An incredibly powerful graphics card.
AMD's Radeon HD7970 (code named Tahiti) is the company's first graphics card based on its new Southern Islands architecture and is the world's first to use a 28nm core. This means AMD has managed to pack in ever more technology into the same small amount of space. It's still bigger than many other graphics cards though – it will fill foul any adjacent expansion card slot. The HD7970's core runs at 925MHz – the same speed that its 2048 Stream Processors runs at. The massive 3GB of GDDR5 video memory runs at 1,375MHz.
All of these complex specifications mean that the HD7970 is fast. When tested with 3DMark 11's Xtreme setting (1,920x1,080 pixels) it produced a score of 2684. To show just how good that is, the Radeon HD6970, AMD's previous single-core flagship graphics card, scored just 1845 in the same test. Gaming wise, it managed an average frame rate of 90fps in Dirt3 at 1,920x1,080, while the Aliens vs Predator benchmark produced an average frame rate score of 100fps.
Sapphire's version of the HD7970 strictly follows AMD's reference design, only with Sapphire branding added to the cooler. The new improved cooler looks similar to AMD's last reference cooler, which was noisy and inefficient, but has redesigned fan blades that help make this cooler a whole lot quieter and more efficient.
No matter what connection your monitor uses, the HD7970 has a port for it. Alongside the HDMI connector is a Dual Link DVI port as well as two Mini DisplayPort sockets. Sapphire includes a useful bundle of goodies in the box: a DVI-VGA adapter, a Mini DisplayPort to Single Link DVI adaptor, a HDMI-DVI adaptor, a Mini DisplayPort to full-size DisplayPort adaptor and a lengthy HDMI cable.
To power the card, your PC's power supply would ideally need to have both a 6-pin PCI-E and an 8-pin PCI-E connectors. If needed though, Sapphire have included a pair of Molex 4-pin power convertors with the card. The Radeon HD 7970 is ideal for playing the latest, most graphically detailed games, but it doesn't come cheap.
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The most powerful single-core graphics card available, but you'll have to be a dedicated gamer to justify the high price.
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