GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7970 OC Video Card Review

GIGABYTE has a custom cooled and overclocked version of the Radeon HD 7970. We examine how well GIGABYTE's Windforce 3X cooling technology allows us to overclock this next generation video card. Find out how this GIGABYTE GV-R797OC-3GD monster compares to a GeForce GTX 580, a Radeon HD 6970, and reference HD 7970.

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Evaluation Method

We evaluate what each video card configuration can supply us in terms of a playable gaming experience while supplying the best culmination of resolution and "eye candy" graphical settings. We focus on quality and immersion of the gameplay experience rather than how many frames per second the card can get in a canned benchmark or prerecorded timedemo situation that often do not represent real gameplay like you would experience at home. Then we will follow with apples-to-apples testing in with minimum, maximum, and average framerates.

Test System Setup

We will be using a MSI Eclipse SLI X58 motherboard, an Intel Core i7 920 Overclocked at 3.6GHz, and 6GB of Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D Dominator DDR3.

Obviously, we make every effort to not use CPU limited games for video card evaluations, but the i7-920 at 3.6GHz seems to put many peoples’ minds at ease when it comes to that subject.

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Drivers

For the Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 we are using the Catalyst 8.921.2 RC11 driver Catalyst 8.921.2 RC11 dated 1/25.

For the AMD Radeon HD 6970 we are using AMD Catalyst 12.1a Preview driver. This was the most recent driver at the time of the evaluation.

For the GeForce GTX 580 we are using NVIDIA's ForceWare 290.53 BETA driver. This was the most recent driver available during our testing.

Below is a screenshot of GPU-Z after installing the GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7970 and the 8.921.2 RC11 Web Driver (dated 1-25-2011).

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