AMD Radeon HD 7970: Promising Performance, Paper-Launched

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Onus

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If these power-saving features are common to all the 7000-series cards, there WILL be one in my future. With a fanless PSU and maybe a single slow 120mm case fan, you'd have a gamer that just sits down and shuts up when not playing.
I wonder if HD6850 performance with no PCIE power connector is a realistic hope...
 

a4mula

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[citation][nom]jtt283[/nom]In your Skyrim benchmarks, you suggest a CPU bottleneck. This is the perfect opportunity to retest later and see if PCIE 3.0 makes a difference. It probably won't, in which case it IS the CPU, but if it does...I also have to wonder, would this card NOT be bottlenecked by ANY AMD CPU? In other words, if you don't have an Intel CPU, is there any point in buying this card? Or, are the issues that glared out from the recent $1200 SBM machine only applicable to multi-GPU setups? It will be great when you can get a second one of these for more tests.[/citation]

The greater the demand being placed on the gpu the smaller the role of the cpu becomes. You can see in the $1200 SBM that the gap between the 6100 and the 2500k narrowed significantly at 2560x1600, seeing the 6100 actually pull ahead in Metro 2033, Crysis, and F12010. Of course the 6100 had a significant advantage in gpu power. But for discussion sake, you could run pretty much any cpu you wanted if you're running this card at Eyefinity resolutions because the bottleneck falls squarely back on the gpu. That's not to say AMD is ideal, because if nothing else we've seen how big the bag of fail is in AMDs cpu department at the moment, but it'd make for an interesting review.

P
 
Great review. The only things I would have added would be 2560X1600, overclocked power, and noise numbers. I would like to see a second review with crossfire and SLI using 3 monitor setups. Make sure AMD isn't fudging on their 97% CF claims. Again great review as I really wanted to know how they far with my current monitor and my possible upgrade to 3 monitors.
 

airgreek

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AMD can have the BEST hardware but until they have solid drivers it will not matter. The hardware is only as good as the software and I know from personal experience that EVERY TIME I have owned an ATI video card I ALWAYS had driver issues.
 

Onus

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Yes, a4mula, but the confounding factor is that this is a but a single card, which removes a potential platform bottleneck if AMD chipsets are contributing to poor Crossfire performance. I guess this means these poor guys will have to run a lot more tests :).
 

hannibal

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Maybe because of the Ferni... Nvidia did have very big problems with 480, because of heat and powerusage. They have not recovered it totally so far. So they have been late untill that. Allso they have a tendessy of making bigger chips, that are more difficult to produce, and that can cause delays because of bad yealds. On the other hand the bigger chips has given them edge in total power and speed...
 

sp0nger

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You guys do realize that AMD's NEW flagship doesnt even beat Nvidias CURRENT flagship... This doesnt bode well for AMD. I dont get why everyones so impressed, i mean yeah for the next 6 months it will be nice to have a GTX590 performance for GTX580 price through AMDs new 7970, but all this tells me is wait for Keplar, because its going to have better performance than a 590.
 

srgess

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LOL what only 11 fps more over the gtx 580 in bf3 , kinda sad and not worth the price tag , sure the world fastest video card still remain to the asus maximus 2, not impressive. My guess is that they just rushed to take that product out because they know when the 700 nvidia series will rape them.
 

Marco925

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Our original plan was to test Radeon HD 7970 on an X79-based platform with Core i7-3960X. However, AMD pulled the rug out from under us as our desired platform was en route to the snowy whiteness that is Canada in December. Instead, we were forced to run all of our performance data on an admittedly more common LGA 1155-based Core i5-2500K overclocked to 4 GHz. The Sandy Bridge-E-based testing will have to wait until next month, when AMD lets its next batch of information spill on the 7900-series family.
What snowy whiteness? we've had no snow at all this december in most of the country
 

yyk71200

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[citation][nom]sp0nger[/nom]You guys do realize that AMD's NEW flagship doesnt even beat Nvidias CURRENT flagship... This doesnt bode well for AMD. I dont get why everyones so impressed, i mean yeah for the next 6 months it will be nice to have a GTX590 performance for GTX580 price through AMDs new 7970, but all this tells me is wait for Keplar, because its going to have better performance than a 590.[/citation]
And 580 did not beat AMD's dual GPU 5970. What's your point?
 

artk2219

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[citation][nom]srgess[/nom]LOL what only 11 fps more over the gtx 580 in bf3 , kinda sad and not worth the price tag , sure the world fastest video card still remain to the asus maximus 2, not impressive. My guess is that they just rushed to take that product out because they know when the 700 nvidia series will rape them.[/citation]

You're right the 700 series will more than likely be more powerful, but the question is when? Nvidia won't have a response for a good 6 months, maybe more, and at what cost in terms of heat, power, price, and noise? As someone pointed out above, it was more probably just a paper launch to spoil Nvidia sales for christmas, good idea on AMD's part. But it also gives them half a years worth of lead time over them, by the time Nvidia starts rolling out their product line AMD will have their entire product line covered from top to bottom with their new chips, and by the time Nvidia reaches that point AMD will probably already have another revision of this architecture out. Nvidia has to play catch up, and it probably puts them exactly where AMD was in 2006, late, hot, loud, and power hungry.
 

technoholic

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[citation][nom]jtt283[/nom]... I also have to wonder, would this card NOT be bottlenecked by ANY AMD CPU? In other words, if you don't have an Intel CPU, is there any point in buying this card? [/citation]

Exactly the same point that i was wondering. AMD guys NOW have ONE more very important reason to fix their cpu design...
 

gm0n3y

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Lets hope these ship in volume on the 9th. I'm thinking of picking up a 7950 assuming that it will be a little bit faster than the 6970.
 

aaronstyle

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[citation][nom]zero_[/nom]Overclocking like a baws! It DOES beat a GTX590![/citation]

I wouldn't be so sure of that. Give it some time to mature, and we'll see it's true potential. I'm running a gtx460. but that doesn't mean that with this new 7xxx series that I won't be thinking of stepping up to a 6xxx series. I'm a gamer on a budget, and price vs performance is always my first step to making a purchase. Heck, once Nvidia releases their new line of cards, I'm sure the price on the 7xxx series will drop accordingly. With that said, with the way that the 6950 performs with a few quick tweaks, I'm hoping that the same thing will apply with the newer line of ATI cards.

Call me a fanboy, but I've never had a problem with Nvidia cards, but I hear lots of good things about ATI, so at this point it's going to be a battle of the greenbacks that will get me to upgrade.

I could go for SLI, but it's not supported by my Motherboard, and I doubt my PSU could handle it, so selling my gtx460 for a reasonable fee could help push me toward one of these cards. I'm just going to patiently wait for an aftermarket cooling solution that meets my requirements. (I love MSI's Twin Frozr's to death, hint hint)

So here's a cheer to ATI in hopes that they'll be able to effectively market their product, after all, they always seem to be ahead in the numbers game than Nvida. Not to say that a gtx560TI isn't a bad choice these days,and even moreso in the future.

The only question I have it, will my CPU bottleneck me? specs are below.
 

iceveiled

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Yeah it's a nice card. Too bad the majority of games have crappy ATI driver support for the first few weeks upon release. I'll stick with my 570 for now.
 
[citation][nom]sp0nger[/nom]You guys do realize that AMD's NEW flagship doesnt even beat Nvidias CURRENT flagship... This doesnt bode well for AMD. I dont get why everyones so impressed, i mean yeah for the next 6 months it will be nice to have a GTX590 performance for GTX580 price through AMDs new 7970, but all this tells me is wait for Keplar, because its going to have better performance than a 590.[/citation]

If you think it's that easy to double the performance of your top GPUs then there's a problem. Do you also think that Intel or AMD doubles the performance of their CPUs (or at least performance per watt) every generation? That AMD made this big of a leap in GPU performance is unlikely enough yet you expect a greater leap in performance before you're satisfied. I guarantee that we would all have liked that but we shouldn't expect nor demand that to happen. From looking at past video cards we see that a single new generation GPU probably won't beat a previous dual GPU setup. The same is also true for different GPUs from adjacent product lines in the same generation. For example, two Radeon 6870s will beat a single Radeon 6970 or even a single GTX 580. I'm not sure on this but two Radeon 6850s might beat a single GTX 580, they would definitely beat a single Radeon 6970. Of course both examples are ignoring micro-stuttering and other problems that sometimes pop up with some dual GPU configurations.

I don't think it is a good idea to make any assumptions about Kepler doubling the previous generation's performance until Kepler comes out. We should also take what we see in the article with a grain of salt at least until all the software/firmware/drivers are settled next year so a lot of data and info is this article is subject to change.
 

blacksci

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You guys do know he was being hypothetical right? As in: If your parents read your responses they would facepalm you for me . Obviously aint gonna happen, but god knows id love it to. lol
 

TeraMedia

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@Don and Igor, I think your conclusions were spot-on for the most part. This product is indeed not ready for market. Coming from the software arena, this is the hardware equivalent of what I call "code" instead of "product". Unlike Nvidia with the 580, AMD does not seem to have invested adequate time in developing their cooler solution. Unlike Nvidia with Cuda, AMD does not appear to have invested enough time (yet) with ISVs to develop applications leveraing their new hardware (yet). Good god the potential is there, but it just hasn't been productized yet. So "preview" is the perfect word to describe this. For the record, I own 3 discrete and 2 integrated ATi GPUs, and only 1 integrated NV GPU.

That said, I have a thought on why AMD shifted to the GCN architecture, and has now abandoned VLIW4:
With GPUs getting closer and closer to CPUs (indeed, they're now found on the same die for most mainstream systems), the potential for the CPU to leverage the GPU as a multi-vector FP processor is too big to ignore. So many of the emerging human interface technologies (touch, image processing, Kinect, speech rec, etc.) require lots of number crunching. So if you can hand that work off to a vector FPU sitting next to your ALU on your CPU's die, then having a low-frequency, modest-performance CPU doesn't matter as much. Suddenly, the processing capabilities of mobile devices become far greater, while the power consumption levels stay flat or even reduce.

So I think that AMD saw the computing landscape, realized - as Nvidia and others have - that mobile is the future, and figured that adding powerful graphics and number-crunching capability to a modest-performing mobile CPU core was going to be the best way to capitalize on the "fusion" concept and beat Intel in its own market. GCN is designed for exactly that; an entry-level GCN-based design might only have a few Compute Units, but that's all it would need to wipe the floor with any Intel-based GPU technology. I expect that we will see the x64 instruction set augmented soon to directly access the vector FP capabilities of on-die GPUs, just as we have seen such extensions as SSEx, etc. That - APUs with low-end CPU and GPU power - is what the GCN redesign was done for, not for high-end gaming GPUs. Achieving beastly high-end performance was just gravy. Of course, I also have to believe that AMD got tired of reading about supercomputers built with thousands of high-end Fermi cards, and would like to see their own in one of those headlines.

This technology represents some phenomenal work by AMD. Without committing to a full-on redesign, they re-factored just enough to fix some compute performance problems, while dramatically upping the ante in the gaming space. I look forward to the release, and will likely end up getting something at the 77x0 level.
 
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