|XFX R7970 Black Edition Radeon Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 09 January 2012|
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XFX Radeon 7970 DD Final Thoughts
I've tested and owned a number of video cards in the last few years; my main system currently runs a pair of NVIDIA GTX 580 cards. The performance they provide is amazing, but so is the power draw and the noise under load (although they're certainly quieter than their GTX 480 forebears). Even when my system's idling, the GTX 580's are pulling enough power that their heat sinks are quite hot to the touch.
The Radeon 7970 is the first member of AMD's new "Souther Islands" GPU family, and it's the top of the enthusiast-oriented "Tahiti" line (the lower-end "Pitcairn" and "Cape Verde" GPUs will make their appearance in the months ahead). These GPUs represent a number of "firsts" for the industry:
...so AMD has a lot to be proud of. There's even more stuff, like support for 4k ultra high resolution displays via the DisplayPort connectors, but it will probably be a while before you can buy one of those.
Starting with this excellent base, XFX has produced a line of four Radeon 7970 video cards. The card I tested, the R7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation, is their top of the line, and it shows in everything from the presentation and appearance of the card to its price (about $50 more than reference model Radeon 7970 video cards).
While the performance of the card was amazing, reports are that most reference cards can hit the same overclocked speeds I reached with this card, so it's reasonable to wonder what you're paying that extra money for. Frankly, there's no way to tell until the third party overclocking tools catch up with these new GPUs and we see if XFX's hand-binned "1%" GPUs and fancy power and cooling solutions have any real-world utility. Basically, you're betting $50 that they will...or you can tell yourself that the card simply looks $50 more cool and interesting than the plain black-box reference design, which is an argument I'd certainly be sympathetic to.