Radeon 7970 launched, AMD claims fastest GPU

A new graphics king is in town, with a claimed 150% performance increase and massive multi-display support
Darren Allan

December 22, 2011
Radeon 7970

AMD has officially launched its next-generation graphics card.

The Radeon 7970 follows on from the current top end single card solution the 6970, and AMD is claiming the title of the new fastest GPU on the market with the only 28nm based board.

The company’s headline claim is that the 7970 represents a 150% increase in performance over the previous generation. It also boasts support for PCI Express 3.0.

Matt Skynner, Corporate VP and General Manager of the GPU Division, commented: “True to the maxim, ‘never settle’, AMD is once again aggressively advancing the state of the graphics industry – this time with the arrival of the world’s fastest single GPU graphics card, the AMD Radeon HD 7970.”

“This graphics card represents a revolution in the graphics industry. To put it bluntly, the AMD Radeon HD 7970 changes everything!”

The 7970 has a base core clock speed of 925MHz and a memory clock running at 1375MHz, with 3GB of on board GDDR5 memory.

It’s rated at 3.79 TFLOPs of single precision compute power and 947 GFLOPs double precision compute power. That compares to the reference 6970’s figures of 2.7 TFLOPs of single precision compute power and 683 GFLOPs double precision compute power.

Memory bandwidth is rated at 264GB/s compared to the 6970’s 176GB/s.

AMD has also brought “App Acceleration” on board, which enhances HD video playback and general performance, along with new power management technology for greater efficiency. ZeroCore Power ensures a lower level of idle power consumption than any other card on the market, apparently.

Enhancements have also been made to the Eyefinity technology which now allows for the connection of six displays to the card, plus support for stereo 3D. The 7970 can also handle Quad HD, 4K video, with full support for 3GHz HDMI 1.4a (with Stereoscopic 3D Frame Packing Format) and DisplayPort 1.2 HBR2.

AMD notes that Eyefinity 2.0 “allows users with 2560×1600 monitors in an AMD Eyefinity 5×1 landscape configuration to achieve a horizontal resolution of 12,800 pixels, driving more than 20 million pixels of screen real estate”.

It all sounds tasty with early reviews and benchmarks seeming to bear out AMD’s claims thus far. However, there is some talk of the card not performing quite so well with older games, which is likely to be driver related issues at this early stage.

The 7970 will cost you, of course. It’s expected to weigh in at around the £420 mark when it launches in January. The 7950 will be hot on its heels with some more budget oriented pricing, though.

And indeed the 7990 will then be along, strapping together two of these cards for what should be absolutely blazing performance. We await Nvidia’s next shot back…






 

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