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Tuesday, 24 April 2012 12:28

PowerColor PCS+ HD7970 Vortex II tested - A closer look at HD7970 Vortex II

Written by Sanjin Rados

hd7970-vortex-II--thumbrecommended08 75

Review: GPU at 1100MHz with great cooling and low noise levels

Vortex II comes with four heatpipes. Coolers usually come with thinner, 6mm heatpipes but PowerColor opted on thicker 8mm pipes that provide superior performance. Vortex II has two fans.

In its normal state, Vortex II takes up two slots. The fans, which normally lean on the heatsink, can be lifted in order to get better airflow and thus better cooling. In Vortex mode, the card takes up three slots. The card is 27.5 cm long, just like HD 6970.


IMG 6051

The copper heatpipes differ in length, which also makes sure that heat is evenly distributed throughout the entire block.

PCS Vortex II normal

You’ll need to adjust the fans separately but couple of handles and a light push will do the trick. The fans on PSC+ HD 7970 Vortex II can be moved even when the card is running, but make sure that it’s screwed tight to the back panel.

PCS Vortex II lifted fans

You can even incline the fans slightly so that airflow is aimed at either end of the card. We actually didn’t see any benefits of doing so but it is said that it helps in reducing of turbulence and ensuring effective spreading of heat from hot areas. In this mode, fans absorb cooler air from the bottom of a case, balancing ambient temperatures.

PCS Vortex II lifted fans 2


Also, you can twist and push up fans after they’re rotated to remove them, in case you want to clean the heatsink.


Match the “dot” (pictured below) with its recess to reconnect the fan back to its base.

IMG 6056aa

According to tests done by PowerColor, perforation in the fan blades should reduce the back pressure from its high speed spinning, resulting in increased air flow and improved efficiency.


Vortex II’s cooler is equipped with two fans but they share the same 4-pin power connector. However, this is not as important because the driver will take care of setting the same RPM for both fans. Fan speed regulation can be performed via Catalyst Overdrive or any other tool you may prefer.
vortex II fan

The memory chips are exposed and do not have a passive cooling solution on top of them.

IMG 6018

Backplate doesn’t actually touch the card and is a few mm away, but should prevent hot air pockets from forming around the PCB’s hotspots. 

IMG 6015

IMG 6044

PCS+ HD7970 Vortex II card is equipped with 3072MB GDDR5 memory. The GDDR5 memory chips are made by Hynix (model number H5GQ2H24MFR-R0C). 

IMG 6048

IMG 6026

Software GPU voltage control is possible due to use of CHiL's 8228G voltage regulator which supports voltage monitoring via the I2C communications protocol and comes with extensive monitoring and tweaking features.

Vortex II cooler’s base, as well as nickel-plated heatpipes are made of copper.

IMG 6057

IMG 6062

The I/O panel features two mini-DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, one standard HDMI 1.4a and two dual-link DVI connectors. The video outs come with protective plastic covers. 

Vortex II video outs 1

By using DisplayPort outputs it’s possible to chain up to six monitors to a single card. You can run four monitors directly from this card by using two mini-DisplayPort connectors, the HDMI connector, and one of the DVI connectors. As far as sound goes, HDMI 1.4a provides Dolby True HD, DTS-HD, AC-3, DTS and up to 7.1 channel audio with 192KHz/24bit output. 

Vortex Ii video outs 2

PCS+ HD 7970 Vortex II is powered via two 8-pin connectors, unlike the reference design which uses one 6-pin and one 8-pin connector.


HD 7970 comes with two CrossFire connectors. This means that you can use four cards in 4-way CrossFire.

(Page 3 of 13)
Last modified on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 17:01
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