Six weeks ago we did our initial test of the Quadfire beast that is our HD7970 rig. Although the results we obtained were, of course, incredible, we were disappointed that a combination of factors meant we couldn't push the boat out and overclock the cards for the ultimate numbers.
This is especially true because we know what a complete monster the HD7970 is when it's overclocked. Sure it's a fabulous card at stock, but there is so much extra performance waiting to be unlocked that we couldn't help have an itch we hadn't yet scratched.
Thanks to our friends at ASUS we've managed to revisit our old results and strike them from the record so that we can really see what ludicrous amounts of money, and no respect for the electricity meter, can do when poked with a stick.
Yes a combination of a BIOS update for the ASUS Rampage IV Extreme, and the always trick ASUS BIOS on the cards themselves, we've managed to push our four HD7970s to a pretty big 1225MHz.
4x ASUS Radeon HD7970 @ 1225MHz
Catalyst HD7970 Drivers 11.12
Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4.8GHz
ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
2x Corsair AX1200W
Noctua NF-F12 Fans
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Fancy some hardware porn? Of course you do. Read on.
A Little Eye-Candy
What's the point in having the finest hardware currently available, if we don't show it off? On the Rampage IV Extreme we have the awesome Intel i7-3960X overclocked to a whopping 4.8GHz and kept cool with the Corsair H100. Of course the main event is the four ASUS HD7970s. More power!!
Speaking of more power, yes again we're running two ATX1200W PSUs. Last time we tested the Quadfire people wondered why we had two. The main reason is with 8 8pin PCIe connectors needed then a 6 pin for the motherboard, and we didn't want to use Molex adaptors. One of the PSUs is run with the Corsair blue-braided cables for one GPU and the system, and the other is solely for the other three GPUs.
Given the amount of heat that this puts out we wouldn't recommend squeezing it into a small case. Looks epic though.
3D Mark Vantage
Amazingly enough we're probably CPU limited, despite a hefty 'standard cooling' overclock. The stock setup gave us 65k and 50k, whereas with our overclocked cards we see 67365 and 51673. We'd probably need the LGA2011 version of the old Skulltrail to really put the ASUS HD7970s under pressure.
3D Mark 11
Similarly to the Vantage result, whereas we previously saw 22k and 11k in 3D Mark 11, this time round we've got 25481 in P-Score, and a mighty 12397 in the Extreme preset. To put that into context the MARS 2 SLI setup saw 7694 X Marks. Or, to look at it another way, by overclocking our cards we've gained a HD6970s worth of extra performance.
3DMark 11 P Score HWBOT Validation
3DMark 11 X Score HWBOT Validation
So let's get a few things out of the way beforehand to hopefully calm some of the more vocal forum members.
Yes, we know this is overkill. We know this is insanity. There is a clue in the title. We know that no right minded person would want four of these things in their PC solely for gaming. It's all about the quest for enormous benchmark results and nothing else. For proof of this, and also explaining why we had two Corsair AX1200W PSUs, under loading the bench rig was sucking a magnificent 1290W. So this is the equivalent of running a kettle all the time. It certainly gets warm enough to boil water when it's running. Finally in our brief 'heading off at the pass', it's clear from our 3D Mark P scores that even with the 4.8GHz Hexcore i7 under the hood, we're CPU limited!
So it's too expensive, too hot, too hard on the electric bill and you can't get enough CPU power to make the most of it anyway. We know this.
What it is, is hilariously powerful. Well over 50000 X Marks and 65000 P Score is frankly insanity. We all remember when Vantage was released and how we all dreamt of scoring 10000 P score. Now hardware has reached such a point that even 3D Mark 11 is providing only a slight challenge. Thanks to this monster haul of hardware and a couple of bleeding ears we have managed to go top of the UK benchers in all of the tests we ran (correct at the time of going to press) which is not to be sniffed at with some of the epic benchers that grace our shores.
If benchmarking is something that interests you then be sure to have a word with the boys on the OC3D Benchmark Team who will be more than happy to walk you through do and dont's of eeking every last drop of performance from your system for benching.
Therefore if you have won the lottery, live in a fridge, own a windfarm and are solely interested in having the very biggest scores currently available, this is absolutely the setup for you..... If you dont plan on gaming at all!
For the rest of us, it's like when you watch Top Gear and they show the latest Veyron. It's a dream machine, but one that will have to remain exactly that.
Thanks to ASUSfor supplying the HD7970s for our Quadfire review. Let us know what you think in our forums.