AMD Radeon HD 7950 Review Feat. Sapphire & XFX: Sewing Up The High-End Marketby Ryan Smith on January 31, 2012 9:02 AM EST
Meet the XFX R7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation
Our second partner card of the day is XFX’s R7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation. Like the 7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation we reviewed earlier this month, the 7950 BEDD is a factory overclocked card (Black Edition) using XFX’s Double Dissipation cooler.
Starting with the overclock, XFX is shipping the 7950 BEDD with a core clock of 900MHz and a memory clock of 5.5GHz. This represents a 100MHz (12.5%) core clock overclock and 500MHz (10%) memory clock overclock, putting it just shy of the 925MHz core clock the 7970 ships at.
In terms of construction like all of the other 7950 cards launching today XFX is using AMD’s 7950 PCB. This means the PCB measures 10.25” long and features 2 6pin PCIe power sockets towards the rear of the card, while at the front the card uses the AMD standard port configuration of 1 DL-DVI, 1 HDMi, and 2 mini-DisplayPorts. The one notable deviation here from the Sapphire card is that XFX has not included a BIOS selection switch, so the card lacks any kind of ability to easily recover from a bad BIOS flash, and if unlocking proves viable it would not be a good candidate for the process.
Meanwhile cooling is provided by XFX’s Double Dissipation cooler. This is the same heatsink and fan assembly we saw with the 7970 BEDD, which makes this an open air cooler using a pair of fans to push air along an aluminum heatsink running almost the entire length of the card. Because it’s the same assembly, the shrouding for the card sticks out over the end of the PCB, negating the benefit of the shorter 7950 PCB and making the card 10.65” long just like the 7970 BEDD.
Do note that while it uses the same fan and heatsink assembly, Double Dissipation does not mean it uses the same vapor chamber assembly to transfer heat from the card. Where the 7970 BEDD used a fairly large vapor chamber, the 7950 BEDD uses a much smaller vapor chamber that only makes contact with roughly half of the heatsink, meaning that heat isn’t being transferred to the extremities of the heatsink nearly as well on the 7950 BEDD. Furthermore the aluminum plate covering the RAM and MOSFETs is poorly sized, leaving parts of the RAM chips (and their thermal pads) exposed. We’ll see how this plays out when we get to our testing, but the 7950 BEDD is clearly not as well built as the 7970 BEDD.
Rounding out the package is the same collection of extras that we saw in the 7970 BEDD. Inside you’ll find the usual driver CD and quick start guide, along with a metal XFX case badge, a mid-length CrossFire bridge, and a passive HDMI to SL-DVI adaptor. All of this is packed in one of XFX’s pleasantly small boxes, which doesn’t use much more space than the card itself.
The MSRP on the 7950 BEDD is $499, $50 over the MSRP for a regular 7950 and making it one of the more expensive 7950s launching today. XFX is offering a base 2 year warranty on the 7950 BEDD, which can be extended to a lifetime warranty by registering the card within 30 days of purchasing it.