Power Consumption, Noise, Temps
Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover a few final data points--namely power consumption, temperatures and noise. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored acoustics and tracked how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and also while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.
AMD claimed that the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition would offer significantly better performance than the original 7970, while operating in the same power envelope. While idling, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition consumed the same amount of power as the standard 7970--so far so good--but under load the cards behaved very differently. The Radeon HD 7970-based system pulled 385 watts from the outlet. But with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition installed it pulled 428 watts, an increase of 43 watts. The Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition does have the same power connector configuration as the original 7970, so technically its operating in the same range, but wtih higher clocks for the GPU and memory, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition simply uses more power than its little brother.
Like the original 7970, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition proved to be somewhat quiet in real world use cases. While idling, the card is all but silent, as its fan runs at only 20% and temps remain in the mid-40'C range. Under load, we never saw the fan spin up past the 48%, which was definitely audible, but but not very loud in comparison to other high-end graphics cards. Under load, temps peaked in the low-80'C range. Should you manually spin the fans up to higher speeds, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition can get loud like previous-gen Radeons, but in real-world use that never happened on its own. In our experience, the Radeon HD 7970 is somewhat quieter than Radeon HD 6900 series cards, but not quite as quiet as GeForce GTX 600 series products.
Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Fan Speed & Temperature - Idle
Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Fan Speed & Temperature - Load