AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Review: Give Me Back That Crown!

Radeon HD 7970 Vs. Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition

We start off by testing both cards at 1050 and 925 MHz. Since our samples are completely stable at those frequencies, we didn’t have to touch the PowerTune slider at all. The new card didn’t throttle, either, yielding an ideal comparison. As before, we logged power consumption for 50 seconds, using a gaming workload this time.

The dotted lines represent one card running at the emulated clock speeds of the other. And the final analysis yields an interesting result: the older and supposedly less-refined card draws marginally less power at 1050 MHz. It does even better at 925 MHz, coming in almost 5 W under the GHz Edition board. Perhaps this is a result of AMD’s voltage-adding mechanism designed to keep Tahiti more stable at its boost frequency.

However, we’re still not applying a full load to either card. Our next test does just that by applying a compute workload that doesn’t trigger throttling.

Power draw is pretty similar between the two boards. The new card might do its job under the TDP ceiling defined for the original 7970, but AMD’s GHz Edition board definitely doesn’t offer more performance at the same power levels as its predecessor. If you want more speed, you have to use more power.

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  • mactronix
    Wow a new customer relations low for AMD. A lot of people were unhappy when they released the 7 series cards in the first place at quite stupid price points. Sure there were those who didn't see it that way but most sites did see it that way.
    Now it seems AMD have decided to stick yet a second pair of fingers up at the consumers by basically charging for a driver release.
    I really cant believe that the business is in such a bad state that they are forced to try and squeeze every drop of coinage out of people. So it comes down to corporate greed.

    Yes it is true that this is nothing Nvidia has not done in the past but this is not about AMD Vs Nvidia so the AMD fans can forget about getting all high and mighty about history.
    Plain and Simple at every turn recently AMD have been guilty of stifling computing advances and sending GPU prices into the stratosphere.
  • Steveymoo
    Wow, this is a dastardly business practice. Tweak your under performing product to run slightly faster, charge more money for it, shorten the life of the product, and use more than 40w more than your competitor. I hope too many people aren't duped by this crap, I mean, you might as well just pay less, and overclock it yourself.
  • shennan19
    it's a shame that amd didn't go with this configuration originally as most reviews of the 7970 stated the card should run at higher default clocks. I think the shame lies that amd couldn't be bothered to go back to the drawing board with the cards board - just look at the changes nvidia made with the 480 to 580 fermi cards, that was a similar card that showed real progress...amd should have looked to improve their TDP here in a similar way, 6 months for a bios change and driver update isn't really sufficient. I for one have run amd since my 4850x2 and currently have 2 powercolor pcs 7950's in my system but i wonder at the moment whether amd's quest for the performance title is just going to encourage nvidia to make pops at their poor temperature and power control like amd once did to them- anyone remember this
    I love my 7950's by the way - i just hope amd doesn't get complacent.
  • Thomas_89
    do the new drivers also improve performance of the other 7 series cards? e.g. HD 7850?
  • abitoms
    i am mostly indifferent between cards from amd and nvidia with a slight preference toward amd...but this is ridiculous... ultra-hot running with high power consumption and roughly on-par performance.

    i hope their compute route pays off
  • Brother John
    Still sucks at Folding.