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Sapphire HD 7970 6GB Toxic Edition Review

Rating: 9.5.

Last week we had some hands on time with the latest AMD GHZ HD7970. At the end of the day it left us feeling distinctly uninspired. There was no doubt the card was fast, but AMD sadly adopted their ill equipped, painfully loud cooling solution with tiny, single red fan.

We hoped that Sapphire would rectify the sorry state of affairs and today we have their latest HD7970 ‘Toxic Edition’ in our labs, featuring a proprietary dual fan cooler, a staggering 6GB of GDDR5 and a ground breaking ‘lethal boost’ overclock core speed of 1,200mhz.

There is no doubt that on paper the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 6GB Toxic Edition ticks all the right boxes. Sapphire have completely ditched the AMD cooling solution and have decided to crank the clock speeds as high as they can. The default setting of the Toxic Edition is 1,050mhz with a dynamic boost to 1,100mhz. At this setting the memory is clocked at 1,500mhz (6Gbps effective).

So far so good, but the best is yet to come. By pressing the new Sapphire ‘Lethal Boost Button’, the core speed increases to 1,100mhz with a dynamic boost of 1,200mhz and the memory speed is also enhanced to 1,600mhz (6.4Gbps effective). This card certainly has set a new overclock benchmark for AMD’s HD7970.

Is this the card to totally dethrone the GTX680? How about the stunning, class leading KFA2 GTX680 LTD OC? Can any single GPU card take on this beast?

All these questions and more will be answered today.

Product AMD HD7970 GHZ Ed
AMD HD7950 AMD HD7870 AMD HD7850
Core Clock speed 1050mhz
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 134.4 GT/s
153.6 GT/s
89.6 GT/s 80 GT/s 55.0 GT/s
ROPs 32 32 32 32
Pixel Fillrate 33.6 GP/s
38.4 GP/s
25.6 GP/s 32.0 GP/s 27.52 GP/s
Z/Stencil 128 128 128 128
Memory Type 3GB GDDR5
Memory Clock 1,500mhz
1,250mhz 1,200mhz 1,200mhz
Memory Data Rate 6 GBps
(6.4 Gbps)
5.0 Gbps 4.8 Gbps 4.8 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth 288 GB/s (307.2GB/s) 240 GB/s 153.6 GB/s 153.6 GB/s

Sapphire have enhanced this card in many key areas, doubling the memory count to 6GB of GDDR5, running at a maximum of 1,600mhz (6.4Gbps effective). This delivers an effective memory bandwidth of 307.2Gb/s. The Tahiti core can boost to a maximum speed of 1,200mhz which should improve the overall performance significantly.

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  • Davis

    wozzers,. off to read now

  • Sven

    thats incredible. only skimmed over it, will read more later. quad crossfire anyone? 🙂

  • Stevie

    Well im not easily impressed but this has hit the spot. When will it be available in stores? might sell my laptop to try and snap one up before they sell out.

    By the way What has happened to XFX this year? they seem to have completely dropped off the radar.

  • WarrenUK

    now thats what I call a video card. I can only dream.

    I only need another 2 screens, a new computer and this card now to make my gaming life complete!

  • Harry

    Will be interesting to see the price if this hits retail in the big UK stores. i reckon it will be closer to £600. 6GB of GDDR5 is costly and some of the lower spec 7970s are already just over £500.

  • Black Mananusi

    What is the recommended power supply for this and a system? 850W? 750W?

  • Optical illusion

    engineered to the limit. Its almost like the Asus Mars and Ares, but half the price 🙂

  • Anusha

    Will Sapphire genuinely make man y of these? seems like an engineering showcase. Still, its friggin impressive to see a company putting so much effort into something so incredible.

    AMD must be pleased to see this. their reference cards are pants.

  • Brian

    I prefer nvidia cards, but I wish to god Sapphire would join the green ranks. I can only imagine what they would come up with.

    Im still waiting on a modified GTX690 with three fan cooler overclocked to the hilt. Not to buy, just to read about.

    I dont see anywhere in the review when it says they will only make a few of them, where is everyone saying they will make this limited edition?

  • Street Fighter

    Thats a good cooler on the card, wonder if they would have had more success going three fan, but 80mm each, spinning them slower but producing more airflow. It also looks like the cooler could handle 120mm fans. so x2 of them would have rocked even more.

  • Shashwat

    I dont know why people r complaining about the price. GTX690 is £1,000. Two of these might only be a little more with much more performance.

    Good job Sapphire @thumbs up

  • Shashwat

    thought id follow up after I had a spare half hour to read this in depth.

    That is one of the best video cards ive seen. Great to see this as everything in the graphics card world has been pretty boring lately.

  • Joseph

    I just messed up my keyboard reading this. time to order a new razer blackwidow.

  • WTF, This what im looking for….

    Awesome GPU….

    hmm, I wonder if the Intel have like this…
    Any review about the Intel’s latest GPU’s?

  • bobmanL11

    This card looks fantastic and I’m glad to see such a powerful offering from AMD. It’s hard to agree that this is a good card for Eyefinity simply because Sapphire neglected to offer three of the same output. Even with adapters we will still have to deal with the notorious single/double tear due to mixed outputs being used with three monitors.

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  • Gracias for inspiring me to go look up my own legwork.

    Yours was way more detailed than mine.