Gigabyte 7970 GHz Edition Review
Today I will be taking a look at another AMD 7970 graphics card, this is the Gigabyte 7970 GHz Edition (GV-R797TO-3GD). This will be the first Gigabyte Graphics card that we have tested here at pcGameware; it will be interesting to see how the Gigabyte card compares to the other 7970 GHz cards that we have tested in the past.
The GHz Edition of AMD’s Tahiti GPU is the same as found in the standard 7970 with a couple of basic exceptions. The first is that the clock speed of the new GHz Edition has been upped and is now 75MHz higher than a basic 7970 (925MHz), this has been achieved solely through chip binning (the GPU is identical!). In addition to this there’s AMD’s Power Tune technology with Boost allowing the card to Turbo up to 1050MHz (not dissimilar to the Boost Clock found on Nvidia Kepler cards such as the MSI GTX 680 TWIN FROZR (OC Edition)).
The Gigabyte 7970 GHz Edition features one of the highest factory overclocks for an AMD 7970 GHz Edition GPU available today. The card has a Core Clock of 1000MHz and a Boost Clock of 1100MHz with the 3GB of GDDR5 RAM running at 1500MHz (6GHz effective). This makes the Gigabyte 7970 GHz Edition the fastest 7970 that we have seen to date here at pcGameware.
The Gigabyte 7970 GHz Edition came well packaged in a smart, predominately black box with various features of the card highlighted on the front. These include the fact that the card has been factory overclocked to 1100MHz and that the new Windforce cooler is 15% cooler than the AMD reference design.
The back of the box goes on to highlight more features of the card including the following:
- WINDFORCE 3X
- The new Generation WINDFORCE 3X: It’s equipped with the first unique “Triangle Cool” Technology (patent pending), three ultra quiet PWM fans, one huge RAM heat sink and three 8mm copper heat pipes to strengthen the speed of heat dissipation.
- PCI Express 3.0
- Get the maximum performance from your GPU when paired with the latest platforms. Delivers double the bandwidth per lane of PCIe Gen 2 for faster <--> CPU communication (up to 32GB/sec, bi-direction).
- 28 nm
- The new 28nm GCN Architecture: more efficient process technology puts more transistors in less space, enabling a dramatic increase in processing power. It helps provide better processor performance while using less power and better transistor efficiency than previous generation technology.
* Also on the box there is a suggested Power Supply requirement suggesting 500W or greater (slightly odd as Gigabyte’s website Specifications state 600W!).
Open the outer box and we find an inner plain white cardboard box, within here you can see the card packed within its soft foam. In the top of the box we also find a Driver CD and a Quick Guide. Although the guide is nothing more than a guide to help you install the Graphics Card itself into a PCIe slot, connect the power cables and install the driver from the CD!
In the base of the box there is also a CrossFireX adapter and two power cable extensions one 6-pin and one 8-pin.
At the time of this review the Gigabyte 7970 GHz Edition is retailing for approximately £380 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of Gigabyte
|Chipset||Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition|
|Digital max resolution||2560 x 1600|
|Analog max resolution||2048 x 1536|
|Process Technology||28 nm|
|Core Clock||1100 MHz|
|Memory Clock||6000 MHz|
|Memory Size||3 GB|
|Memory Bus||384 bit|
|Card Bus||PCI-E 3.0|
|I/O||HDMI * 1
DVI-I * 1
Mini DisplayPort * 2
|Card size||H= 38mm, L=285 mm, W=126 mm|
|Power requirement||600 W|
First impressions are good, the card looks smart and purposeful with its three cooling fans, it’s also nice to see that it’s a regular size card, even with its trio of fans at approximately 285mm as opposed to the HIS cards (7970 X & 7970 IceQ X²) at around 297mm. This Gigabyte card may be a better option if you’re short on room inside your case, although we should see how it performs first perhaps…
The cooler itself features x3 80mm fans and a large heat-sink that specifically incorporates cooling for the on-board 3GBs of memory. The good news is that the card’s not too big (H= 38mm, L=285 mm, W=126 mm) as noted earlier. It’s a good looking cooler too and due to the mainly black colouring (apart from the default AMD blue PCB) the card should go well with any rig design that you have in mind.
There’s not much to see on the top of the card but you can see that the heat-sink pretty much covers the length of the card. On the left you can see the CrossFireX connection, then working left to right, we find a Gigabyte logo and at the far end we find the two power connections (x1 8-pin & x1 6-pin). I would have preferred x2 8-pin connections as this prevents the possibility of having a couple of cables flapping around inside the case!
As is common on all of the AMD 7970 based card’s (well all of the ones that I have seen so far!) the PCB is blue (better if it was black me thinks!), there’s not much else to talk about on this side of the card, although here you can see the x3 8mm heat-pipes quite clearly. There’s even less to talk about on the other side of the card, although from the image (below right) I think you can appreciate it’s simplistic (in a good way!) design.
The Gigabyte 7970 GHz Edition features x2 Mini DisplayPorts, x1 DVI-I port and x1 HDMI port. Looking at the opposite end of the card gives you an idea of the thickness of those x3 8mm heat-pipes.
Installation into My Test Rig was extremely easy especially as I’m now using the rather cavernous CM Storm Stryker case. Cabling was also simple enough with the card requiring x1 8-pin and x1 6-pin power connections.
My Test Rig was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit (Service Pack 1) with all associated drivers also installed. The latest version of the AMD Catalyst Control Center was used (version 12.10).
The Gigabyte OC Guru II software was used to help with overclocking, version 1.31 was downloaded and installed, it can be found here.