Z/Stencil 128 128 128 128
Memory Clock 1,375mhz
1,250mhz 1,200mhz 1,200mhz
Memory Data Rate 5.5 GBps
5.0 Gbps 4.8 Gbps 4.8 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth 264 GB/s (288GB/s) 240 GB/s 153.6 GB/s 153.6 GB/s

We can see when compared to the reference HD7970, that the new GHZ model has received a 125mhz core clock increase. Memory has been increased in speed from 1,375mhz to 1,500mhz, giving a theoretical bandwidth limitation of 288GB/s.

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  • mupitt

    I dont get it… i may be a little dumb here, i dont get it, i bought a 7970 Black edition card which was OC’d to 1Ghz + on the core, and had dual fan cooling when the 7970 was released ages ago now.. so whats different, and what would i be getting extra for my money now?

  • Joseph Mc

    fair review, seems like a good card, and i love AMD hardware, but yeah the reference coolers do not impress. Sapphire should make a great version with heatpipes, two fans etc.

  • brian

    Interesting to see the power concumption has increased. I doubt it will hit £400, probably closer to £430.

    id wait for sapphire or XFX models, with improved coolers, they normally can match the reference card price.

  • Stevie

    Yeah im not sold on this, its going to cost too much for what you get. Nvidia OC 570s are much better value for similar performance.

  • Paradis


    Basically very little apart from a worse cooler and slighty faster memory…

  • William

    its alright. but whats the big deal? bring out a new card with a better cooler or something. clock it higher? not very creative.

  • same-amd

    problem is, amd`s heads are a bunch of cowboys in suits because: for amd to survive, it needs a CEO like nvidia, someone who knows gpu`s or even something about games… i bet Rory has never played a game, so what would he know about coolers, fans, temps and performance? relying on AIB`s or OEM`s will get you bankrupt..wait & see AMD.

    not only is Rory going to kill amd but the whole amd crew is going to, bcoz none of them seem to have any clue.