AMD Radeon HD 7970 Video Card Review

The new Radeon HD 7970 marks the launch of AMD's next generation video cards. The Radeon HD 7970 represents the fastest single-GPU video card from AMD with a new architecture. We will evaluate gameplay performance and compare it to the previous generation, as well as the competition, in single-display and Eyefinity resolutions.


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 ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution motherboard, an Intel Core i7 2600K Overclocked at 4.8GHz, and 8GB of Corsair RAM.

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For the Galaxy MDT GTX 580 we used ForceWare 290.36. This was the latest driver at time of testing.

For all AMD GPU based video cards we used AMD supplied driver for testing Radeon HD 7970 called "AMD_Radeon_HD_7900_Win7_64_Dec16.exe." The exact driver package version is shown above, as well as in the screenshot below for full software version comparisons.

Video Cards

The two AMD video cards are operating at default frequencies, we verified that the frequencies were correct in each game.

The NVIDIA GPU based video card we are using for comparison today is a Galaxy MDT GeForce GTX 580 video card. We will have a full evaluation of this video card later. This is a single-GPU GTX 580 based video card, made custom by Galaxy to support up to 4-displays. We will be using this video card as our GTX 580 comparison video card, which will also allow us to test in Widescreen resolutions on 3-displays at 5040x1050 so we can make comparisons to Eyefinity with single-GPU. This video card is unique in allowing us to do this.

Note that this video card is also overclocked from stock GeForce GTX 580 clock speeds, which are shown in the test setup table above. Though this is an overclocked GTX 580, it does represent what a high-end GTX 580 can deliver, and if the HD 7970 can compete.

The Galaxy MDT GTX 580 is more expensive than the Radeon HD 7970 by about $50 here. This will make an interesting test as we see if the less expensive HD 7970 can provide a gameplay advantage over the Galaxy MDT GTX 580.

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