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 25, 2012 - 07:42 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, radeon, HD 7970, 7970, southern islands, tahiti
If you have been looking for a Radeon HD 7970 graphics card since its official release on January 9th and our review on December 22nd, then you better hurry up, as Newegg is showing the cards as in stock as of today.
There are three listed, all at stock clock speeds:
Also, Amazon.com lists a few but only one as currently in stock (with 8 remaining!!). In reality, there aren't that many people interested in buying $550+ graphics cards but those of you that want the absolute fastest single GPU card on the planet, this is it.
You can check out review of the HD 7970 reference card right here!!
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 9, 2012 - 12:00 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, radeon, 7970, HD 7970
Well, today is the day! You should be on the lookout for the brand new AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB graphics cards that we first were able to show you on December 22nd! And today we posted our review of the retail-ready XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation card with overclocked speeds - be sure to give it a read as well.
Scheduled to be on sale today, I decided to take a quick look around the Internet...
Newegg is on auto-notify for ALL Radeon HD 7970s...
Amazon shows a single card as in stock, from Sapphire, selling for a staggering $683. But it has Prime shipping!
Our search at TigerDirect came up empty.
Someplace called ExcaliburPC shows one for sale at $637, but is backordered.
Finally, Provantage shows a whole lot of nothing...
I am hoping that stock will improve as the day goes on and some of these vendors start to show availability in their systems. Otherwise, AMD is going to have a lot of explaining to do.
Feel free to post below if you find them for sale or not!
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 126.96.36.19967 @ 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
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 30, 2011 - 10:23 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: southern islands, radeon, hd 7770, hd 7750, cape verde, amd
According to a story posted over at Fudzilla, there are new details leaking out about the February release of the AMD Radeon HD 7700-series of graphics cards. Based on the 28nm Cape Verde chip we first heard about last month at the AMD GPU Tech Day in Austin, this is the smallest die based on the new Southern Islands architecture. If you haven't read about all the changes that SI brings to the table (and there are many) then you should check out our Radeon HD 7970 review while you're here.
The specifications of the Radeon HD 7700 (Cape Verde XT) according to the leak are 896 stream processors (14 CUs), 56 texture units and 16 ROPs with a clock speed of 900 MHz. The memory system will be based around 1GB of GDDR5 on a 128-bit memory bus at a 1375 MHz clock rate for a total bandwidth of 88 GB/s. The Radeon HD 7750 (Cape Verde Pro) steps down to 832 stream processors (13 CUs), 52 texture units and 16 ROPs with a 900 MHz clock speed. The memory system will still be 128-bit with slightly slower memory for a total of 80 GB/s of bandwidth.
Compared to the Radeon HD 7970, these specs are pretty meager. The Tahiti GPU has 2048 stream processors and a 384-bit memory bus which would likely make a dramatic difference in performance, as expected Still, for the estimated $149 price tag AMD could have a winner on its hands.
Our estimation of the Cape Verde GPU based on the rumored specifications. It is also possible that AMD would remove the dual geometry engines at the top and go with a single.
Finally, there is less information about the 7800-series (Pitcairn): it could include a 256-bit memory bus and will obviously include more compute units for its $299 and $249 price tags. If those leaked prices are legit, that is a HUGE gap in price between the HD 7870 and the HD 7970 currently set to be sold at $549!
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 26, 2011 - 12:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tahiti, southern islands, radeon, amd, 7990, 7970
The big talk during the holiday break was AMD's release of the Radeon HD 7970 3GB graphics card - the new single-GPU performance leader. I gave the card our Editor's Choice award for simply impressing the hell out of us, all while keeping power consumption in check thanks to the TSMC 28nm process technology it is built on. Being the first card to support the upcoming DX11.1 and PCI Express 3.0 are just a bit of icing on the fruitcake.
During our talks with AMD they teased a dual-GPU version of Southern Islands they were calling "New Zealand". According to a report from Softpedia that card might be available sooner than we thought - sometime in the first quarter of 2012. Because the new Tahiti GPU is actually more power efficient than Cayman, seeing the pending Radeon HD 7990 with two full powered GPUs isn't out the question though we would expect to see slightly lower clock speeds.
Because of the ZeroCore Technology implemented this generation of GPU from AMD, the HD 7990 will be able to run at basically the same power levels as the Radeon HD 7970 at idle and at the Windows desktop.
The most interesting part? This would give the HD 7990 a 6GB frame buffer, 3GB per GPU as we see today on the HD 7970. Chances are this would give the graphics card more memory than many of our readers primary computer...
If you are interested in this type of card, start saving your pennies now. When the Radeon HD 6990 launched (the Cayman-based dual-GPU card) it was priced at $699 and never went any lower. With the price of a single Southern Islands GPU curently at $549, expect to see even higher numbers than the HD 6990 has. I hope we don't see the same availability issues with the pending HD 7990 release but you can't be sure.
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.
Speed Bumps and Unlocked Processors
AMD has announced the latest members of their fairly successful APU series for both the desktop and the mobile markets. The original release in June of this year saw the first fully integrated 32 nm APUs from AMD. These proved to be quite popular with their decent CPU performance and outstanding integrated graphics speed and quality. The launch was not entirely smooth for AMD though, even though the company had been shipping products to partners and OEMs for some months.
The desktop saw limited SKUs, and the availability of the top end parts was disappointing to say the least. AMD and their partners at GLOBALFOUNDRIES were not able to produce enough usable chips to supply demand. Quantities were tight throughout the summer, and the mobile market did not see as big of a boost for AMD as was hoped. AMD did get a lot of new business though, as the thermal and power envelopes of these A-series chips were able to match that of Intel.
Subject: General Tech | December 14, 2011 - 12:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tahiti, radeon, pitcairn, overclock, HD7000, amd
One quickly forgets about the initially released reference GPUs once the cards with custom coolers, capacitors and PCBs arrive on the market all cool and factory overclocked. Usually the original GPU and card designer, in this case AMD, licenses theit top tier partners, like MSI , Gigabyte or Sapphire, to sell cards following a design that AMD provides along with the license to design and sell the cards. As SemiAccurate points out, this has lead to a market where the only unique feature they can add is usually armed and wearing a bikini. After the card has been on the market for a while, then AMD allows non-reference designs to appear for some cards from some manufacturers.
Not so with one of the four lineups of GPUs soon to arrive on the market, AMD will be freeing us from the tyranny of Ruby in different outfits and allow their partners to modify the Tahiti Pro cards from the get go. Expect to see a large difference in the appearance and specifications of AMD's new high end series of cards. That is the only one of the four to get this treatment, Tahiti, Pitcairn and Pitcairn XT cards will still come out only as copies of the reference card design. This may change over time but for now the idea of custom cooler, power distribution and PCB design is something to look forward to in the coming years.
"Back to the new news, and it concerns the Tahiti Pro card. Word has reached SemiAccurate that Tahiti Pro will be unconstrained to the normal reference designs. If you recall, most GPU manufacturers will force AIBs to make cards based on the reference design for the first 3 months or so, and there are a variety of very good business reasons to do this.
Unfortunately, it leads to a problem where the reviews all are the same, mainly because all the cards are the same. The main difference between manufacturers comes down to what color the AIB decides to put on the chrome bikini of the girl with the big sword riding the mythical beast just below their logo. We are partial to Hafnium bikini’s on women riding giant Were-moles around here. Luckily, Tahiti Pro changes this."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- NVIDIA Releases Source To CUDA Compiler @ Slashdot
- Global DRAM oversupply expected to fall to 13% in 1H12, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Futuremark 3DMark 11 v1.0.3 Now Available on NGOHQ.com
- TP-Link TL-WR2543ND router @ The Inquirer
- TRENDnet TEW-691GR 450Mbps Wireless N Gigabit Router Review @ Real World Labs
- The Antec Giveaways: Part 2 @ AnandTech
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