VTX3D HD7970 PCIE2 vs PCIE3 Review

Test Setup and Memory Usage

VTX3D HD7970 Review

Test Setup

As it's the new year we say goodbye to our well-used i7-950 setup and move on to a LGA2011 based system. However this obviously has more cores and much more power so for our first review we're testing at stock on both systems so that we can directly compare the HD7970 to the other cards we've tested, but also see how much of a benefit the very latest hardware can have.

As well as changing our test rig we've also adjusted our graphs. Because the maximum framerate is so high it can make the important bits, minimum and average framerate hard to read. So we've split them out in to two graphs. This should make it all much clearer to read. We definitely want feedback on this. Maximum framerate is nearly pointless so is it something you're interested in? Let us know in our forums.

Our old system :

VTX3D HD7970
Catalyst HD7970 Drivers 11.12
Intel Core-i7 950 @ 4GHz
Gigabyte G1 Assassin
Corsair AX1200W
6GB Mushkin Redline
Noctua NH-D14
Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Our new system is built as follows :

VTX3D HD7970
Catalyst HD7970 Drivers 11.12
Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4GHz
ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
Corsair AX1200W
Corsair GTX8
Corsair H100
Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Memory Usage

There have been a few people wondering if the giant amounts of GDDR5 on the latest cards is worthwhile. So we thought we'd just show you how much memory is used by each of the games in our tests. As you can see even the monster textures of the Crysis 2 Hi-Res pack don't really fill our HD7970 up.

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Most Recent Comments

08-01-2012, 23:57:10

tinytomlogan


Today we start our mammoth look at the HD7970 with the VTX3D version, and a change of testing methodology.

Continue Reading

09-01-2012, 01:27:56

cerbrus2
only have to wait 12 hours till i get my mitts on one

09-01-2012, 03:14:29

Solidarity
It's good to see it doesn't matter too much.

09-01-2012, 03:31:26

dugdiamond
nice

09-01-2012, 08:01:13

Rastalovich
Good read.

Very hit and miss as to the newer kit helping in any way. Some yes, some no. But I'd still be banking that the x79 pcie3.0 lane usage isn't being capitalised on by the mobo for anything other than storage, at this point - so Intel boast. Which isn't fair atm as the 7970 is pcie3.0 boasting on AMD's website.

Artificial benchmarking-wize, for the higher numbers you want for your submission, you'd stick with the "older" i7... which is bizarre. Verging on madness imo. Although I do recognize that there are bios upd8s for mobos, particularly Gigabyte I seen the other day, that are allowing higher oc etc. To that extent it's still a work in progress I guess.

Still bizarre to me. Newer cpu, newer mobo, quad memory - I'd expect more. Seems the realization is that the z77 (or whatever they'll be released as) will be the pci3.0 'real utilizers'. We will have to see.

On another note, I'd be interested in knowing if Mafia 2 and Metro 2033 were benched with PhysX used on the cards. I know it's classed as "unfair" to do so, by those who can't use it gpu-wize, but if you're looking at a set of results of which to base your purchase of a game to play either of them, and your 440+, you'd want to be sure you can enable everything and expect the same results. Especially when comparing with the older 580 @ 360+ Today.

Judging from the euphoric nature of the responses to 7970 reviews, I thought it cleared the 580 by more than it did in many graphs here. It certainly does an outstanding job of raising the minimum fps across the board, even in those it didn't get a better average fps in. A good die shrink, which I'm pretty sure is the best you can hope for from nVidia for a fair time to come.

Memory usage is something people don't closely look at. I can remember benching one rig with.. GTA X (not sure if 2/3 or whatever) and the graphics levels were not permitted to be raised any further, quality wize, cos the preferences showed that the graphics memory wouldn't take it. And this wasn't a cheap card, so memory can be important. It would be nice to see more games show such a memory usage bar in their preferences.

It's good to have a choice from both card manufacturers to chose from now, although I didn't think the 6970 was "that-bad" as people reported.

09-01-2012, 09:08:03

yassarikhan786
Really awesome card.

09-01-2012, 11:41:51

dipzy
Im supprised, they turned out to be awesome. I wonder what ASUS have up their sleeves, an Ares II?

10-01-2012, 19:43:18

MaXiMiZe
Good card, however I think they focused too much on beating the 500 series, rather than thinking ahead and making sure they remain competitive with nvidia's forthcoming 28nm offerings.

10-01-2012, 21:38:54

unknownuser200
edit

21-01-2012, 13:02:40

MutleyUK
Good to see ATI/AMD come up trumps Gives the Green team something to think about and lets face it without competition prices would soar. A bit pricy for me at the moment and i will stick with my 2x 6950's in crossfire . A great report as usual from the impartial main man "TT". PS Im not a AMD Fanboy have had Nvidea cards to.

21-01-2012, 13:18:31

MaXiMiZe
Quote:
Originally Posted by MutleyUK View Post

Good to see ATI/AMD come up trumps Gives the Green team something to think about and lets face it without competition prices would soar. A bit pricy for me at the moment and i will stick with my 2x 6950's in crossfire . A great report as usual from the impartial main man "TT". PS Im not a AMD Fanboy have had Nvidea cards to.
Xfire 6950's are awesome. Tried bios unlocking them ?
Reply
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