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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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  • Adrian

    Wow…Wow…Wow!!! I can’t wait for Ivybridge chips to start rolling in so I can start thinking about one of these or any of the possible new custom coolers/pcb designs coming out. For now the 6970 will do me just fine.

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  • Ethan

    They did supply it in an overclocked state. Its called the Black Double D 7970. I bought one just now lol. Its over clocked at 1 Ghz out of the box.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150586

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  • Colin

    seems they have two models, one with an updated bios. good move !

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  • Peter Saunders

    XFX have two versions of this card available soon. this is the non black edition which kitguru reviewed, at reference clocks. FX-797A-TDFC

    The black edition seems only available in America this week, and its 1ghz clocks – its FX-797A-TDBC. They seem identical cards, so the non black edition is better value as price is lower. Black Editions are meant to be hand picked but I think either Kitguru got a great card, or they are all the same batch as 1,200mhz is pretty much as good as it gets when ocd’

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  • Kenny

    Great looking card, love the cooler !

  • Desmond

    I am getting one of these when they are availabile.

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  • Gary Odonnell

    Very sexy ! nice job from XFX on this card. out of my price range, but pisses on all the rest today.

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  • NOTBIASED

    omg, this card is out of this world, am waiting for the next batch as the ones i wanted are all sold out, am going XFX this time round… good job xfx & amd/ati

  • mbryans

    HD 7970 consumes only 250 watts just like HD 6970, so the temperature and noise from R7970 XFX DD is still considered average, not interesting. Components used by XFX look cheap.

    I’m waiting, who is able to make HD 7970 has load temperature below 60 and noise below 30 dBA. Is Asus or MSI Twin Frozr DirectCU?

  • Im curious mbryans. what ‘components’ look cheap?

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  • mbryans

    What I mean with look cheap is the blue-pink colored capacitors on the PCB, as painted by hand. As a semi-custom graphics card, the XFX card is is more like a reference card with custom cooler added. XFX should use a special color or logo on the capacitors and other components. Looks cheap does not mean really cheap, but rather to it felt.

  • mbryans

    I think there is something wrong from HQV 2.0 table. After the “Resolution Enhancement”, followed by “Theme Park”, “Driftwood”, “Beach at Dusk” (not “Ferris Wheel”), and “White and Black Cats” (this is not in table). End with “Skin Tones”.

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  • Blackops_2

    I was under the impression voltage was locked on these cards?

  • poep

    There is no voltage lock if you use Sapphire Trix 4.4.0 B.
    Otherwise ur limited.

    And afterburner is gh3y software these days which limits almost everything!! even the maximum clocks you can set i hope they die those mofos who make afterburner, F***ING HATE THOSE F*GGOTS!!

    DIE!

  • Sean

    the card may be crazy powerful, but longevity is a joke. I have been a long time xfx fan but after my recent experience I’ll NEVER buy another xfx product. 4 months ago I purchased their 7970 ghz edition card and about 30 days ago it fried, and by fried I mean computer won’t “post” with card installed. Their warranty policy is horrible and it will likely take you a month to get your replacement. I actually read their warranty policy which states they do not actually have to replace the card you send them with the same brand ie. AMD or Nvidia. On top of that they do not offer an advanced replacement option, I even offered to let them hold the full retail value from my bank account to make sure they got their defective card back…. “nope I do not have the ability to do that” I actually paid not only for shipping to them but put a return shipping label in the box so I didn’t have to wait for their 5 to 7 day gound shipping on the return. About 2 weeks ago I received my replacement 7970 ghz and all was good, until last night when the exact same failure took place and again after only 2 weeks I have a brand new dead XFX 7970 ghz edition video card. God I wish I would have done some research instead of just buying from the brand I had used in the past. Think I’ll look into ASUS’s ROG series, they actually offered an advanced exchange when my crosshair v died.