Hey hey hey now... a year and seven days after the release of the Radeon HD 6900 series, AMD is already moving it's high-end platform towards a new architecture.
Face it, value for money wise the 6900 really isn't a bad deal, but performance wise the architecture just had a hard time dealing with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 570 and GTX 580. NVIDIA is like a bear in hibernation with bit of a dull lineup for the Christmas 2011 season. AMD on the other hand is moving forward real fast. They are transitioning towards the all new 28nm fabrication node which allows them to place more transistors into a die package at lower voltages.
Now we don't know how their yields are at the moment, but they are good enough to launch the first products, that's for sure. The good news is that AMD launched 28nm and starts with their high-end products, whereas, NVIDIA next year will (likely) do that vice versa. This will give AMD a competitive edge.
So this product review really is a bit of a treat, we as technical press, are allow to show you the Radeon HD 7970 (and only the R7970). That makes this primarily a paper launch BUT we expect decent volume availability in within a week or two already, so really it's not that bad. There actually MIGHT be little stock available today.
Injected in the 499EUR / 549 USD price tag bracket the product will have to compete directly with the equally expensive GeForce GTX 580, it will actually be a decent notch better then that IMHO. The results that you'll witness today will not dishearten. Where it matters (the latest and newer games) the Radeon HD 7970 will be a good 20%, 30% sometimes even 40% faster then the competition, and in the world of enthusiast graphics performance that's what we call, a product with a little extra booty... well actually I call it that, but my mind is twisted (hey I admit it).
So welcome to our Radeon HD 7970 review, a product with very nice game performance, a great feature set and a frame buffer that will pop your eyes out as yeah the 3GB was correct, GDDR5 though.
With the GPU developed under codename "Tahiti" let's have a look at this Southern Island family member. Next page where we'll startup the technology overview first.
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