Five Radeon HD 7970 3 GB Cards, Overclocked And Benchmarked

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Mar 9, 2010
I need to replace my 5870 HD I bought over 3 years ago. I can still play any game on HIGH at 1080p, but I want ULTRA on BF3 and Max Payne 3.

Lets hope the 680 GTX becomes available to see what price these AMD cards end up at. I like AMD and how they don't rebrand their cards like nVidia, but $20 cheaper than 680 GTX is not cheap enough to sway me that way.
why a reference card(visiontek 7970) with non reference competitors?
i am impressed with HIS IceQ X2 Turbo X but still MSi lightning is my favorite.they have beefier VRMs,great cooling and are overclocking beasts.



Jan 13, 2010
Cool review. It'd be nice if SI units were included in the weights and lengths though. Guess I'll have to do a little math. It's very nice to know that the non-reference coolers are much quieter (excluding Gigabyte's) than the original design.

Let's see some typos:

In the 'Test System Setup And Benchmarks' page in the Operating System row it is written as Microsoft Windows 7 x6. I assume it's supposed to be x64.

In the first paragraph of the 'Sapphire HD 7970 OC' page the card is described as "HD 7970 PC".


Jun 17, 2011
I'm surprised the Asus DirectCUII didn't make it on here. Still, the MSI Lightning seems to be the best of the bunch in terms of performance, wattage, cooling, and noise, but at $50 more than the other cards, it's not very appealing.


Nice review.

I hope you guys do another one like this later on the Radeon 7870 since imo, that is the best 7000 series card in terms of price to performance. It's just a shame that there are no new nvidia cards to push the price of the 7800 series lower. Please include the MSI 7870 hawk and the asus direct cu card as well if you do make the review :)


I'm wondering why HIS do not sells IceQ X2 Turbo in NA......

Is the shiping + tax will drove the price to high, or the market is too small and HIS brand not strong enough in NA?


Nov 11, 2009
[citation][nom]schnitter[/nom] I like AMD and how they don't rebrand their cards like nVidia, but $20 cheaper than 680 GTX is not cheap enough to sway me that way.[/citation]

is that the only thing you like about AMD? Sad.
Nice Article & Thanks!

From lead-in
"GeForce GTX 680 cards are nowhere to be found, and the Radeon HD 7970 recently dropped to a much more attractive price."

It would have been nice to toss-in a some GTX 680 benchmarks for comparison sake. Just reuse some of Chris's benchmarks ->,3161.html or run your own.

Otherwise this is only a reference vs non-reverence HD 7970 article. You 'should' have been able to OC theses cards all the same and the difference should be within margin of error. No doubt effective cooling & Noise is a critical part[strike], but I'm a little confused here -- I assume both Temps & Noise data is based on Factory (OC if applicable) settings which is fine BUT what about your OC Temps & Noise data?? To me this is critically important, what's the use in OC benchmarks if you need Jet rated earmuffs and temps that (exaggerating) to melt lead?[/strike] Duh, I misread the data.

The HIS IceQ X2 Turbo (Turbo X) & MSI R7970 Lightning are the standouts with noise and temps with OC. Since I know how both noise & temps can change in a snap of a finger, both are fine. -- Thanks for that data!


May 2, 2006
Love the review.

Would have been cool to see one or two charts with all the cards overclocked vs a ref 680 just to see if highly overclocked 7970's can just about even the performance delta.


[citation][nom]hellfire24[/nom]why a reference card(visiontek 7970) with non reference competitors?[/citation]

Two reasons:

- It's the sample Visiontek submitted
- Aside from that, it's great to see the lower-priced reference model represented


[citation][nom]redemptionse[/nom]The 12.4 Catalysts raise the overdrive OC limits and have been available for over a week now, why weren't they used?[/citation]

Reviews are often done about a week before you see them posted. They need to be edited and scheduled for publication.
This review is a bit confusing, 5 cards, one rises to the top. I'm guessing that the Sapphire is the card you're referring to but you didn't do a very good job of indicating that because each of the final write-ups on these cards sounds more or less the same (talking about the pros and cons). Perhaps having ranking numbers would help or a big sign that says "WINNER!". Other than that, a great and concise comparison of 5 awesome vidcards! :sol:


I run a pair of the Visiontek's and why I love the performance the noise is definitely prevalent. Good thing I enjoy flight sims...I just pretend its engine noise.


[citation][nom]Avro Arrow[/nom]Perhaps having ranking numbers would help or a big sign that says "WINNER!". Other than that, a great and concise comparison of 5 awesome vidcards![/citation]

If only the world was so black and white!

Sorry Avro, but the standings are so close that none deserves a recommended buy for all people. Sapphire almost made it, in fact we were going to give them the recommended buy honor at $459, but that turned out to be a promotional price.

In reality, there's no one size fits all and each of these cards has something to offer depending on the intended use: MSI for overclocking and bling, Sapphire for the best mix of displays and features, gigabyte for small enclosures, Visiontek for price, and HIS' Turbo for a mixture of overclocking and price in North America and the Turbo X for the highest core overclock everywhere else.
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