VTX3D HD7970 PCIE2 vs PCIE3 Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

VTX3D HD7970 Review

Introduction

I don't think it would be either a great stretch, nor revealing a particular dark secret, to say that we never really took to the HD6970 here at OC3D. After the absolute magnificence that was the HD4870 and HD5870 AMD really dropped the ball with the HD6970 which was too hot, too loud and just not quick enough to even stay close to the high-end nVidia cards.

So it's with a certain sense of trepidation that we take a look at the HD7970. At least after the HD6970 our expectations are dampened somewhat, so we're hopeful that this will impress us.

VTX3D, the VTX standing for Vertex fact fans, have been around for a couple of years and stick solely to the Radeon line of products. But enough of the preamble, what's new?

Technical Specifications

To say the technical specifications of the HD7970 are lengthy is somewhat of an understatement. 3GB of GDDR5 is only the beginning. The major new feature is the new 28nm Tahiti XT core which comes with a stunning 2048 stream processors and enough bandwidth and polygon shifting abilities to excite even the most jaded user. The GCN (Graphics Card Next) architecture is a complete redesign of the old AMD GPUs, and should lead to a similar increase in performance that we've seen from things such as Sandy Bridge, where the pure numbers don't tell the full story of the available number crunching capabilities.

  • Up to 925MHz Engine Clock
  • 3GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 1375MHz Memory Clock (5.5Gbps GDDR5)
  • 264GB/s memory bandwidth (maximum)
  • 3.79 TFLOPs Single Precision compute power
  • 947 GFLOPs Double Precision compute power
  • GCN Architecture
    • 32 compute units (2048 Stream Processors)
    • 128 Texture Units
    • 128 Z/Stencil ROP Units
    • 32 Color ROP Units
    • Dual Geometry Engines
    • Dual Asynchronous Compute Engines (ACE)
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16 bus interface
  • DirectX® 11-capable graphics

    • 9th generation programmable hardware tessellation units
    • Shader Model 5.0
    • DirectCompute 11
    • Accelerated multi-threading
    • HDR texture compression
    • Order-independent transparency
  • OpenGL 4.2 support
    • Partially Resident Textures (PRT)
      • Ultra-high resolution texture streaming
  • Image quality enhancement technology
    • Up to 24x multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing modes
    • Adaptive anti-aliasing
    • Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA)  
    • 16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
    • 128-bit floating point HDR rendering

  • AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology
    • Up to 6 displays supported with DisplayPort 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport
    • Independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays
    • Display grouping
      • Combine multiple displays to behave like a single large display

  • AMD App Acceleration
    • OpenCL 1.2 Support
    • Microsoft C++ AMP
    • DirectCompute 11
    • Double Precision Floating Point
    • AMD HD Media Accelerator
      • Universal Video Decoder (UVD)
        • H.264
        • VC-1
        • MPEG-2 (SD & HD)
        • MVC (Blu-ray 3D)
        • MPEG-4 Part 2 (DivX/Xvid)
        • Adobe Flash
        • DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support

      • Enhanced Video Quality features
        • Advanced post-processing and scaling
          • Deblocking
          • Denoising
          • Automatic deinterlacing
          • Mosquito noise reduction
          • Edge enhancement
          • 3:2 pulldown detection

        • Advanced video color correction
          • Brighter whites processing (Blue Stretch)
          • Independent video gamma control
          • Flesh tone correction
          • Color vibrance control
          • Dynamic contrast
          • Dynamic video range control

  • AMD HD3D technology
    • Stereoscopic 3D display/glasses support
    • Blu-ray 3D support
    • Stereoscopic 3D gaming
  • AMD CrossFire™ multi-GPU technology
    • Dual, triple or quad-GPU scaling

  • Cutting-edge integrated display support
    • DisplayPort 1.2
      • Max resolution: 4096x2160 per display
      • Multi-Stream Transport
      • 21.6 Gbps bandwidth
      • High bit-rate audio
      • Quad HD/4k video support
    • 3GHz HDMI 1.4a with Stereoscopic 3D Frame Packing Format, Deep Color, xvYCC wide gamut support, and high bit-rate audio
      • Max resolution: 4096x3112
      • 1080p60 Stereoscopic 3D
      • Quad HD/4k video support
    • Dual-link DVI with HDCP Max resolution: 2560x1600
    • VGA Max resolution: 2048x1536
  • Integrated HD audio controller
    • Output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI with no additional cables required
    • Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio formats
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Most Recent Comments

08-01-2012, 23:57:10

tinytomlogan


Today we start our mammoth look at the HD7970 with the VTX3D version, and a change of testing methodology.

Continue Reading

09-01-2012, 01:27:56

cerbrus2
only have to wait 12 hours till i get my mitts on one

09-01-2012, 03:14:29

Solidarity
It's good to see it doesn't matter too much.

09-01-2012, 03:31:26

dugdiamond
nice

09-01-2012, 08:01:13

Rastalovich
Good read.

Very hit and miss as to the newer kit helping in any way. Some yes, some no. But I'd still be banking that the x79 pcie3.0 lane usage isn't being capitalised on by the mobo for anything other than storage, at this point - so Intel boast. Which isn't fair atm as the 7970 is pcie3.0 boasting on AMD's website.

Artificial benchmarking-wize, for the higher numbers you want for your submission, you'd stick with the "older" i7... which is bizarre. Verging on madness imo. Although I do recognize that there are bios upd8s for mobos, particularly Gigabyte I seen the other day, that are allowing higher oc etc. To that extent it's still a work in progress I guess.

Still bizarre to me. Newer cpu, newer mobo, quad memory - I'd expect more. Seems the realization is that the z77 (or whatever they'll be released as) will be the pci3.0 'real utilizers'. We will have to see.

On another note, I'd be interested in knowing if Mafia 2 and Metro 2033 were benched with PhysX used on the cards. I know it's classed as "unfair" to do so, by those who can't use it gpu-wize, but if you're looking at a set of results of which to base your purchase of a game to play either of them, and your 440+, you'd want to be sure you can enable everything and expect the same results. Especially when comparing with the older 580 @ 360+ Today.

Judging from the euphoric nature of the responses to 7970 reviews, I thought it cleared the 580 by more than it did in many graphs here. It certainly does an outstanding job of raising the minimum fps across the board, even in those it didn't get a better average fps in. A good die shrink, which I'm pretty sure is the best you can hope for from nVidia for a fair time to come.

Memory usage is something people don't closely look at. I can remember benching one rig with.. GTA X (not sure if 2/3 or whatever) and the graphics levels were not permitted to be raised any further, quality wize, cos the preferences showed that the graphics memory wouldn't take it. And this wasn't a cheap card, so memory can be important. It would be nice to see more games show such a memory usage bar in their preferences.

It's good to have a choice from both card manufacturers to chose from now, although I didn't think the 6970 was "that-bad" as people reported.

09-01-2012, 09:08:03

yassarikhan786
Really awesome card.

09-01-2012, 11:41:51

dipzy
Im supprised, they turned out to be awesome. I wonder what ASUS have up their sleeves, an Ares II?

10-01-2012, 19:43:18

MaXiMiZe
Good card, however I think they focused too much on beating the 500 series, rather than thinking ahead and making sure they remain competitive with nvidia's forthcoming 28nm offerings.

10-01-2012, 21:38:54

unknownuser200
edit

21-01-2012, 13:02:40

MutleyUK
Good to see ATI/AMD come up trumps Gives the Green team something to think about and lets face it without competition prices would soar. A bit pricy for me at the moment and i will stick with my 2x 6950's in crossfire . A great report as usual from the impartial main man "TT". PS Im not a AMD Fanboy have had Nvidea cards to.

21-01-2012, 13:18:31

MaXiMiZe
Quote:
Originally Posted by MutleyUK View Post

Good to see ATI/AMD come up trumps Gives the Green team something to think about and lets face it without competition prices would soar. A bit pricy for me at the moment and i will stick with my 2x 6950's in crossfire . A great report as usual from the impartial main man "TT". PS Im not a AMD Fanboy have had Nvidea cards to.
Xfire 6950's are awesome. Tried bios unlocking them ?
Reply
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