Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC

Gigabyte has a lovely product to offer you with the Radeon HD 7970 OC (WindForce edition). Admittedly it is hard to go wrong with it anyway as the default aka reference R7970 is already a product with a very high 'like' factor for sure. It performs well and within all parameters like heat and noise it's already doing a terrific job. The customization that Gigabyte applied to this R7970 OC WindForce edition raises the bar once again. Obviously the overall looks are nice, the WindForce cooler stays within the dual-slot form factor and brings in much better cooling at roughly the same noise levels as the reference design.
Gigabyte R7970 OC

The overall board design works out well with their Ultra Durable VGA construction, Gigabyte chose a 2oz copper PCB (printed circuit board), Tier 1 memory, Japanese Solid Capacitors, Low RDS (on) MOSFET and Ferrite Core Chokes. Admittedly, that Ultra Durable design has become a norm there days as all manufacturers have improved the build quality over the past two years, and with a lot of success.
Quite impressive is of course the power consumption of this product. The board is rated with a 210~215 Watt TDP, that means when you completely stress it, that's the power consumption. Our measurements showed that the board TDP is actually consuming 15 Watts lower than the reference specification. But give or take roughly 200 Watt for this kind of performance is very good. Even more impressive is the boards IDLE power state, in desktop mode when not in use it can throttle down and disable huge segments of the GPU allowing it to draw 10 Watt only. Once your monitor jumps into energy saving / sleep mode then the power draw of this 7970 drops towards 2.7 Watt.

When you look at the R7970 overall, performance, the new Eyefinity updates, PCIe gen 3 compatibility and all other stuff then we can only conclude that we like the Radeon HD 7970 in the enthusiast graphics card arena. For those that embrace multi-monitor gaming, it's for you guys that AMD decided to go for that massive 3GB framebuffer / graphics memory. They could have opted for the 1.5 GB route but with extreme resolutions graphics memory starts to really matter. So it might seem a little excessive, but we are very happy that in terms of graphics memory no compromises have been made.