VTX3D HD7970 PCIE2 vs PCIE3 Review


VTX3D HD7970 Review


We've waiting a whole generation to see a Radeon card that is worthy of purchase. The HD6 series, in single GPU trim, never got anywhere close to the nVidia counterparts. Thankfully with the HD7970 all is back to how it should be.

As we've got a few different takes upon the card the VTX3D was reviewed solely at stock speeds, but even with the "out of the box" setup the card rocked our socks pretty comprehensively more often than not.

The reduction down from 40nm to 28nm has certainly helped with the heat and noise problem that plagued the HD6970 and whilst the cooler isn't as quiet as the one on a GTX580, it's a great improvement upon the HD6970 cooler. The card has to get pretty warm before the fan spins up, but when it does it keeps everything around the 75°C mark.

However it's the raw performance that is the most impressive part. Not only does the VTX3D HD7970 keep up with a GTX580, which surely is the single-GPU to aim for, but it surpasses it pretty handily in some tests. Indeed now and again the HD7970 was the fastest card we'd tested, full stop. Easily capable of keeping up with some of the dual-GPU solutions we've seen.

It's not even related to PhysX. Although Batman and Battlefield were fairly average, Crysis 2 was outstanding and the 3D Mark scores didn't suffer.

Finally if you are looking to go for a full new system then, as we saw throughout testing, a X79 based rig will outperform an X58 one quite handily. So although we're waving goodbye to our stalwart i7-950 we're pleased that it got to see AMD return to the fray with a new GPU that truly gives the paying public a choice again before it was pensioned off. Its also nice to know that as long as your motherboard is PCIE3 GPU compatible ie: as long as the GPU will actually work in the board NOT actually have PCIE3 bandwidth) then you will be absolutely fine. As during all our tests the only bonus was the CPU difference and nothing to do with any PCI Express bandwidth. This may answer why AMD does not seem to have any PCIE3 plans for any of its chip sets over the next 12 months.

No longer is the nVidia option the default one for anyone but rabid fanboys, now you can buy a Radeon again and know that you have the single-GPU card of choice. At around £400 it's GTX580 money, but with better than GTX580 performance. Hats off to AMD. Gold worthy.


Thanks to VTX3D for providing the HD7970 for review. Discuss in our forums.

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Most Recent Comments

09-01-2012, 06:27:56

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

09-01-2012, 08:14:29

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

09-01-2012, 08:31:26


09-01-2012, 13:01:13

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.Quote

09-01-2012, 14:08:03

Really awesome card.Quote

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