The new Radeon HD 7950, which is being released today, is a more affordable version of the Radeon HD 7970. Let’s check its performance and see if it is a good choice for users looking for a high-end video card.
The Radeon HD 7950 is a Radeon HD 7970 with fewer processors and lower clock rates. It is based on the same new architecture as the more expensive model, dubbed “Graphics Core Next” or simply “GCN,” and supports the new PCI Express 3.0 connection and the latest DirectX version (11.1). For a detailed explanation of the new features present on this new architecture, please read our Radeon HD 7970 review.
At USD 450, the Radeon HD 7950 fills the void between the GeForce GTX 570 (USD 370-400, if you can still find a video card based on this chip) and the GeForce GTX 580 (USD 470-500 for models with the standard clocks and 1.5 GB of memory) in terms of pricing.
In the table below, we compare the main specifications of the video cards included in our review. The prices listed below do not include rebates and are for the models with the clock and memory configurations listed below. Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review, except for the Radeon HD 7950, which is the price advertised by AMD.
|Video Card||Core Clock||Shader Clock||Memory Clock (Effective)||Memory Interface||Memory Transfer Rate||Memory||Shaders||DirectX||Price|
|Radeon HD 7950||800 MHz||800 MHz||5 GHz||384-bit||240 GB/s||3 GB GDDR5||1,792||11.1||USD 450|
|Radeon HD 7970||925 MHz||925 MHz||5.5 GHz||384-bit||264 GB/s||3 GB GDDR5||2,048||11.1||USD 550-560|
|Radeon HD 6970||880 MHz||880 MHz||5.5 GHz||256-bit||176 GB/s||2 GB GDDR5||1,536||11||USD 330-370|
|GeForce GTX 580||772 MHz||1,544 MHz||4,008 MHz||384-bit||192.4 GB/s||1.5 GB GDDR5||512||11||USD 470-500|
NVIDIA offers a 3 GB version of the GeForce GTX 580 for USD 550, which is the true competitor against the Radeon HD 7970. However, we didn’t have one to include in our comparison.
Today, only the LGA2011 Core i7 processors (“Sandy Bridge-E”) have a PCI Express 3.0 controller. Therefore, we tested the video cards using a Core i7-3960X processor on a motherboard based on the Intel X79 chipset. In our Radeon HD 7970 review, we discovered that, at this time, there is no difference between using a PCI Express 2.0 or a PCI Express 3.0 connection. We also discovered that if you are using a high-end video card, the CPU doesn’t affect gaming performance.
Now let’s take a complete look at the AMD Radeon HD 7950 reference model.