The Test

Starting with the launch of the 7970 we will be using our new GPU testbed, replacing both our hardware and most of our benchmarks. On the hardware side we’re using an Intel Core i7 3960X overclocked to 4.3GHz on an EVGA X79 SLI motherboard, giving us access to PCIe 3.0 while keeping most CPU bottlenecks at bay.  While we’re only looking at a single card today, based on some informal surveys for multi-GPU testing we will continue to test our cards adjacent to each other to represent the worst case scenario, as it turns out there are a number of users out there who do use that arrangement even if they’re not in the majority.

On the software side we’ve refreshed most of our benchmarks; the suite is tilted towards DX11, but there are still enough DX9/10 tests to get a good idea of how new cards compare to pre-DX11 cards. On that note I know we have a lot of Skyrim fans out there, and while we wanted to include Skyrim benchmark we’re having trouble coming up with any good test cases (that don’t involve INI hacking) that aren’t incredibly CPU limited. If you have any suggestions, please drop me a line.

For drivers on AMD’s cards we’re using AMD’s beta 8.921.2-111215a drivers, which identify themselves as Catalyst 11.12 but are otherwise indistinguishable from the Catalyst 12.1 preview released last week. On that note, for those of you who have been asking about support for D3D11 Driver Command Lists – an optional D3D11 feature that helps with multithreaded rendering and is NVIDIA’s secret sauce for Civilization V – AMD has still not implemented support for it as of this driver.

For NVIDIA’s cards we’re using NVIDIA’s latest beta driver, 290.36.

Finally, as we’ve only had a limited amount of time with the 7970, we’ve narrowed our suite of cards just slightly in order to make the deadline. For those of you curious about how middle-tier cards such as the GTX 560 series and the Radeon HD 6800 series or various multi-card SLI and CrossFire setups compare, we’ll be adding new results to Bench throughout the rest of the month, and Eyefinity soon after that. For the time being since we only have a single card, we’re focusing on single card results with a single monitor.

CPU: Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4.3GHz
Motherboard: EVGA X79 SLI
Chipset Drivers: Intel 9.​2.​3.​1022
Power Supply: Antec True Power Quattro 1200
Hard Disk: Samsung 470 (240GB)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1867 4 x 4GB (8-10-9-26)
Video Cards: AMD Radeon HD 7970
AMD Radeon HD 6990
AMD Radeon HD 6970
AMD Radeon HD 6950
AMD Radeon HD 5870
AMD Radeon HD 5850
AMD Radeon HD 4870
AMD Radeon HD 3870
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 290.36 Beta
AMD Catalyst Beta 8.921.2-111215a
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

 

Meet the Radeon HD 7970 Crysis: Warhead
POST A COMMENT

292 Comments

View All Comments

  • Wreckage - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    That's kind of disappointing. Reply
  • atticus14 - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    oh look its that guy that was banned from the forums for being an overboard nvidia zealot. Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - link

    Maybe he meant "somebody @ anandtech is again pissing on AMDs cookies"?

    I mean "oh, it's fastest and coolest single GPU card on the market, it is slightly more expensive than competitor's, but it kinda sucks since AMD didn't go "significantly cheaper than nVidia" route" is hard to call unbiased, eh?

    Kind of disappointing conclusion, indeed.
    Reply
  • ddarko - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    To each their own but I think this is undeniable impressive:

    "Even with the same number of ROPs and a similar theoretical performance limit (29.6 vs 28.16), 7970 is pushing 51% more pixels than 6970 is" and

    "it’s clear that AMD’s tessellation efficiency improvements are quite real, and that with Tahiti AMD can deliver much better tessellation performance than Cayman even at virtually the same theoretical triangle throughput rate."
    Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    I prefer nVidia products, mostly because the games I play (EA/DICE Battlefield-series) are heavily sponsered by nVidia, giving them a developement-edge.

    That out of the way, nVidia has had their problems just like this card is going to experience. Remember when Fermi came out, it was a performance joke, not because it was slow, but because it used a ridiculous amount of power to do the same thing as an ATI card while costing substantially more.

    Fermi wasn't successful until second-generation products were released, most obviously the GTX460 and GT430, reasonably priced cards with quality drivers and low power consumption. But it took over a year for nVidia to release those, and it will take over a year for ATI to make this architecture shine.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    Wat? The only thing there might be an issue with is drivers. As far as power consumption goes, this should be better than Cayman. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, March 11, 2012 - link

    He's saying the 28mn node will have further power improvements. Take it as an amd compliment - rather you should have. Reply
  • StriderTR - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    EA/Dice are just as heavily sponsored by AMD, more in fact. Not sure where your getting your information, but its .. well ... wrong. Nvidia bought the rights to advertize the game with their hardware, AMD is heavily sponsoring BF3 and related material. Example, The Controller.

    Also, the GTX 580 and HD 6970 perform within a few FPS of each other on BF3. I run dual 6970's, by buddy runs dual 580's, we are almost always within 2 FPS of one and other at any given time.

    AMD will have the new architecture "shining" in far under a year. They have been focused on it for a long time already.

    Simple bottom line, both Nvidia and AMD make world class cards these days. No matter your preference, you have cards to choose from that will rock any games on the planet for a long time to come.
    Reply
  • deaner - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    Umm, yea no. Not so much with nvidia and EA/DICE Batttlefield series giving nvidia a development edge. (if it does, the results are yet to be seen)
    Facts are facts, the 5 series to our current review today, the 7970, do and again continue to edge the Nvidia lines. The AMD Catalyst performance of particular note, BF3, has been far superior.

    Reply
  • RussianSensation - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    ."..most obviously the GTX460 and GT430, reasonably priced cards with quality drivers and low power consumption. But it took over a year for nVidia to release those"

    GTX470/480 launched March 26, 2010
    GTX460 launched July 12, 2010
    GT430 launched October 11, 2010

    Also, Fermi's performance at launch was not a joke. GTX470 delivered performance between HD5850 and HD5870, priced in the middle. Looking now, GTX480 ~ HD6970. So again, both of those cards did relatively well at the time. Once you consider overclocking of the 470/480, they did extremely well, both easily surprassing the 5870 in performance in overclocked states.

    Sure power consumption was high, but that's the nature of the game for highest-end GPUs.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now