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Sapphire HD7970 Overclock Edition (Dual-X) Review

‘Buy this card or ill kick your ass!’ says the well endowed 3D rendered army lass on the front of the box. Sapphire know how to appeal to the hormonally challenged male audience, that’s for sure.

Sapphire include a substantial bundle with this high end card, much as we would expect. There is a Crossfire cable, software disc and several video and power converters to cover all situations.

The Sapphire HD7970 Overclock Edition (Dual-X) is a really stunning looking card built on a black PCB. There are two large black fans encased in a glossy black shroud. The substantial copper heatpipes protrude from the sides of the card and are visible from all angles.

Along the top of the card we have two Crossfire connectors, for 2, 3 and 4 way configurations. Next to this is the dual bios switch.

Above, the two bios settings exposed.

Bios 1 is the default setting which offers a more relaxed fan profile and core clock of 950mhz (25mhz increase), memory is overclocked to 1,425 mhz.

Bios 2 is the more aggressive setting with a faster fan profile and the core clock increased to 1,000mhz (75 mhz), memory is overclocked to 1,450 mhz.

The card features 2,048 stream processors, is fully PCI E Gen3 compliant (up to 32 gb/s of data bandwidth) and incorporates new AMD Powertune and ZeroCore power technology. There are dual geometry engines, eight render back ends, 32 color ROPs per clock and 128 Z/stencil ROPs per clock.

The card requires an 8 pin and a 6 pin power connector to operate properly.

The card is a dual slot design with a full sized DVI and HDMI port, and two mini Display Port connectors. It is Eyefinity capable and can power up to 6 displays. The HD7970 is the first GPU that can simultaneously output multiple, independent audio streams from the HDMI and mini Displayport connectors at the rear of the card. This is also the first GPU to support 3GHz HDMI with frame packing support for Stereo 3D.

The cooler is held in place with four main screws in the middle of the PCB. Sapphire have included dedicated heatsinks on all the memory, unlike any other HD7970 we have reviewed to date. They are also using more substantial heatsinks on the VRM’s. We would hope that this will help the card yield substantial headroom when we get around to manually overclocking later in the review. Bonus points earned for this attention to detail.

Count them. Thats five copper heatpipes running into two separate racks of aluminum fins on either side of the core. The surface of the copper heatsink is very smooth. This is one of the most impressive cooler designs we have seen from Sapphire, to date.

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