After getting a new screen I needed some more GPU power to play games in 2560×1440, my trusty old Radeon 5870 Eyefinity6 was just not going to cut it anymore. So I went ahead and got me a new Radeon 7970. Now before you go on reading, this is now thorough review with many Benchmarks and comparisons, this Article will simply contain my impressions of the card compared to my old 5870.
The Reason I choose the VTX3D Card was simple, it was one of the few cards on the market that are always in reference layout and also Volt Unlocked. While those points are probably not interesting for anyone who does not want to overclock or water cool the card, they are of extreme importance for anyone who does. This requirement removed most Radeon 7970 cards on the market as choices. I usually don’t overclock my Video Cards very much but it is nice to have the option.
I like that the 7970 has a Dual link DVI connector, even if it means that I can connect only 4 screens instead of 6. In addition to the Dual Link DVI, the card has also one HDMI and two Mini Display Port Connectors. The only Mini-Display port approach of the HD5870 Eyefinity is nice since it allows for 6 screens on a single slot card. But if you want to connect higher Resolution Screens, that do not have a Display Port connector, it will get expensive. Mini-Display Port to Dual link DVI adapters cost just under 100EUR and it would have been bad if I had to spend that money in addition to the Card and the Waterblock. Speaking of adapters, the contents of the box were sparse. In the Box were only the Card itself, a small Manual and a Driver CD. A bunch of mini Display Port adapters would be a nice addition to that. Since I do have a bunch of those, the lack of them is not really a downside for me. But not everyone will have such adapters at had and thus will have problems if he has to connect more than one screen via DVI or HDMI.
The Card is clocked to 1050Mhz Chip clock and 1425MHz Memory clock, those are the clock rates of a Gigahertz Edition Radeon. But the Card uses a normal Radeon HD 7970 chip not a Gigahertz Edition one. After unpacking the card, I tested it with its Air Cooling. After a few Minutes of Fur Mark the card got way to loud for my taste. But apart from the noise the card did perform great. Since the noise was not entirely unexpected, I ordered a Waterblock with the card.
The Waterblock I got for my card is the Watercool HeatKiller GPU x3. The Installation on the Card was much less of a hassle compared to the EK Block on my Radeon HD 5870. Here are some pictures of various stage when installing the Block:
I have to admit, that I forgot to take a picture of the card with the thermal pads on it and prepared for putting the cooler on. But even so the installation was very easy and all the thermal pads come in the right size already. The Cooler also comes with all needed screws and an Allen key.
The theoretical results look good and while I never really benched my HD 5870 in games, I did notice, that it got to its limits in a few games at 1920×1200. My new HD 7970 runs those games much more smoothly in 2560×1440. In the end the VTX3D is a nice card, especially if you watercool. This card is a little cheaper than most other Radeons clocked at over one Ghz by default. This might explain why it lacks any kind of accessories, but if you buy it at the right retailer you can profit from AMDs never settle offering and get Crysis 3 and the new Bioshock for free.
For those who want to put the Benchmarks into context, but are to lazy to get all the system specs from CPU-Z, here is the System used:
Intel Xeon w3520@4,0Ghz (it is like an Intel Core i7 920 but supports ECC)
Asus Rampage III Extreme
24GB G.Skill Ripjaws (F3-12800CL9T2-24GBRL)
Intel X-25M G2 Postville 160GB SSD
Asus Xonar D2X