Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2012 - 05:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tahiti, southern islands, radeon, pcie 3.0, HD 7970, hd 7950, dx 11.1, amd, 28nm
A smattering of reviews of the newly released HD7950 have arrived to the web as the card that many enthusiasts have been waiting for finally arrives. The card does not differ significantly from the HD7970 with 1,792 Stream Processors down from 2,048, 112 Texture Units versus 128, a core clock 125MHz lower at 800MHz and 5GHz effective on memory versus 5.5GHz for the HD7970. Apart from those changes it is still the same silicon and the same 4.31 billion transistors which raises hopes that a similar BIOS mod to the one which allowed you to turn some HD6950s into HD6970s will exist for this card as well. [H]ard|OCP's testing shows the card to be better than a GTX580 but not enough to be an upgrade for current owners of that card but anyone with the ~$450 and an older card would do well to consider this car.
You can also see Ryan's take on this card alone as well as how it scales in CrossFire in our review here.
"The new Radeon HD 7950 marks the launch of AMD's more affordable Radeon HD 7900 series GPU. The Radeon HD 7950 is priced to compete with the GeForce GTX 580. We'll look at performance in comparison to several video cards in single-GPU, dual-GPU CrossFireX, Eyefinity, and Overclocking to see where it truly lands."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD's Radeon HD 7950 @ The Tech Report
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 Review Feat. Sapphire & XFX: Sewing Up The High-End Market @ AnandTech
- XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition Overclocked 3GB Graphics Card Video Review @ eTeknix
- XFX Radeon R7950 Black Edition Video Card @ Benchmark Reviews
- XFX & Sapphire HD 7950 3GB Review @ OCC
- XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation 3GB @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire 7950 Overclocked Edition Video Card Review @ Techwarelabs
- Sapphire HD 7950 OC @ Modders-Inc
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 & XFX R7950 Black Edition Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- PowerColor, Sapphire, XFX HD 7950 Review @ Neoseeker
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 Launch Review @ Neoseeker
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB DDR5 Overclocked Version DX11.1 Video Card Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Powercolor HD 7950 PCS+ @ Overclockers.com
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Sapphire HD7950 Overclock Edition @ OC3D
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 Launch Articles @ HardwareHeaven
- XFX HD 7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Sapphire HD 7950 Dual Fan OC Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 Review; Tahiti Pro Arrives @ Hardware Canucks
- XFX HD7950 Black Edition Overlocked @ Kitguru
- PowerColor HD 7950 PCS+ 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- XFX R7950 Black Edition @ OC3D
- HIS HD7950 @ Kitguru
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS HD7950 @ OC3D
- XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition Overclocked 3GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- HIS Radeon HD 7950 @ Guru of 3D
- PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 PCS+ @ Guru of 3D
- Radeon HD 7950 Crossfire review 2 and 3-way @ Guru of 3D
- AMD Radeon HD 7950 CrossFire @ techPowerUp
- Sapphire HD7950 Overlock Edition Crossfire @ Kitguru
- Overkill 3D - HD7950 Quadfire @ OC3D
- XFX HD 7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation 3 GB Review @ OCC
- The Radeon HD 7970 Reprise: PCIe Bandwidth, Overclocking, & The State Of Anti-Aliasing @ AnandTech
- Catalyst 12.1 Windows 7 Driver Analysis @ Tweaktown
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Deepcool Gamer Storm Dracula VGA Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Swiftech Apogee HD Water Block Review @ OCIA
- Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520 Review: Quad-Display Budget Card @ Techspot
Tahiti Gets Clipped
It has been just over a month since we first got our hands on the AMD Southern Islands architecture in the form of the Radeon HD 7970 3GB graphics card. It was then a couple of long weeks as we waited for the consumer to get the chance to buy that same hardware though we had to admit that the $550+ price tags were scaring many away. Originally we were going to have both the Radeon HD 7970 and the Radeon HD 7950 in our hands before January 9th, but that didn't pan out and instead the little brother was held in waiting a bit longer.
Today we are reviewing that sibling, the Radeon HD 7950 3GB GPU that offers basically the same technology and feature set with a slightly diminished core and a matching, slightly diminished price. In truth I don't think that the estimated MSRP of $449 is going to really capture that many more hearts than the $549 price of the HD 7970 did, but AMD is hoping that they can ride their performance advantage to as many profits as they can while they wait for NVIDIA to properly react.
Check out our video review right here and then continue on to our complete benchmarking analysis!!
Southern Islands Gets Scaled Back a Bit
As I said above, the Radeon HD 7950 3GB is pretty similar to the HD 7970. It is based on the same 28nm, DirectX 11.1, PCI Express 3.0, 4.31 billion transistor GPU and includes the same massive 3GB frame buffer as its older brother. The Tahiti GPU is the first of its kind of all of those facets but it has a few of the computational portions disabled.
If you haven't read up on the Southern Islands architecture, or Tahiti GPU based around it, you are missing quite a bit of important information on the current lineup of parts from AMD. I would very much encourage you to head over to our Radeon HD 7970 3GB Tahiti review and look over the first three pages as it provides a detailed breakdown of the new features and the pretty dramatic shift in design that Southern Islands introduced to the AMD GPU team.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 26, 2012 - 05:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xfx, GCN, asus, southern islands, radeon, pcie 3.0, dx 11.1, amd, 7970, 28nm
[H]ard|OCP recently came out with two HD7970 reviews, one made by ASUS and one by XFX. The ASUS Radeon HD 7970 is currently one of the least expensive choices at $559 and runs at the default speeds of 925MHz and 1375MHz. It does ship with ASUS' GPU Tweak utility to allow for easy overclocking if you wish to push the card like [H] did, in their case to 1125MHz on the GPU core, and 1695MHz GDDR5.
The other choice is the XFX R7970 Black Edition which is a custom card, overclocked to 1GHz on the core and 1425MHz GDDR5 but costs $50 more than the offering from ASUS. At the out of the box speeds, XFX's card both draws less energy and runs much cooler and was silent compared to the ASUS offering. Even after [H] overclocked the card to 1125MHz core and 1575MHz GDDR5, which was the maximum possible using AMD's Overdrive, it was almost silent when running full out.
The decision seems to be how much it is worth to you to have a quiet card and if you are willing to find a way to overclock beyond what the Catalyst Control Center can manage.
"We have the new XFX R7970 Black Edition video card to evaluate, which is XFX's current flagship Radeon HD 7970 based video card. With a custom PCB, custom hardware components and custom cooling fan, will it take us to new heights in overclocking, or leave us wishing we had just purchased a "reference" card?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6670 @ TechwareLab
- Sapphire HD 7970 3GB Video Cards in CrossFire Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- Asus HD7970 Tri Crossfire @ Kitguru
- ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II Top Video Card @ Legit Reviews
- HIS Radeon HD 6570 IceQ @ Funky Kit
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Cards in 3-Way CrossFireX @ Tweaktown
- HIS 6670 1GB Fan @ XSReviews
- ASUS Radeon HD 7970 3GB CrossFire Review @ Legit Reviews
- An Open-Source, Reverse-Engineered Mali GPU Driver @ Phoronix
- Arctic Accelero XTREME Plus II VGA cooler Review @ XtremeComputing
- Graphics Card Overclocking: Is it really worth it? @ TechSpot
- KFA2 MDT X4 – GTX580 @ Kitguru
- Galaxy GeForce GT 440 2GB Review @ Neoseeker
- Galaxy GT 520 MDT Review @ OCC
- Nouveau For A $10 NVIDIA Graphics Card @ Phoronix
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 2, 2012 - 02:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tahiti, southern islands, radeon, pcie 3.0, dx 11.1, amd, 7970, 28nm
If somehow you ended up feeling that Ryan missed something about the HD 7970 that was important to you, we offer a long enough list of HD 7970 reviews that you will find it somewhere. Come next week when these cards hit the market at about $800 apiece (the MSRP is $550USD so hope that number is inflated), you might want to know just how well the cards scale, assuming you are able to spend the better part of $2000 just on your graphics subsystem. The Guru of 3D has answered your Croesus-like desires by running two HD 7970's in CrossFire. The power usage turned out to be quite interesting, the total power used by two HD 7970s is comparable to that of a single HD 6970, which will at least help you save a bit on your PSU and electricity build. More important to most is the performance scaling, which Guru3D tested exhaustively and are happy to report scaling between 1.6 to 2 times the performance. Keep in mind you need huge resolutions to make this worth your investment, it takes a lot of money to play Battlefield 3 @ 2560x1600.
"We review the AMD Radeon HD 7970 in Crossfire. With two reference cards in-house, we figured well, you might be interested in some multi-GPU lovin from AMD.
Let's take it to the next level -- multi-GPU gaming in 2-way Crossfire mode."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GPU and Graphics Card Review @ PC Perpsective
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- HD 7970: Bulldozer vs. Sandy Bridge vs. Nehalem @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 @ Techspot
- Radeon HD 7970 Overclock and perf Guide @ Guru3D
- Radeon HD 7970 CPU scaling performance @ Guru3D
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 @ Legion Hardware
- MD Radeon HD 7900 Series Graphics Preview @ Madshrimps
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 Launch Review @ Neoseeker
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 3-part @ VR-Zone
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire Performance Review @ HardwareHeaven
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 @ Overclockers.com
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 @ Guru of 3D
- Club3D Radeon HD 6950 Battlefield 3 Edition Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Sapphire HD 6670 Low Profile Review @ OCC
- Sapphire Low-Profile Radeon HD 6670 @ Pro-Clockers
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 LP Review @ Neoseeker
- Intel GMA 3150 Driver 22.214.171.12467 @ NGOHQ
- EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2 Win @ Hardwareoverclock
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Graphics Cards from Palit and MSI @ X-bit Labs
- ASUS MARS 2 SLI Madness @ OC3D
The First 28nm GPU Architecture
It is going to be an exciting 2012. Both AMD and NVIDIA are going to be bringing gamers entirely new GPU architectures, Intel has Ivy Bridge up its sleeve and the CPU side of AMD is looking forward to the introduction of the Piledriver lineup. Today though we end 2011 with the official introduction of the AMD Southern Islands GPU design, a completely new architecture from the ground up that engineers have been working on for more than three years.
This GPU will be the first on several fronts: the first 28nm part, the first cards with support for PCI Express 3.0 and the first to officially support DirectX 11.1 coming with Windows 8. Southern Islands is broken up into three different families starting with Tahiti at the high-end, Pitcairn for sweet spot gaming and Cape Verde for budget discrete options. The Radeon HD 7970 card that is launching today with availability in early January is going to be the top-end single GPU option, based on Tahiti.
Let's see what 4.31 billion transistors buys you in today's market. I have embedded a very short video review here as well for your perusal but of course, you should continue down a bit further for the entire, in-depth review of the Radeon HD 7970 GPU.
Southern Islands - Starting with Tahiti
Before we get into benchmark results we need to get a better understanding of this completely new GPU design that was first divulged in June at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit. At that time, our own
lovely and talented Josh Walrath wrote up a great preview of the architecture that remains accurate and pertinent for today's release. We will include some of Josh's analysis here and interject with anything new that we have learned from AMD about the Southern Islands architecture.
When NVIDIA introduced the G80, they took a pretty radical approach to GPU design. Instead of going with previous VLIW architectures which would support operations such as Vec4+Scalar, they went with a completely scalar architecture. This allowed a combination of flexibility of operation types, ease of scheduling, and a high utilization of compute units. AMD has taken a somewhat similar, but still unique approach to their new architecture.
Introduction and Features
Our test bench has seen a flood of Z68-based enthusiast motherboards this fall and ASRock added their flagship Z68 Extreme 7 Gen 3 board to the top of the pile for testing. The Extreme 7 Gen 3 pulls out all the stops for extreme enthusiasts and ultra overclockers by arming this board with next-gen PCI-E 3.0 support and an NVIDIA NF200 chip to allow users to run dual graphics cards at PCI-E x16/x16 mode and three graphics cards at x16/x8/x8 respectively.
This $275 board brings with it a lot of features that users have been begging for like a graphical Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), Intel's Smart Response techology, dual gigabit LAN capabilities, and support for six USB 3.0 and six SATA 3 devices. They also didn't skimp on the power components by adding premium gold caps that are made in Japan and considered by many to be luxury capacitors.
Subject: Motherboards | October 14, 2011 - 04:09 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z68, pcie 3.0, gen3, asus
Spending time the San Francisco bay area usually results in some interesting finds. The first one I can talk about? An upcoming launch of refreshed Z68 motherboards from ASUS that include support for PCI Express 3.0 technology coming next year.
At first glance the board doesn't appear to be anything really different - it looks much like the Z68 boards currently on the market and the P67 boards before that. The heatsink and blue/black color scheme and the Deluxe moniker has been in use by ASUS since the initial Sandy Bridge processor releases. There are still 4 DIMM slots, 8 SATA ports, USB 3.0, Bluetooth, dual Gigabit Ethernet and more sitting right there, easy for us to see.
But unlike previous boards from ASUS, this one is the first we have seen to offer and validate support for the upcoming PCI Express 3.0 standard rated at 32GB/s rather than 16GB/s. ASUS is actually the last to market with the so-called "PCIe 3.0 ready boards" as we have seen boards from MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock and others on PC Perspective previously. In fact, we just published a review of the MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) board yesterday that offers the same feature.
Still, ASUS isn't one to sit by and let the competition pass so they built their own Z68 board that is now 100% ready for PCIe 3.0 devices and the pending Ivy Bridge processor from Intel. The board will support full speed PCIe 3.0 speeds in both single GPU and SLI/CrossFire configurations. In fact, ASUS says that both the BIOS and PCIe switches are ready, out of the box, with this new P8Z68 Deluxe GEN3 model, something that some other vendors' boards may not actually be. That would mean the necessity to have a Sandy Bridge processor on-hand to flash the BIOS before an Ivy Bridge CPU would POST. Just something to keep in mind.
ASUS is hesitant to call the PCIe 3.0 support anything but future-proofing for consumers worried about the next-generation of graphics solutions from NVIDIA and AMD, though I would point out to our readers that any cards that come out in 2012 that do run PCIe 3.0 will still work just fine on PCIe 2.0 boards.
That being said, an ASUS rep did mention in passing that they MIGHT have found another benefit to PCIe 3.0 on current systems and graphics cards: a reduction in microstuttering in PC gaming. Now, I have yet to see this benefit in person and my initial thought was that this was simply a placebo effect, but I am eager to try it out when I get this board at the labs.
Subject: Editorial, Motherboards | July 29, 2011 - 02:03 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z68, pcie 3.0, msi
Just Delivered is a section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.
As we gear up for the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop at Quakecon 2011 next weekend, August 6th, we are starting to get in some very interesting products. The coolest part? All of this is going to be GIVEN AWAY to attendees!!
MSI is supplying us with a pair of new motherboards for our system build contest that will be held during the workshop - faster person to get a system up and running will get some killer prizes. Even better, these are some of the FIRST Z68A-GD65 G3 boards in the US - the very same ones we saw at Computex in June sporting the world's first PCIe 3.0 implementation.
Sporting an LGA1155 socket and the new Z68 chipset, you get all the features associated with it including SSD caching and integrated graphics support.
The classic features from MSI continue to exist here with the Military Class II components as well as the always well-received OC Genie button.
It sports a total of 4 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DVI and VGA outputs and a lot more.
One thing to note: this motherboard will ONLY support PCIE 3.0 speeds once the Ivy Bridge processors are released later this year so unless you have some unreleased hardware (and please do share!) then you aren't going to be seeing the advantages of this tech quite yet.
Still, future proofing is good news!!
Thanks to MSI for these boards and if you are coming to our workshop be prepared for your chance to win one before the rest of the worlds gets their hands on them!
Subject: Motherboards | June 29, 2011 - 08:08 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: z68, pcie 3.0, motherboard, Intel
ASRock recently unveiled a new enthusiast Z68 chipset based motherboard supporting the PCI-Express 3.0 standard. Dubbed the Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3, the company claims that when coupled with the upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs, “users are assured to enjoy the full power of PCIe Gen3 standard” as a powerful gaming motherboard.
The board further features the LGA 1155 socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots capable of 2133 Mhz, two PCI-Express 3.0 slots, one PCI-Express 2.0 x16, one PCIe x1 slot, and two PCI slots. IO standards include the latest SATA III 6 Gbps, Intel’s SRT (Smart Response Technology) caching, and USB 3.0. The board is further capable of supporting either NVIDIA Quad SLI or AMD CrossfireX technology. An on-board PLX PEX8608 chip has been added to allow the PCIe 2.0 and PCIe 3.0 ports to coexist at their native speeds.
Rear connections include a special Fatal1ty mouse port that users can adjust the polling rate of to anywhere between 125 Hz to 1000 Hz, eight USB ports (likely four USB 2.0, four USB 3.0), VGA output, two HDMI outputs, Digital audio out, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 7.1 channel THX TruStudio audio outputs.
The ASRock board is ready to get its game on according to the company who stated that “is the world's first motherboard that supports PCIe 3.0 and goes on sale now.”