AMD Radeon HD 7950 Tahiti Pro DirectX 11 GPU Review

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With AMD touting the overclockability of the Radeon HD 7950, we were curious to see how much frequency headroom the card had left in the tank, with a 4+ billion transistor, ultra-complex 28nm GPU under the hood. So, for our next set of performance metrics, we spent some time overclocking the new Radeon HD 7950 using the Overdrive utility built into ATI's Catalyst drivers. 

AMD Radeon HD 7950 Overclocking
Cranking Things Up A Notch

For these tests, we simply cranked PowerTune up to the +20 mark and increased the GPU and memory frequencies until we saw visual artifacts or our test system exhibited instability. Turns out, the Radeon HD 7950 had no trouble whatsoever running at a GPU clock of 1.05GHz with 1275MHz memory. Although, in all honestly, we’re pretty sure there was some more headroom left in the memory, but due to time constraints we ran with these numbers.

With the Radeon HD 7950’s GPU overclocked to over 1GHz, it put up numbers somewhat better than the Radeon HD 7970 in the JC2 benchmark and just missed the mark set by the higher-end card in AvP. All told, performance increased by a respectable 15% - 17.6% with some simple tweaks. With more extensive cooling and tweaking, we’re confident even higher frequencies will be possible with the Radeon HD 7950.

While testing, we also spent some time monitoring noise and temperatures under various workloads and found the Radeon HD 7950 to be quieter than the 7970, but not quite as quiet as NVIDIA’s offerings. The Radeon HD 7950’s quieter operation is due to the card’s much lower stock frequency. Shave 125MHz off the top and disable a few functional blocks in the GPU and it’s no wonder the 7950 is somewhat more subdued acoustically, versus its higher-end counterpart. Temperatures were also pretty good. The Radeon HD 7950 idled at 43’C and peaked at 74’C. Although these numbers aren’t that far off from other high-end GPUs, what we did notice about the 7950 was that it was much cooler to the touch after prolonged use. The Radeon HD 6970, for example, was almost untouchable after a couple of hours in the test bed. The Radeon HD 7950, however, was warm (obviously) but was easy to handle.
 

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It's a nice card for the money when compared to other solutions.

I agree that it (and the 7970) is priced too high out of the gate, but that's most likely gonna change when NVIDIA drops the hammer soon. I wonder where the price will eventually settle?

I think that it has enough power to use all alone and do well with most games. Crossfire isn't really necessary unless you have caviar tastes and the checkbook to back it up.Smile

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I expect the higher binned OC models with custom cooling to do even better.

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Very nice review. Im sure once more hit the market the price will come down. For now im going to stick with my 6950. It gets the job done nicely.

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Wow not as impressive as I thought. I think AMD is going to be in trouble when Kepler is released.

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Ummm Trouble? with Kepler? please. They are making changes after seeing the 7970 performance, they have time to improve kepler but when kepler is released Amd will have a secret weapon waiting for it, Nvidia will  stay in 2nd place again .

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I don't know why you guys called it pricey when the EVGA GeForce GTX 580 3072 MB GDDR5 actual price is $549.99 -- http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-Mini-HDMI-Lifetime-Warranty-03G-P3-1584-AR/dp/B004YJVUBG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327990559&sr=8-2

O_o nice review though i don't see it pricey you get what you pay for.

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That's the crux of my dilemna when writing these conclusions. Technically, pricing is in line with competing offerings, so it's not like we can ding AMD too badly. But when the equivalent counterpart from a previous generation was almost $200 cheaper, something just doesn’t sit right. It seems the trend of technology getting cheaper over time stalled significantly between the previous generation and now.

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Marco C:
It seems the trend of technology getting cheaper over time stalled significantly between the previous generation and now.

Amen, Brother!

It's going on with almost everything. Motherboards, CPU's, Video Cards, Hard Drives,........

System RAM and SSD's seem to be the only things that are bucking this trend.

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Battlefield 3 please.

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Both the 7970 and 7950 looks like excellent cards from AMD to me. It really is too bad that the pricing is not in line with the more typical wallet friendly AMD offerings. One thing that AMD obviously got right is the power consumption I find the fact that their cards are competitive with Nvidia offerings with considerably less power useage to be awesome. Less power usage in turn means less heat :P

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