AMD Radeon HD 7970: 28nm Tahiti GPU Review

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Test System and Unigine Heaven v2.5

How We Configured Our Test Systems: We tested the graphics cards in this article on an Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard powered by a Core i7-3960X six-core processor and 16GB of G.SKILL DDR3-1600 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the system UEFI  and set all values to their "optimized" or "high performance" default settings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the installation was complete we fully updated the OS and installed the latest DirectX redist, along with the necessary drivers, games, and benchmark applications.

HotHardware's Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7-3960X
(3.3GHz, Six-Core)
Asus P9X79 Deluxe
(Intel X79 Express)

Radeon HD 7970
Radeon HD 6990
Radeon HD 6970
GeForce GTX 590
GeForce GTX 580 3GB OC
GeForce GTX 580

16GB OCZ DDR3-1600
Western Digital Raptor 150GB
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectX April 2011 Redist
ATI Catalyst v12.1b
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers 290.36

Benchmarks Used:

Unigine Heaven v2.5
3DMark 11
Batman: Arkham City
Just Cause 2
Alien vs. Predator
Metro 2033
Lost Planet 2
Dirt 3

Unigine Heaven v2.5 Benchmark
Pseudo-DirectX 11 Gaming

Unigine Heaven

Unigine's Heaven Benchmark v2.5 is built around the Unigine game engine. Unigine is a cross-platform, real-time 3D engine, with support for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL. The Heaven benchmark--when run in DX11 mode--also makes comprehensive use of tessellation technology and advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion) It also features volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm and a dynamic sky with light scattering.

The new AMD Radeon HD 7970 proved to be the fastest single GPU in the Unigine Heaven benchmark. Thanks to its more powerful and efficient Tessellation engines, the Radeon HD 7970 is able to smoke the 6970 by about 66% here. In comparison to the single-GPU powered NVIDIA-based competition, however, the Radeon HD 7970 is only about 15.6% and 21.8% faster than the factory-overclocked GeForce GTX 580 3GB card and reference GeForce GTX 580, respectively.

For the dual-GPU powered cards, the Radeon HD 6990 and GeForce GTX 590--finished in the top spots, however.

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