XFX R7950 Black Edition Review
It's always interesting to see how identical underpinnings can lead to a very different target audience. The HD7950 is clearly a very powerful card, but the XFX take upon it definitely ends up being aimed at people who more want a 'fire and forget' style card when compared to the HIS Digital reference card.
Clearly the Tahiti core responds well to overclocking. In fact we're struggling to think of another GPU that has such a clear improvement across all of our tests when it's overclocked compared to the stock settings.
However, we know that not everybody is comfortable in overclocking their card and so their eye is always drawn to the cards that are faster out of the box. Here is where the XFX Black Edition gets a clear advantage.
Barring a couple of tests the extra 100MHz really makes a difference, giving you those vital few extra frames to provide a smoother playing experience. Overclocking it is as easy as you could hope for, but it's a surprise that the XFX ended up being 25MHz shy of the HIS on both GPU Core and Memory speed. Generally, and further demonstration of how well the HD7950 scales with clock speed, those few extra MHz meant that the XFX offering placed in the second and third spots in our testing.
The cooler is excellent. It looks absolutely gorgeous and keeps the temperatures much lower than the reference design. With two fans you're always balancing temperatures with noise. The better heat-sink allows the fans to spin slower, but two fans will always be louder than one. In the end it's louder the reference design, but better at keeping the card cool.
If your interest was piqued by the excellent performance of the HD7950 but you prefer to just plug a card in and forget about it rather than tweak and tune it then the XFX HD7950 Black Edition with Double Dissipation, a lengthy name if ever there was one, should certainly be high on your list.
For its excellent stock performance and great cooler we're happy to award it our OC3D Gold Award.
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