AMD Radeon HD 7970 Video Card Review @ [H]

Discussion in 'AMD Flavor' started by Brent_Justice, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. Brent_Justice

    Brent_Justice [H] Video Card Managing Editor Staff Member

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    AMD Radeon HD 7970 Video Card Review @ [H] - The new Radeon HD 7970 marks the launch of AMD's next generation video cards. The Radeon HD 7970 represents the fastest single-GPU video card from AMD with a new architecture. We will evaluate gameplay performance and compare it to the previous generation, as well as the competition, in single-display and Eyefinity resolutions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  2. Devilpup

    Devilpup 2[H]4U

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    Looks pretty stout, thanks for the review.

    Also, first!
     
  3. PRIME1

    PRIME1 2[H]4U

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    Looked to be overall less that 20% faster than a 580 in some cases damn near even. I'm waiting for Kepler this is not what I would expect for a "next generation" card.
     
  4. refraxion

    refraxion [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Pretty good IMO. Though not enough for me to jump ship so soon.
     
  5. sparky1_2007

    sparky1_2007 2[H]4U

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    Love it! but not for $550 unfortunately, i just cant justify that with how much i play video games lately :|

    ill hold off till price drops on 6970/7950's though! that's for sure :)

    great review though! it'll definately be interesting to see what nvidia comes up with.
     
  6. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Not quite the boost that I expected over the 580, not bad however, probably some driver work to be done. Much better power draw as expected. But yeah, no reason to jump ship right now, not for three cards, I think I will get one for the backup rig however and replace the GTX 480, it'll make the room cooler.
     
  7. Terpfen

    Terpfen [H]ardness Supreme

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    So, it's roughly the same price as a GTX 580 while being somewhat faster and more power efficient, and is a significant improvement over its predecessor. Sounds like a fairly standard iterative product to me. And AMD can get away with the $550 price tag as Kepler is nowhere in evidence, thus AMD is offering a better product at roughly equivalent price as Nvidia's current flagship.

    The real problem here, IMO, is that a $550 GPU is overkill in an era when games are limited by 7 year old console hardware. Yes, I know, Eyefinity is nice, but are most PC gamers really running an Eyefinity rig? I'd imagine most PC gamers are on a single monitor at 1080p, in which case a mid-market GPU is plenty, to say nothing of the overkill these flagship cards provide.

    Can't wait to see what AMD does in the mid range and how Nvidia responds with Kepler. Really can't wait for a new generation of consoles so the lowest common denominator improves.
     
  8. Poisoner

    Poisoner Gawd

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    It maybe $550 but its cheaper than 3gb GTX 580s are.
     
  9. grilledcheese

    grilledcheese [H]ard|Gawd

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    20% at 550.00 bit underwhelming. if 580 goes below 400.00 ill buy it instead.
     
  10. PersonalJ

    PersonalJ [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think I'll wait for a price drop.
     
  11. AceCR42

    AceCR42 2[H]4U

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    In certain PC-exclusive games that [H] didn't test, such as Witcher 2 and Shogun 2, the 7970 is significantly faster than the 580 (nearly 40% in Witcher 2) in 1920x1080 and 2560x1600. I guess the value of this new gen right now depends on the games you play.
     
  12. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Yeah, the performance is great and the best in a single card but yeah, the 580 is over a year old, pretty incremental in terms of performance but the power efficiency is great.
     
  13. refraxion

    refraxion [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Yeah.. I'll wait and see what Kepler brings to the table.. but to be honest, I'll probably wait until the next gen after Kepler lol.
     
  14. shansoft

    shansoft [H]ardness Supreme

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    based on some other reviews, the overclocking headroom is smoking......
     
  15. LstOfTheBrunnenG

    LstOfTheBrunnenG [H]ardness Supreme

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    This looks like it might be a good upgrade from my GTX 480. Will destroy it in performance while sucking down a lot less wattage. With Kepler delayed, this is looking really attractive to me.

    Brent, any chance I could get you to take Saints Row 3 for a spin with this card? That game is killing my 480 at 2560. I'm guessing the AMD logo I see when starting up the game means it will perform much better with this card.

    I'll just miss the nV exclusive effects in games like Just Cause 2 and the Batman games...
     
  16. Brent_Justice

    Brent_Justice [H] Video Card Managing Editor Staff Member

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    For you number guys, I wasn't going to post this in the review, but I did this just for fun, so what the hay, if this if valuable to you, here you go:

    Unigine Heaven - Default Settings - AVG FPS
    Galaxy GTX 580 - 31.9 FPS
    HD 7970 - 38.9 FPS
    HD 6970 - 25.2 FPS

    Unigine Heaven - Extreme Tessellation Setting - AVG FPS
    Galaxy GTX 580 - 27.6 FPS
    HD 7970 - 32.3 FPS
    HD 6970 - 19.1 FPS

    In my actual gameplay evaluation, the games that seemed to benefit most, also used the most Tessellation. Tessellation seems to be much improved, so I'm thinking if new games come out in 2012 that utilize more Tessellation, it should definitely separate itself farther from the GTX 580, for the positive. Metro Last Light will be fun to test.
     
  17. addictedto60fps

    addictedto60fps [H]ard|Gawd

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    It's a nice step up over a 6970 but not a huge step over gtx 580. At $550, will pass and see what Nvidia brings to the table. Hopefully, Kepler isn't far behind. I do like that 7970 runs cooler, as the 6970 runs a little bit too hot for my tastes.
     
  18. Calwen

    Calwen [H]Lite

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    Nice job Brent. I hope your knee feels better.

    Question: Were you guys able to test the overclocking capacities of your card through CCC? I noticed on some other reviews they were getting some crazy overclocks (VR-Zone in particular), so I was curious how your unit performed. I'm trying to get a feel for the average headroom on these cards.
     
  19. Fantasyalive

    Fantasyalive Limp Gawd

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    Surpised to see no OC'ing =*( Other sights i saw them get over 1100 on the gpu and 1500 on the memory at stock volts. Which led to a fairly large increase in performance.
     
  20. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Thanks for the review. Appreciate it. Several guys had 7970 cards over on usenet over the last few weeks and they ran all sorts of benchmarks. I kinda knew ahead of time that the performance was a small gain over the 6970 and GTX 580. Still a good upgrade if you meet / agree with some of the criteria that HardOCP pointed out depending on what card(s) you currently own.

    One thing is for sure, $550 is a lot of damn money. $1,100 dollars for two of these cards is even more damn money. I am sure even if stocks are low, people will still be able to get themselves a card due to the crazy price on these things. And no doubt, Nvidia is smiling because they can now ask slightly less and still walk away, I'm guessing not only with the performance crown but a nice profit as well on their new upcoming cards. Time will tell.

    Thanks for the review again.
     
  21. WorldExclusive

    WorldExclusive [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Great improvement over the 6970 I can say myself, but the price kills it even though performance commands it.
    At $450, these would have reigned supreme. Looks like AMD has bought me more time to wait until the GTX 780 is released. Hopefully AMD's price comes down a bit, unless Nvidia decides to price their cards at $600.
     
  22. cannondale06

    cannondale06 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    at 549 bucks, I am not really impressed that its only 20% faster than a gtx580.
     
  23. qbanb8582

    qbanb8582 2[H]4U

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    Any Crossfire tests coming in the future?
     
  24. Brent_Justice

    Brent_Justice [H] Video Card Managing Editor Staff Member

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    When I get another 7970, sure.
     
  25. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    $500 GPUs have always been overkill and not for most people. PC gaming isn't about what most people do, it's about what it possible in what your budget will allow, that's the beauty of it, it just scales. Eyefinity and Surround are more than just great, they are game changing, pun intended. It's just not interesting to game on a single screen, even a big screen TV, it's just so, blah.

    So no these cards aren't for everyone, that's unfortunate but there's just a lot of visual beauty to be hard with cards like the 7970 that plenty enough will pay for.
     
  26. Stoly

    Stoly [H]ardness Supreme

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    So where's the rambus ram?

    Too expensive IMO. although its priced on par with 3gb GTX580 and its faster too.
     
  27. fattypants

    fattypants 2[H]4U

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    This is how I feel too. I'll snap it up in a second at $450 or less. Otherwise, I'll hold off.

    It's a big improvement over my 5870 for sure.



    Greater performance for the same price? I don't really see a problem.
     
  28. kevdog

    kevdog [H]ard|Gawd

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    nice work on the review
     
  29. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Kind of figure there aren't that many, indeed I do wonder if AMD will be able to make enough of these to meet demand. I'm trying to decide if I want to be an early adopter or wait. I'll probably wait as it will go into a backup machine, though I'm thinking of two and and creating an Eyefinity rig. Too much stuff to spend money on!
     
  30. AceCR42

    AceCR42 2[H]4U

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    Yeah I don't get why people are saying it's too expensive.

    It's faster than an overclocked 580 3GB and costs exactly the same.

    Did you really expect it to be cheaper?
     
  31. darren700

    darren700 Limp Gawd

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    This... I agree 100%, After going to Eyefinity, I can not and will not go back too one screen lol.
    I just wish i didnt need crossfire to max out BF3, even now with dual 6970's i have to keep AA off, AF2X, Motion Blur, and Ambient Oclution Off to get 40-70 (Rest Ultra)

    I would buy two of these, but the extra $500 over what i would get for selling my 6970's cant be justified for those small benefits listed above... why cant i be rich!
     
  32. DualOwn

    DualOwn [H]ard|Gawd

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    last night people were laughing when someone said it will only be 30% faster than a gtx580 and claimed it will be 60% faster.

    so the reviews come out today and its only 20% faster and everyone is saying not bad, impressive, im getting it due to lower power draw.

    give me a freaking break, this is worse than the bulldozer because its damn expensive at the same time.
     
  33. RobertR1

    RobertR1 n00b

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    What resolution did you use for this? I'd like to run my own test for comparison. My GTX580 is oc'd and my 2600k is at 4.6ghz so I'd like to see how much of a different my OC makes vs your card.

    Also, as for the poor BF3 performance, anandtech had this to say:

    "The big question of course is why are we only seeing such a limited lead from the 7970 here? BF3 implements a wide array of technologies so it’s hard to say for sure, but there is one thing we know they implement in the engine that only NVIDIA can use: Driver Command Lists, the same “secret sauce” that boosted NVIDIA’s Civilization V performance by so much last year. So it may be that NVIDIA’s DCL support is helping their performance here in BF3, much like it was in Civ V.

    But in any case, this is probably the only benchmark that’s really under delivered for the 7970. 5% is still a performance improvement (and we’ll take it any day of the week), but this silences any reasonable hope of being able to use 1920 at Ultra settings with MSAA on a single-GPU card for the time being."

    Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for the hardwork during the holiday period.
     
  34. addictedto60fps

    addictedto60fps [H]ard|Gawd

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    Relative to the 580, yes, price is fair. But for most people, I believe the vast majority would say both are way overpriced.
     
  35. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Unless you're into 3D. That's one thing that's got me tied to nVidia, I know it's not popular around here but I use 3D more than ever and AMD is a good bit behind in support, it's just not something they are really investing in which I understand as it's pretty niche but still, it's just an option I don't like giving up.
     
  36. DualOwn

    DualOwn [H]ard|Gawd

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    this is exacly what im talking about, lol.

    comparing 1 year old gpu with the one that isnt even out yet, lol.

    i find 7970 to be a bigger fail than bulldozer, because its $550.
     
  37. Brent_Justice

    Brent_Justice [H] Video Card Managing Editor Staff Member

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    Default settings, i didn't touch resolution, I am using a 30" display, so whatever it sets the resolution to by default, if its native, then it would be 2560x1600.
     
  38. runudownquick

    runudownquick Gawd

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    Not going to lie, I really want to upgrade my 5870 but PhysX has been in several of my most often played games lately and I do personally appreciate the difference it provides. That difference combined with a few issues with CCC will get me to wait until Nvidia's next round or a dirt cheap 580.
    Great review gents & here's to not getting gouged in CDN $ ! :eek:
     
  39. DarkStryke

    DarkStryke [H]ard|Gawd

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    Keeping my dual 6970's till we see what Kepler brings. Been nut-punched enough the last few months with new game releases, not going to dive head first into a $500 ~ 600 upgrade at this point.
     
  40. SonDa5

    SonDa5 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Great review. Helped control the fire I had for this card. Very nice card but price is about $100 more than I was ready to pay for it. Fire is under control and look forward to seeing what other 28NM gpu flavors come next.