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XFX R7970 Double Dissipation Graphics Card Review

Our initial feelings for AMD’s HD7970 haven’t changed since our launch day article was published on the 22nd of December last year. It is easily the fastest single GPU graphics solution on the market, claiming the title from Nvidia’s GTX580.

We were expecting to have to wait at least a couple of months before analysing a HD7970 with modified cooling solution so we were shocked to receive this XFX solution for review on partner launch day.

The XFX R7970 Double Dissipation is an unadulterated success and is actually one of the most accomplished video cards I have seen in the ten years I have been reviewing products. There is no doubt that the reference HD7970 is a powerful discrete solution, but as we mentioned on launch day it isn’t without fault. Firstly, while AMD have spent time enhancing their reference cooling solution, it is still acutely audible under load. Secondly, the temperatures of the reference card would peak around 90c when placed under synthetic load.

The latest XFX ‘DD’ cooler has removed both of these problems from the equation, ensuring significant temperature improvements while eliminating most of the fan noise. Realistically, we all expect a certain amount of noise when gaming with a high end video card, but the XFX R7970 DD is one of the quietest AMD solutions we can remember testing in the last year. This is made all the more impressive as the R7970 is also one of the fastest on the market.

While we don’t often get excited about the appearance of a discrete card, the XFX R7970 DD is without question the ‘supermodel’ of graphics cards. If Kate Beckinsale was a graphics card, this is what she would look like.

It is our job to find fault with a product, but the only problem we could mention is that we can’t comprehend why XFX aren’t selling this card in a pre-overclocked state. While the overclocking capabilities will vary from card to card, there is no question that XFX could easily have released this model with the core running at 1GHZ, while still leaving plenty of tolerance safety headroom.

Sure, an enthusiast with software experience can manually overclock the card in the same way we did, or program the secondary bios position with a set of ‘overclocked’ parameters, however it seems remiss of XFX to overlook the opportunity, especially for promotional reasons. Perhaps they will sell a more expensive ‘Black Edition’ of this product at a later date, although we would be hard pressed to imagine it will be any better than the one we have reviewed today.

According to XFX, this card should be priced around £480 inc vat when it is released in the United Kingdom, which would indicate a £30 price premium over the reference design. I have no doubt it is worth the small premium, especially if noise, overclocking headroom and cooling efficiency are prerequisites.

Pros:

  • Without question, one of the finest video cards ever released.
  • Cooler than the reference solution.
  • Quieter than the reference solution.
  • massive overclocking headroom.
  • XFX have a good reputation for warranty and support.

Cons:

  • XFX should have supplied it in an overclocked state.

Kitguru says: If you want a new HD7970, then it really doesn’t get any better than this.

Rating: 9.0.

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