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Thursday, 22 December 2011 10:20

AMD unleashes Radeon HD 7970

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Fastest single GPU card on the planet


AMD’s first Southern Islands card is finally here. The Radeon HD 7970 was officially announced today and the new 28nm GPU is said to deliver world beating performance.

There’s not much point in talking about the specs, since we’ve been talking about Southern Islands cards for months, but here’s a brief recap of AMD’s flagship just in case you missed anything. The card features 2,048 shaders, 3GB of GDDR5 memory on a 384-bit bus, 6- and 8-pin power connectors and a bunch of video outputs, including two micro DisplayPort connectors, DVI, HDMI and Eyefinity support. The memory is clocked at 1375MGz, so bandwidth stands at an impressive 264GB/s. The new Tahiti GPU consists of 4.3 billion tiny 28nm transistors and it runs at 925MHz.

So how does it stack up against the previous generation, and perhaps more importantly, against Nvidia’s high end cards? Well, according to early reviews it easily beats previous single-GPU cards from both camps, but it still lags behind the dual-headed HD 6990 and GTX 590 in most tests.

Of course, one of the more interesting aspects of the new architecture is power efficiency, as it will give us a rough idea of what to expect from future 28nm cards. Anand ran a few comprehensive tests and the figures seem pretty good. Idle power consumption has been vastly improved and it is second to none, the same goes for idle temperature. Under load the HD 7970 also performs admirably so it is safe to assume that 28nm cards will have a lot of overclocking potential.

We will have more on the HD 7970 launch/review bonanza later in the day, so stay tuned. So far so good, kudos AMD.

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