AMD fires up its Radeon HD 7970

AMD has rolled out its 28nm Radeon HD 7970 graphics card for desktop PCs. The new card offers gamers an improvement of over 150% in performance (sq mm) compared to prior-gen GPUs.

“Current-gen console hardware may be getting a bit long in the tooth by now, but PC gaming is alive and well. Software sales were over $15 billion in 2011 and are expected to exceed approximately $20 billion by 2013,” an AMD rep told TG Daily.

”Essentially, the 7970 represents our deep commitment to PC gamers, PC game developers, and the PC gaming industry. It is safe to say we are more committed to the PC gamer than ever before and plan strong game partnerships throughout 2012.”

According to the rep, the Radeon HD 7970 is capable of converting unused power headroom into extra performance by dynamically controlling clock speeds – providing advanced performance inside of a particular power envelope specificed  by gamers.

The graphics card also boasts ZeroCore Power technology to ensure that very little power is wasted when the 7970 isn’t in use, facilitating lower idle power than other cards on the market.

So how does AMD’s 7970 stack up again Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 580? 

Well, according to Ryan Shrout of PC Perspective, the new AMD card is about 13% faster in Battlefield 3 at 1920×1080, and a full 20% faster at the high-end 2560×1600 option. 

The Radeon HD 7970 also maintained performance leads in other games like DiRT 3 (13% at 2560×1600), Batman: Arkham City (almost 20%), Metro 2033 (about 30%) and Deus Ex: Human Revolution (~43%). 

Interestingly enough, Skyrim was the one game that didn’t show a huge performance gap between the HD 7970 and the GTX 580 – with a slight nod to the GTX 580. But as Shrout points out, Skyrim is much more CPU-bound than other titles. 

“If you love fast graphics cards, you are simply going to be infatuated with the new Radeon HD 7970. For the first time in a couple of generations, AMD will have the fastest single-GPU solution on the market – at least until we see what Nvidia is going to do later in the year,” writes Shrout.

“The Tahiti GPU offers more than enough horsepower to push past the year-old GTX 580 and take the performance crown and is able to do so using less power than Nvidia’s GeForce option as well. With performance and efficiency this impressive we can easily see the upcoming Southern Islands based Radeon 7800 and 7700 cards offering just as compelling a solution to the graphics market.”

The AMD Radeon HD 7970 will be available on January 9, 2012 at an approximate $550 price point.  

Additional specs include:

– Up to 925MHz Engine Clock

– 3GB GDDR5 Memory

– 1375MHz Memory Clock (5.5Gbps GDDR5)

– 264GB/s memory bandwidth (maximum)

– 3.79 TFLOPs Single Precision compute power

– 947 GFLOPs Double Precision compute power

– 32 compute units (2048 Stream Processors)

– 128 Texture Units

– 128 Z/Stencil ROP Units

– 32 Color ROP Units

– Dual Geometry Engines

– Dual Asynchronous Compute Engines (ACE)

– PCI Express 3.0 x16 bus interface

– DirectX 11-capable graphics

– DirectCompute 11

– Accelerated multi-threading

– OpenGL 4.2 support