AMD Mulls Releasing a Faster Clocked Radeon HD 7970 Graphics Card

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News Posted: Sat, Jan 14 2012 1:51 PM
Goose and Maverick aren't the only ones with a need, a need for speed (that's a Top Gun reference for you young guns out there, not a shout out to EA's Need for Speed series). Apparently AMD isn't content to simply own the fastest single-GPU graphics card on the planet, but it's also flirting with the idea of launching an overclocked version of its Radeon HD 7970 part.

According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, the Sunnyvale chip maker knows its GPU can dance the line at around 1,200MHz, so why not roll out an official version? That's the question AMD is currently mulling.

"Several things indicate that the company is working a faster version and second wave of overclocking products," Fudzilla said, adding "but it has not been decided when and at what speed and brand they come out."

Perhaps it would carry the moniker Radeon HD 7970 OC, or AMD could bump up the model number to 7980. Regardless of what AMD decides, you can bet AMD's add-in board (AIB) partners will offer factory overclocked versions of their own, with or without a new model number in tow.

In case you need a refresher, reference specs for a stock 7970 include a 925MHz engine clockspeed and 3GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1,375MHz on a wide 384-bit bus. You can read our official review of the Radeon HD 7970 here.
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Schmich replied on Sat, Jan 14 2012 5:08 PM

I must say I was never impressed at the performance of this. They have an improved architecture and from 40nm to 28nm, yet they only got about 35% more speed. It's acceptable but nothing to brag about. I guess they can brag at coming out so early with the card but nVidia will step all over AMD when it comes out with its cards.

I mean the 7970 is only 5% faster than the GTX580...5%...nVidia will get many times that just by switching to 28nm. Hopefully this OC will just be that, a 7970OC and AMD has a 7980 up their sleeves so they can compete once the GTX680 (or whatever it's going to be called) comes out.

Yes I know the 7990 exists but CrossfireX doesn't scale enough. Especially not if you want twice that power. Then you rather have 2xGTX680s than 2x7990. Also the CPU power that will go to waste for quad-CrossfireX must be insane.

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Marco C replied on Sat, Jan 14 2012 5:56 PM

7970 was between 20 and 60% faster than the 6970 right out of the gate and I'd bet the farm that there will be significant performance improvements coming as AMD wrings more performance out of their new architecture over the next few months.

You're also off on your comparison to the 580. The 7970 was 16 - 31% faster than a reference 590 and 8.5 to 25% faster than a factory overclocked 3GB GTX 580.

Switching to 28nm in and of itself will not get "many times that" as you say, either.

CrossFire has also shown better scaling than SLI with 6000 series cards. And with 7900 series cards, there is a CrossFire bug that's being worked on now.

Regardless, lots of flaws in your numbers.

With that said, I think NVIDIA will likely be able to retake the single-GPU performance crown when they launch their next-gen parts. Even if they're only able to outrun the 580 by 50%, that'll be enough to overtake the 7970 as we know it today.

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realneil replied on Sat, Jan 14 2012 11:16 PM

Either the new AMD or the new NVIDIA parts promise some wicked fast performance.

It's a good time to be a gamer if you can afford to buy into either one of them.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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eunoia replied on Sun, Jan 15 2012 12:30 AM



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mhenriday replied on Sun, Jan 15 2012 6:24 AM

Just wish AMD could be convinced to release graphic card drivers that play nice with Linux OS ! I'd very much like to install an AMD card (not a 7970, but in any event something powerful enough to run a 2560 x 1600 monitor) in a newly completed build, but fear the well-documented problems that occur when running such a card. Thus my new card is, willy-nilly, going to be an NVIDIA....


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Inspector replied on Sun, Jan 15 2012 12:04 PM

Ya like you said real, only if u can afford either one of them :P. Bad time for the rest of us gamers that just jelly for it :D

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Can't afford either but certainly am loving the look of both cards :) plus it drive down the cost of the current gen cards and that is certainly a +++

I also think that nVidia will be able to take back the single GPU crown with their next series.

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Amd ready to fight back?

"Assocaite  reported on the possibility of faster Radeon HD 7970 version.  The core frequency for overclocked video cards can be in the range from 1000 to 1200 MHz.

Perhaps the overclocked versions Radeon HD 7970 will be released closer to April, when Nvidia will present several productive graphics generation Kepler.  For NVIDIA this schedule is convenient .  However, in this case NVIDIA  leaves AMD almost a quarter not only to saturate the market with video cards Radeon HD 7970 and Radeon HD 7950, but for the announcement of dual-processor solutions Radeon HD 7990 (New Zealand).
The availability of Radeon HD 7970 in retail will improve by the end of January." from


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Makes sense, some of the other reviews I've been reading hinted at the 7970 being able of achieving faster clocks than current levels.

If I were a gamer with a high-endish Nvidia/AMD card, I'd wait a couple of months to see what Kepler brings. Just in case...

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That's pretty much been my strategy with GPUs . Buy the previous gen when new gen is out. I'll probably spring for a 69xx card in a month or two. 

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