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.


Top: 7950 BEDD. Bottom: 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.

Meet the Sapphire HD 7950 Overclock Edition The Test
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  • chizow - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    Now it starts to become obvious why people shouldn't be doing cartwheels in the streets over Southern Islands. Its a nice chip, it really is. But the problem with its pricing just became even more obvious with the 7950 as AMD is selling you yesterday's performance at next-gen prices. In other words, if you wanted this level of performance, you could've gotten it a year ago with the GTX 580 for almost the same price....over a year ago....

    And that's why AMD's pricing of these parts fails. With the 7950 it all comes into focus and if it wasn't clear before, it will become crystal once Kepler drives the nail home when it launches at its expected prices and performance levels. What's left for AMD to launch? A 7870 that's as fast as the 6970 but costs $50 more? A 7850 that's as fast as the 6950 but costs $75 more? Do we really think Nvidia is going to launch a 580 equivalent at 28nm and price it at $450? See how it all comes into focus?

    But Nvidia really has a chance to return the favor to AMD here with a pricing debacle of GTX 260/280-esque proportions. If GK104 comes within spitting distance of the 7970 or even 7950 at $300, AMD is going to look really bad. If GK110 beats the 7970 by 20-25% and costs only $500, AMD execs will be jumping out of windows. We're talking about issuing rebate checks that AMD can't afford to write on every 7950/7970 sold at these ridiculous prices for however many months it takes until Nvidia releases Kepler.
    Reply
  • Goty - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    1) I believe you mean "consistently faster than last-gen performance for the same price", which is how it will remain until NVIDIA gets a card out that can compete.

    and

    2) Keep dreaming.
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    1) Well the good news is Nvidia decided to compete over a year ago when they launched the GTX 580. At these prices AMD has set, Nvidia is still amazingly competing with their 14 month old last-gen parts.

    and

    2) The better news is AMD has set the bar extremely low for Nvidia. Should be easy pickings for Kepler.
    Reply
  • halo37253 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    Yet a overclocked 7970 is about as fast as a gtx590, yeah... nvidia sure is competing. lol

    Really there is no reason to get a nvidia card right now, with the gtx580 and its continuing high costs not even able to hold its own again even a 7950. Once the 7xx series launches I can see AMD launching the hd89xx series no to long after with XDR2 memory and higher clocked cores.

    For overall performance per watt it seems AMD cant be touched right now.
    Reply
  • kashifme21 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    The real question is, Do we really need these upgrades anymore. I mean todays games barely push tech. Most of my friends are happy with their 5870's and GTX 480's we bought about 2 years back

    Thing is games are designed with consoles in mind and with next gen console hardware rumors to be around the level of 6670 GPUs, why would anyone upgrade anymore, unless they intend to be running multiple screens.

    I personally run GTX 580 SLI. I think i personally wont be upgrading until i see a game that actually stresses my system in eyefinity settings.

    Its a sad state but many games recently released dont even support freatures like AA or even any pc options, games are rather straight console ports, with PC as an after thought. Why buy such expensive hardware for ports?
    Reply
  • jleach1 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    I agree. Even my 5850 hasn't stressed much in recent games...and I bought it for 280 USD a couple years ago.

    Performance per dollars, and temp per dollar, AMD is on target, more often than not....now, if only we could get the FX sorted out...

    I used to buy nvidia cards, but haven't since the 5000 series, and it looks to continue this way.

    The moral is, competition is ultimately what brings prices down and motivation to up the performance.

    I hope AMD can throw out something cool soon on the CPU side, because while I always have, and likely will continue to buy Intel, I love the competition. Sorry, I sorta gave up on AMD after the i7-930 came out. But that doesn't mean I'm not rooting for them...even if it is only for the sake of competition.
    Reply
  • TerdFerguson - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    On the other hand, upgrading the 5850 that you've had for several years is going to require you to jump to a /higher/ price tier. That's insanity. If that kind of pricing structure existed for ANY other consumer electronics product, people would be vocally antagonistic. AMD deserves some antagonism. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - link

    I disagree. Supply and demand. They don't have the supply and there's a big enough demand to keep prices inflated. Nobody can be upset at all about the prices. If you don't like them, don't buy the product. It's that simple. Capitalism fails us often, but here's a case where it works just fine. :) Reply
  • TerdFerguson - Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - link

    By your foolish reasoning, AMD would be in top form if it produced and sold just a couple of hand-crafted units each quarter. That they can't meet volume demand is a failing, not a benefit. Reply
  • artk2219 - Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - link

    I've got to say that I agree with JohnnyDough, in the short term keeping prices high and making a killing off of each card sold is a good thing for AMD, not so great for us consumers but again, its not like anyone is forcing you to buy it. However you are correct in that in the long term that is a failing strategy for a company like AMD, its not like they're making luxury sports cars :). Either way it makes no difference to me and it puts them in a great position for a coming price war with Nvidia and Kepler which will inevitably be faster, I just hope Nvidia does something about their power profile. Reply

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