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Written by David Ramsey   
Sunday, 08 January 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video Card
AMD "Southern Islands" GPU
Closer Look: Radeon HD 7970
FX-797A-TDBC Detailed Features
FX-797A-TDBC Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX11: 3DMark11
DX11: Crysis 2
DX11: Batman: Arkham City
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.5
XFX 7970 DD Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
XFX R7970 DD Overclocking
XFX Radeon 7970 Final Thoughts
Conclusion

XFX 7970 DD Temperatures

Benchmark tests are always nice, so long as you care about comparing one product to another. But when you're an overclocker, gamer, or merely a PC hardware enthusiast who likes to tweak things on occasion, there's no substitute for good information. Benchmark Reviews has a very popular guide written on Overclocking Video Cards, which gives detailed instruction on how to tweak a graphics cards for better performance. Of course, not every video card has overclocking headroom. Some products run so hot that they can't suffer any higher temperatures than they already do. This is why we measure the operating temperature of the video card products we test.

At the start of the test, I measure the idle temperature of the card with the card sitting at the Windows desktop, using the GPU-Z utility. Next, I start FurMark's stress test and let it run until the temperature curve flattens and the temperature has not varied more than 1 degree in the last five minutes.

FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than applications of video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. Furmark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. The temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.

Equipped with a very energy-efficient 28nm GPU and an enhanced vapor chamber cooler, the R7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation returns temperatures a good 20 degrees lower under stress than I've seen from an NVIDIA GTX 580 card...and that's when the card is overclocked beyond its already overclocked specs!

xfx_r7970_black_edition_temps.jpg

At stock specifications, the fan RPM maxed out at 39%; when overclocked, the fans reached 49% of their maximum. Even at 49% fan speed, the noise from the card was not objectionable. At 39% it was audible but quiet. If you're familiar with the Dustbuster-level of sound previous generations of high end graphics cards can generate under load, this will come as a welcome relief.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardZac 2012-01-09 02:00
The Cost analysis is a great addition to your site! Also might note that a 6950 performance is similar to the 570 or better and is sold for about $220-250.
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# Oh cut it outSilicondoc 2012-02-28 00:55
That really bothers me when some far out tale makes it to ever single set of review posts...
The 570 is like 30% faster than the 6950 - the 6950 is not similar "or better".
##techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_6950_1_GB/22.html
--- it can't PhysX - it has AA annd driver issues, it can't DX11 as well
--- it is not EQUAL it is INFERIOR
the 6950 is a nice card if it doesn't crash and plenty respectable for gaming, but it's NOT GTX570.
----
On the other side of wrong, I've been really surprised by the lackluster reaction of amd fans to these two new SI cards. I mean they really do have some awesome performance, but it appears everyone is down on the price more than ever...
If AMD fans don't start paying for their gaming cards instead of constantly whining about price and pinching every 5 dollars there probably won't be any radeon cards in anyone's future soon enough.
--
Further it appears there might be trouble in speedsville - as I've noticed an awful lot of early adopters (wanted/trade/ are of sites) wanting to ditch their 7000 series card for Nvidia 580's... I suspect the drivers just are not doing it for them...
---
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# Because you're not exaggerating the other way?Steve 2012-03-01 09:16
At 1900x1080, by far the most common resolution anyone buying a card like this is going to be using, the 570 is 18% better. Now, unlock that card and overclock it to 6970 speeds. Now the gap is much closer. Within 10%. But that's not all. Increase the resolution another step; now it's just about equal.

Of course, this only would have applied up until about 2-3 months ago. The stock of 6950's has quickly dwindled as retailers are getting ready to stock the replacement; the 7850.

As for you claim of "driver issues", this is simply stale old FUD. Since AMD took over, 'driver issues' are basically equivalent to Nvidia.

As for PhysX, very few games use it anyway, but if you want it simply spend a few bucks on an old 8800GT or a new low-end card. I'd use a separate card for it anyway, even with a 570, as the PhysX in games like Mafia 2 can be very taxing on the card anyway.

You assertion about DX11 is just flat out wrong. AMD cards have had it since the 5XXX series. Which is ironic, because AMD actually had a DX11 card out 6 months before Nvidia did!

As for the claim that an awful lot of early adopters are wanting to ditch their 7000 series cards, I'm just straight up going to call bull# on that. I'm a member of multiple gaming/overclocking forums, and everyone seems to just absolutely love their 7XXX series chips. They're selling so well retailers are having a hard time keeping them in stock!
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# Here, I'll exagarrate like he didSiliconDoc 2012-03-11 09:11
The Cost analysis is a great addition to your site! Also might note that a GTX580 performance is similar to the 7970 or better and is sold for about $120-$80 less !
--
There ya go hows the feel ?
---
PS - You don't have to be a member of any forums to see what posters are saying - anyone can surf and read - so you shot yourself in the head there for being so stupid.
Also, DX11 performance of radeon is under par - that's why all the amd fans whine Crysis 2 is over tesselated to give Nvidia cards a huge advantage...
--
I mean dude, you denying common knowledge is just about as ridiculous as it gets, but let's face it, that's what amd fans do - and they "make mistakes" like the guy I r4eplied to who had the prices oh so wrong, much in favor of amd, lower than available, OF COURSE.
--
Stop the lying and support or defend fairly. That's all I ask.
47% of 5770 card owners report ongoing unsolved driver issues.
The number is only slightly better for the 6000 series.
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# RE: Here, I'll exagarrate like he didSteve 2012-03-11 09:31
"Also might note that a GTX580 performance is similar to the 7970 or better and is sold for about $120-$80 less !"

Seriously? Come on now, you and I both know that the 7970 is miles ahead of the GTX580 performance wise. Hell, it's even beat by the 7950. What you're doing is no better than what you claim the others here are doing.

Keep in mind that first post you quoted wasn't even mine.

"PS - You don't have to be a member of any forums to see what posters are saying - anyone can surf and read - so you shot yourself in the head there for being so stupid."

PS I never said such a thing. And you've got the gall to call *me* stupid!

"Also, DX11 performance of radeon is under par - that's why all the amd fans whine Crysis 2 is over tesselated to give Nvidia cards a huge advantage"

Equivocating 'DX11 performance' with 'tessellation performance' is again, just dishonest. It's common knowledge that the Evergreen and Northern Islands architectures can't do tesselation as efficiently as Fermi.

"but let's face it, that's what amd fans do"

Seems to me that you, the Nvidia fan, are the only one denying and obfuscating common knowledge here. And by the way, I'm not a fan one way or the other. I buy what gives me the best performance for the price I'm looking for. Sometimes it's Nvidia, sometimes it's AMD.

"and they "make mistakes" like the guy I r4eplied to who had the prices oh so wrong, much in favor of amd, lower than available, OF COURSE."

The prices he quoted were, at the time, completely true. With the 6950 and 6970 being replaced by the 7850/7870, production on the 6950 especially slowed almost to a stop. Product shortages means higher prices. Thus, going back 3-4 months you can see 1GB 6950's hovering around $220, and the 2GB models around $250. Heck, I picked up my 2GB model for $229. Look at Newegg now. Only 2 XFX 6950s listed, and not a single one in stock.

"Stop the lying and support or defend fairly. That's all I ask."

I'm kind of curious why you think it's ok for you to ask this but not follow it yourself?

"47% of 5770 card owners report ongoing unsolved driver issues."

Based on what? Where did that number come from?
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# RE: Here, I'll exagarrate like he didOlin Coles 2012-03-11 09:47
Who are you attacking (yet again) in this post? I presume you can read, which means you can see that this was published on the day/minute of launch back in January. Nobody had said two words about the card at that time, because it wasn't public yet. Stop being a troll.
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# RE: RE: Here, I'll exagarrate like he didSiliconDoc 2012-03-11 12:40
Umm.. Steve, the 6950 owner - fine.. I won't be a troll, I'll just claim my 6950 beats my 570. Cool.
Whatever didn't want to waste my time anyway with Steve - another one in my book.
So they do it, I respond in like kind, and I'm the troll.
OK.
Got it.
Fine i'll shut it.
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# RE: RE: RE: Here, I'll exagarrate like he didSiliconDoc 2012-03-11 12:47
From the forums 2nd page i randoimly picked out of over 600 in this case...

" Just sold my 7970's for $350 less than i bought them for.
They both were monsters 1250/1750mhz 24/7 @ 1225mv.
Sensational hardware, extremely impressive cards but in all honesty, their driver support is horrid and spoils the awesomeness.
Just settled for a gtx 260 sli for $100 for now."

reply : " ... I would really like AMD to devote more resources towards their driver development. "

##overclock.net/t/1196856/official-amd-radeon-hd-7950-7970-owners-club

I did NOT LIE - it's all over the place..... almost everyone is having problems.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Here, I'll exagarrate like he didSiliconDoc 2012-03-11 12:51
The bottom and very next page at the link owners forum
" I want to love my 7970 . but the driver issues are killing me. 12.2 whql , random crashes in windows, cant survive a 3dmark loop. 12.3 beta feb 28th , windows dont crash , however bad graphical errors in bf3 and swtor which is the only games i play. I used ATIMAN in between each driver install so i know its not that. The card isnt stable at benchmark loads for more than 15 mins or so. I may have a bad card , but i still have the option to return it for refund."

next: " I've started playing multiplayer BF3 B2K lately, and even at 1100/1500 I am struggling to keep 60fps in intense situations with lots of smoke. I have everything maxed and not using MSAA at all. At stock 925 core I am getting slightly worse performance than the OC 570 (920 core) I had at same settings. I have tried 11.12 WHQL, 12.2/3 WHQL and now using .8960 driverset from Feb 28, all net roughly the same performance.

Is this happening to everyone or just me? "
--
The 570 beats it... LOL
Like I said, I've noticed what's going on.
Nvidia launches are WORLD'S ABOVE the mess amd's are. That goes onward over the life of the cards.
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# That's pretty common for early adaptersMergatroid 2012-03-11 15:38
You act like this is something different. If's pretty common for early adapters to run into driver issues.

I can't speak for the people who bought the cards, but on the forums I hang out on people have not been whining that I've seen. Personally, I have to wonder why anyone would purchase 7970 cards to run BF3 when a pair of 6950 or 6970 cards will max out that game. I wouldn't purchase them unless I was making a new build from scratch, and then I would still look for the best bang for the buck.

Personally, I have a pair of 6970 cards and they're doing an awesome job. Couldn't be happier. I'm going to skip this next generation anyway since I highly doubt there will be any games that will slow my cards down enough to worry about for at least a year or two.

I bought a 6950 because it was simple to make it into a 6970, and with 2 x 6950 in crossfire you get slightly better performance than 2 x 570. (Unfortunately, at the time, I could only find one reference 6950, so I ended up with a 6950 flashed to a 6970 and a 6970 in crossfire).

tomshardware.com/reviews/crossfire-sli-3-way-scaling,2865.html

And that article is not even 2 x 6970 which would preform slightly better.

A agree that fanboys can be pretty lax with their "facts", but I see it on both sides of the issue. Over the last 20 years I have owned both AMD and Nvidia cards, and both performed as well as I needed them to. This entire discussion is pointless, it's like arguing over a high end Lamborghini vs a Porsche.
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# RE: Here, I'll exagarrate like he didParadigm 2012-03-11 13:54
Holy crap, 47%?! Did they call everyone who bought one and ask if they had driver issues?

If they're really so bad shouldn't they like sue the company for a defective product? Like they did to nvidia after they shipped out millions of defective laptop video cards.
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# RE: Because you're not exaggerating the other way?SiliconDoc 2012-03-11 12:36
I gave link, you spun "At 1900x1080, by far the most common resolution anyone buying a card like this is going to be using, the 570 is 18% better." LINK says 22%+, so you're lying.
--
" now it's just about equal." The 570 scales like a monster it's NEVER just about equal... and it's NEVER $220.
"I own one.... Only 2 XFX 6950s listed " AT $255 MINIMUM YOU FAILED TO MENTION - SO MYSTERIOUSLY.
--------
As our reviewers in the know have told us straight from the mouth of the devil - AMD purposefully dried up 6000 series so they would not compete against themselves.... "production on the 6950 especially slowed almost to a stop." - THANKS AMD FOR BEING AN EVIL COMPANY SCALPING END USERS - I'M SURE YOU AGREE SINCE YOU CLAIM TO BE NON BIASED ! THANKS FOR AGREEING !
---
THE GTX570 WAS $200 PLUS 7 SHIP ON NEWEGG LAST WEEK.
---
" As for you claim of "driver issues" - YOU'RE A LIAR
" You assertion about DX11 is .."
Jeezus cripes, you're that silly ?
AMD SUCKS WITH DX11, including your 6950 - a 460 SMOKES IT.
---
" Which is ironic, because AMD actually had a DX11 card out 6 months before Nvidia did!"
Ironic is AMD whining nvidia has no dx11 card for 6 months like you just did, then GETTING SMOKED in every Dx11 bench there is and STILL INCAPABLE on many DX11 tests with the 79xx series though finally improved by COPYING NVIDIA ARCHITECTURE.
--
Ironic is 6 months of bragging, then 2 years of FAILURE in every dx11 competition. That's ironic. Now DX11 is "overused" according to you amd fans... and nvidia is CHEATING TURNING IT UP...
LMAO - THAT'S PURE IRONY 10/10 100%
---
" Seriously?" < you copied my words I'll exaggerate too then you ask me if I was serious - you auto copied them over in the reply title - so when you whine I called you stupid know why... I still say so... you are, sorry, stupid.

" "47% of 5770 card owners report ongoing unsolved driver issues.""
you claimed you're a forum member yet you haven't seen it....WHATEVER.NOT THAT MANY LARGE FORUMS DUDE.
--
You're another amd fan period. You got a 6950 so took it personal - you may be the same guy under another name who cares... YOU'RE AMD INVESTED.
---
GTX570 is FASTER OVERALL ABOVE AND AWAY FROM 6950 THAN 7970 IS FROM 580.
HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAA !!
---
I told the truth - PERIOD
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# RE: RE: Because you're not exaggerating the other way?Olin Coles 2012-03-11 12:40
Do you have some vested interest in the sale of these products? I ask, because it seems you are EXTREMEly passionate about other people's opinion of them. Take it down a notch, and avoid the personal attacks.
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# RE: RE: Because you're not exaggerating the other way?Steve 2012-03-11 13:31
"I gave link, you spun "At 1900x1080, by far the most common resolution anyone buying a card like this is going to be using, the 570 is 18% better." LINK says 22%+, so you're lying."

Perhaps you need to scroll down a little more, or look a little closer? Here, I took a screenshot of the relevant graph to help you out. imgur.com/gb37R You'll clearly see my card, the 6950 2GB, at 101%, and the GTX 570 at 119%. Now, my basic arithmetic skills are a bit rusty, but it seems to me that the difference is, in fact, 18%. Actually, since my card is unlocked and overclocked, the difference is about 6%.

"" now it's just about equal." The 570 scales like a monster it's NEVER just about equal... and it's NEVER $220.
"I own one.... Only 2 XFX 6950s listed " AT $255 MINIMUM YOU FAILED TO MENTION - SO MYSTERIOUSLY."

Scales like a monster? Funny how the 6970 beats it by 1% at 2560x1600. I play at 5700X1080 though, so that moving ahead at very high resolutions is extremely relevant.

>THANKS AMD FOR BEING AN EVIL COMPANY SCALPING END USERS - I'M SURE YOU AGREE SINCE YOU CLAIM TO BE NON BIASED ! THANKS FOR AGREEING !

Huh, speaking of 'spinning things'... You of course know it's the OEMs who make the actual boards end users buy, right? So AMD has no control over whether they decide to ramp down production to start production on the new boards.

"THE GTX570 WAS $200 PLUS 7 SHIP ON NEWEGG LAST WEEK."

Yes, a limited number of refurbished EVGA GTX 570 units were available on Newegg last week. That's very different from what you said. The keys here are 'refurbished' and 'limited'.

"YOU'RE A LIAR"

You asserting it just makes me look like the bigger man and you like a fool.

"AMD SUCKS WITH DX11, including your 6950 - a 460 SMOKES IT."

On what games at what settings and resolutions? Where's the data to back this up? Because from what I can see you're looking like a fool again: ##anandtech.com/bench/Product/313?vs=293
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# RE: RE: Because you're not exaggerating the other way?Steve 2012-03-11 13:44
"Ironic is AMD whining nvidia has no dx11 card for 6 months like you just did"

How is pointing out the irony in you claiming AMD has "no DX11 cards" whining?

"then GETTING SMOKED in every Dx11 bench there is and STILL INCAPABLE on many DX11 tests"

Ooh boy, look out, all those games with crazy tessellation are going to kill my card! Thank goodness that by the time big tessellation games are out I'll have a new card!

" the 79xx series though finally improved by COPYING NVIDIA ARCHITECTURE."

Ah, so which parts of Fermi does Southern Islands copy?

"Now DX11 is "overused" according to you amd fans"

You keep calling me an AMD fan for some reason. I'm not an AMD fan, I'm a value for money fan. When I built my roommate's PC before the Fermi refresh, I picked a GTX 460 because it was the best performing chip for his budget. Isn't that how you build your computers? Or are you one of those people who's so caught up in vapid brand loyalty e-peen contests to look at it objectively?

>you claimed you're a forum member yet you haven't seen it....WHATEVER.NOT THAT MANY LARGE FORUMS DUDE.

You made the (oddly specific) claim that I knew you couldn't back up with any evidence, so I called you out on it. There are two right choices here. You can either fine the evidence to back up your claimed statistic, or you can apologize for making a baseless claim.

"You're another amd fan period."

When the time comes to upgrade my card, I will weigh my options carefully, and pick something that gives me the best performance for my dollar. Last time I wanted the best performing card for about $250. My options were the 560 Ti and the 6950. I found the 6950 2GB on sale for $230, so I bought it, knowing it would outperform the 560 Ti stock in most of the games I play. I knew that I needed the 2GB frame buffer to handle modern high resolution textures on my eyefinity setup. I also knew that with an AMD card I could run all three monitors from a single card, something a 560 Ti wouldn't be able to do. Thus, it was the best option for me at that price point. If I had more money maybe I would have gone for SLI 560 Ti. Who knows. But I got the best card for my situation.
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# RE: RE: Because you're not exaggerating the other way?Steve 2012-03-11 13:46
>GTX570 is FASTER OVERALL ABOVE AND AWAY FROM 6950

Unless you're me, playing on an eyefinity system where the low frame buffer on the GTX570 brings it down to the level of my unlocked and overclocked 6950.

>HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAA !!

...Are you twelve?
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# I calculated thatMergatroid 2012-03-11 15:52
I used a simple ratio to calculate the 18%, and I'll stand by my calculation.

The difference between 18% and 22% is negligible, and can be accounted for by which performance you take to represent 100%.

I usually hate to use labels on people, I really find stereotyping to be rather vulgar, but the label "troll" honestly seems to fit you perfectly.

All your messages are full of accusations and labels such as "stupid" and "liar". I have to wonder if you're a 16 year old who thinks he knows everything (not that I think all 16 year olds are like that, but people with attitudes like yours seem to be about that age).

If you can't have a simple discussion without calling people liars and stupid, than why bother at all?

What do you think is going to happen here? You think the people reading these comments are going to say to themselves "Boy, that guy who got is facts wrong is a (place name here), or do you think they're going to look at the immaturity of the person calling everyone names and say "Wow, that kid really is a (place name here).

Personally I'm surprised it's gone on as long as it has. I would have thought the site would draw a line at name calling. I know I would. If you really want to call people names, why not head to a political discussion site?
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# Oh yeah, cut it out on the price crap too pleaseSilicondoc 2012-02-28 01:00
PS-the CHEAPEST 6950 on newegg is $298 - it's not $220 and it's not $250.
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# You're no betterMergatroid 2012-02-29 20:38
The 6950 is fully directX 11 compliant. From AMDs site: "full support for DirectX® 11 and scalable geometry processing."
Also, learn some math. From the link you supplied the 570 is 18% faster, not 30%. Personally, I would say 18% is similar.

By the way, I don't know where else you get your ideas, but the 6950 in my system is running a 6970 flash and has not "crashed" once. I also have a 6970 in crossfire with it, and it performs exactly the same as the 6970. The unlockable 6950 cards are one of the best values available in a video card.
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# R U Kidding meClaude 2012-01-09 02:38
I believe that you can actually purchase a GTX580 with 3gb mem.
Why r u comparing a 1.5gb 580 to a 3gb 7970?
for one thing the cost would be almost equal, not to mention the performance comparison would be more intuitive.

Thanx
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# RE: R U Kidding meS2Korpio 2012-01-09 02:43
Probably because they don't have the 3GB GTX 580? But really, most of the 580 users probably have the standard 1.5GB version. I think it's better for BR to display the results of the mainstream 580. Anyway, congrats to AMD for this card. It's performance increase is really impressive. If only they've got some surprises during the 2012 CES.
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# no kiddin'ReSeRe 2012-01-09 05:58
At standard HD resolution and one monitor there is no real benefit from those 1,5Gb mem over.
Cause u have to compare flagship with flagship.

Good review.
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# RE: R U Kidding meDavid Ramsey 2012-01-09 08:00
There is indeed a 3GB GTX 580, in fact we've tested one:

#benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=801&Itemid=72

However, (A) another tester has it, not me, and (B) none of these tests would have benefited from the extra memory anyway-- you need a multi-monitor system to make effective use of that much memory.
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# ocgodrilla 2012-01-09 05:12
Vr zone showed I believe Diamond or another vendor is about to also ship 2 factory oc flavors. One that's similar to you oc (lower end) @ 1125mgz core and another one comes in 1375mhz factory oc on air or liquid. I hear these babys can oc really well.

Fyi from a gtx 580 classified owner @ 900mhz I can tell you the difference from 1.5g to 3gig is minimal for the difference they charge!
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# RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardBryytown 2012-01-09 05:58
the cost cant compare anyway because the card is new and or not out where we all can get it... we go threw this every time something new comes out lol. YOU know to get it first you will pay 200 more.... end of story. They price it that way cause SOMEONE WILL...

Why do ppl still troll the same convo every time something new comes out.
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# RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardJackNaylorPE 2012-01-09 06:54
I agree that the cost comparison is a nice addition but it seems a bit skewed in this instance.....I'd like to have seen a more "apples and apples" comparison. Here we have a factory OC'd card, with a significant($50)pric e premium, compared with a series of reference cards, some of which include almost no price premium. The GTX 560 Ti for example can be had in a 900Mhz version (that can be further OC'd as high as 1070) at just $5 more than the cost listed here for the reference model.

The article even makes a reference to the "limited overclockability" of the reference 580 while apparently ignoring the existence of the 580 Classified, I understand that reviews can't have access to unlimited versions of cards but that card was reviewed here.

Finally I might have missed the explanation but in the $ per fps statements when it refers to the 7970 and the 7970 overclocked which two of the three "cards" are we talking about ?

-The R7970 Reference
-The factory overclocked R7970 from XFX
-The factory overclocked R7970 from XFX further OC'd by sliding all the bars to the right
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# RE: RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardDavid Ramsey 2012-01-09 08:06
The GTX 580 Classified is a highly modified (and $120 more expensive) variant of the stock GTX 580, whereas even the reference design Radeon 7970 overclocks very well. Still, since the 7970 wasn't a reference design, I would have been happy to test it against the 580 Classified, but it's in Michigan and I'm in Nevada, so that didn't work out.

Since we only had the one XFX 7970 to test, all 7970 results, stock and overclocked, were from this card.
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# A nice card,........Realneil 2012-01-09 08:05
This is a nice card. I'm gonna be buying two high end cards this year, but I will not do it until the GTX-780's are out and reviewed too.
I saw a picture of a GTX-780 performance slide by NVIDIA not long ago and it promises to be much faster than this card is. I believe that this card is fast enough for me, but it's too new and way too expensive at this point. (unrealistically so)
NVIDIA's new card will tame the prices on these, once it's the new Shark in the pond.
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# RE: A nice card,........David Ramsey 2012-01-09 08:13
I had lunch with an NVIDIA engineer recently, and he said the Keppler team was holding their breath until they say the specs on the Tahiti, after which "they heaved a sigh of relief".

Yeah, yeah...talk is cheap. Current rumors have Keppler coming out in late spring/early summer, but recall the delays associated with Fermi.

If you're going to be running two high end cards, will you be using a multi-monitor setup? I'm considering setting one up if only to be able to test these insanely powerful video cards available now.
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# RE: RE: A nice card,........Realneil 2012-01-09 09:43
Not a multi-monitor setup, but two gaming PC's. One is a i7-2600K and the other is a Phenom-II X4-980 Black. 24" and 27" screens.

I have two of them so that when my Sons and Grandsons are here, we can play the same games together. We have a lot of fun together.

Each one has a GTX-570 in it now, so I can wait as long as it takes for prices to settle and for plenty of reviews to surface.
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# RE: RE: RE: A nice card,........David Ramsey 2012-01-09 10:08
The 7970's a nice card, but since you've already got a GTX 570 in each computer, your best solution would be to simply add another GTX 570 and run SLI. This would give you better performance than a single 7970 for a lot less money.
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# RE: RE: RE: A nice card,........Rob 2012-01-23 23:48
Why not take one of the GTX570s out of one of the machines and put it in SLI with the one in the other, then buy one high-end card for the machine you took it out of?

That will probably give you the best value overall, and allow you to keep those 570s useful!
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# RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardnrT 2012-01-09 08:42
pretty impressed about benchmarkreview. They always do one of the first test available about new technology. They are so fast. Thanks !
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# RE: RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardDavid Ramsey 2012-01-09 09:09
Thanks! We received this card Thursday afternoon of last week; it was a real intense weekend getting all the testing, photography, and writing done in time for the official release today!
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# RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardAdam 2012-01-09 11:17
That power consumption is very impressive considering the performance, bit of a dissapointment that the price is so far away from anything I'd even consider spending on a GPU though, especially as it's not that much faster then a 580. Eagerly awaiting the rest of the series, hopefully the lower end models will offer something slightly more reasonable.
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# RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardRealneil 2012-01-10 07:39
Hopefully, in a perfect world,....the 570's will be in a SLI configuration in the Intel PC, and the 7970's will be Crossfired in the AMD box. I have to do a lot of saving for this. It takes time when on a retirement income.
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# OverachieverBruce 2012-01-10 08:13
You're already in the lead for best Dad and Grandad of the year....no need to embarass the competition!
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# It's for me,.....Realneil 2012-01-10 09:48
I get an enormous kick out of gaming with them. They don't seem to mind it either. I used to go hiking and camping a lot, and the kids were always along, but I ended up in a wheelchair, so most of that's not possible anymore. This way I get to spend some fun time with them when they're here.
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# Another good reviewMergatroid 2012-01-10 21:07
Great review again. I checked out the last 7970 review and this one. This card is still a little too expensive for my taste, although still very capable.

One thing that sort of bothers be about expensive products like this is all the marginal tech they install. For example, the ability to support 4K displays. ATM it's pretty hard to find a monitor at a reasonable price that supports anything over 1080p or 1920 x 1200. I wonder how much of that overly high price for the card is caused by built in tech that will never be used? I have wondered this same thing over the years about various products, including high end video cards. It's almost like a little kid at the ice cream store "biting off more than he can chew". They always build in effects that can bring their new cards to their knees, and add features most people don't need. If we thought this card was taxed by these tests, can we imagine the huge failure trying to run these tests at 4K? What would be the point? Of course, this is a flagship product I guess and they will release budget versions. I just wish the budget versions would cut the excess and not the performance.

Still, it's a good card and a well done review.

I did notice one thing though. In a couple of those pictures, I couldn't help but notice someone got a fingerprint on the card. I know no one likes to use a sweet video card like that when it's been all messed up with greasy fingerprints.

So, I thought I would offer my services to....dispose of...the greasy culprit. Just say the word and I'll email you my address. You can send me the card and I will dispose of it. I'll start by heating it up...real good....
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# I recommend avoiding this varaintChris 2012-01-15 09:31
Based on other reviews, this particular model by XFX appears to run hotter than the reference design but quieter. Plus it has the disadvantage of venting air back into the case. Overall, you're best off buying the reference design. The good news is that these cards have a lot of overclocking potential. Apparently, XFX has gotten a bad reputation for putting out poor quality non-reference designs.

For now, I'd recommend waiting until more non-reference designs, particularly the Asus Direct CU II version and the MSI Twin Froznr III versions come out.
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# RE: I recommend avoiding this varaintDavid Ramsey 2012-01-15 09:39
Since different review sites use different methods to stress the video cards, the results we get in general aren't directly comparable. Most review sites post the highest temperature they recorded during gaming runs, which will be significantly lower than Furmark temperatures...Furmark is a very brutal test.
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# AgreedMergatroid 2012-01-15 19:13
I agree. I always use Furmark when testing my systems cooling capabilities. Furmark and Intel Burn Test. I used to use Prime95 for the CPU until I found out just how much more stress Burn Test is capable of.
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# RE: AgreedRob 2012-01-23 23:55
I find that IBT is capable of boosting temps about 10-15C over Prime95 SmallFFT loads. It's pretty crazy. My usual final stability test for an overclock is to run IBT once, then 12+hours of smallFFT prime95, and then one more run of IBT. If it survives that, then it's pretty much completely stable for me.
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# RE: RE: I recommend avoiding this varaintChris 2012-01-16 21:38
Here is the review site:

##hardware.fr/focus/59/xfx-radeon-hd-7970-overclocking.html

That chip runs hot.

I agree Furmark is a very brutal test. One thing I love about my GPU right now is that it stays relatively cool even under Furmark.
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# RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardChris 2012-01-16 21:40
I should also mention that it is the VRMs not the core GPU that seems to run really hot. The GPU cooling is ok, but the VRM ...
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# RE: RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardJackNaylorPE 2012-03-06 14:07
Good point about the VRM Chris....

I have built a lotta boxes with the factory OC'd 560 Ti's and the number of phases in the VRM design seems to have a direct correlation on how high ya can OC the buggers. I also thought in interesting to read the the 7850 reviews that not a single manufacturer will be selling a "reference" design. My guess is that the series OC ability is significantly impacted by the reference VRM and everybody sees the availability of the extra OC ability as far more advantageous than the saving the extra expense of beefing up the vRM.
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# RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardJackNaylorPE 2012-03-06 14:03
The 6950 = 570 comparison is one I find a bit "off". Especially cause its almost never defined as to which version of the card is being discussed, now the differences in single card vs multi card configurations. Two of the 900Mhz 560 Ti's (862 fps in Guru3D test suite) not only beat two factory overclocked 6950's (759 fps) by 100+ fps but also two 6970's (825 fps).

I don't see the 79xx as something I'd be interested in .... similar to the way I wouldn't consider a 580 (616 fps) for $500 when I can get two of those 560's above for $410 and get 40% more fps.

The 78xx pricing and performance has my interest piqued .... but then again, we haven't seen nVidia's entry in this category. I don't see myself buying top end cards when two mid range cards offer better performance at less money.
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# You have a pointMergatroid 2012-03-06 17:39
I wouldn't say that the 6950=570, but I think they're in the same ballpark depending on which version of the 6950 you get. Any card that is unlockable can be overclocked and have the extra shaders turned on. Even the locked cards have decent headroom for overclocking, but I admit most people are not into overclocking and so the 570 would come out on top for a "stock" card. Still, 18% isn't that much.

Now, if you were to crossfire/sli these cards the story could be different as the 69xx series really scale well and you can expect a 77% performance increase in some games and tests using 4x AA. I have not tested sli but an article I read on Tom's did a scalability test between nVidia and Radeon cards and showed this difference when using two cards. In this case, the 18% difference is pretty much eliminated. Of course, the number of people who use multiple video cards is fairly slim (I use two myself), but I admit if we're talking stock cards with no overclocking the 570 does come out approximately 20% better.
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# RE: RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardSteve 2012-03-11 10:05
>Two of the 900Mhz 560 Ti's (862 fps in Guru3D test suite) not only beat two factory overclocked 6950's (759 fps) by 100+ fps but also two 6970's (825 fps).

You gave the clocks of the 560 Ti's, but not the 6950's or 6970's?

It's common knowledge the newer AMD cards scale better in crossfire than Nvidia cards do in SLI.

I don't trust your number at all. Why? Because they simply contradict any other comparison I've ever seen.

And funnily enough a simple Google allows me to see that you've pulled out this exact same line more than once.

Where's the source on these numbers?

Because the numbers I'm looking at here: ##tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics-charts/Enthusiast-Index,2674.html say they yours are obviously biased towards Nvidia (imagine that, an Nvidia defender having biased numbers!)

What's that? In relative performance using enthusiast settings (1920x1080, high anti-aliasing) crossfire'd 6950 2GBs have a relative performance score of 201.58, while the crossfire'd 560 Ti's have a relative performance score of 177.21? Who would have thought the slower card would score worse! It looks even more grim against those who've got their 6950's unlocked and overclocked, or 6970s, which score 215.81.

But hey, let's go over to the 'gamer' index; perhaps the 560 Ti will fare better with lower resolutions and less AA (1680x1050, less or no AA)! ##tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics-charts/Gamer-Index,2673.html

Alas, no such luck. In fact, it looks like the gap got bigger! The 6950 2GB crossfire now sits at 244.53, while the 560 Ti SLI sits at 213.55.

Funny how that works, eh?
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# NumbersMergatroid 2012-05-02 17:57
I just wanted to make it clear that the numbers I was going by are from this article:

tomshardware.com/reviews/crossfire-sli-3-way-scaling,2865.html
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# RE: XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video CardSun Down 2012-03-11 14:11
Seriously guys, cant you just block SiliconDoc's IP? It doesnt matter if he's a troll or a butthurt Nvidia fanboy or an Nvidia-paid person to shill. It was amusing at first, but you guys need to stop taking the bait. As for the 7950, I find the silver accents quite sexy. I cant wait to see how this stacks up against the EVGA rival.
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# Explanation necessaryBl1zz4rd 2012-05-01 12:40
It'd be nice if someone could explain how PhysX can be enabled when using a 7970 at all. I have one and haven't played Batman: Arkham City (or any other game that supports PhysX) yet, but I've been under the impression, not wrongfully due to my research online, that if one doesn't have an Nvidia card, PhysX can't be enabled.
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# RE: Explanation necessaryDavid Ramsey 2012-05-01 12:46
Your impression is wrong. In the absence of an NVIDIA card, most games will allow you to enable PhysX using the CPU. If you have a fast, multi-core CPU, this is a viable option.
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# RE: RE: Explanation necessaryOlin Coles 2012-05-01 12:49
If you have an AMD card, PhysX can be enabled but it uses the CPU. NVIDIA graphics cards are far more powerful than the CPU for PhysX.
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# RE: RE: RE: Explanation necessarys2korpio 2012-05-01 13:28
Would "powerful" be better replaced with "optimized"?
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# Nvidia cuntsBl1zz4rd 2012-05-02 12:14
I can't seem to find the minimum CPU requirement to use CPU-processed PhysX and still have adequate performance in games, nor can I find out whether it's a matter of 'anything better than this CPU will produce the same performance' or 'CPU PhysX performance will increase, as better CPUs are used, from this CPU onwards'.It seems Nvidia has coded PhysX, not only so that it won't work when an AMD card is present in the PC, but also so that it won't work well on any CPU. The faster ones seem to be able to counter this, allowing for gaming with decent FPS. It's sad that they're doing that, I can see why, but it makes deciding between an AMD and Nvidia card unnecessarily difficult.
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# Display driver stopped respondingJack 2012-05-12 14:25
Hi guys.

Tried these setting as per the OC.
Get about 30sec of gameplay before windows says "display driver stopped responding and has been restored"
Would be awesome if someone could help me out.
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# RE: Display driver stopped respondingDavid Ramsey 2012-05-12 16:42
Use lower settings. Not all cards will overclock the same amount.
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