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Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Tri-CrossFire Graphics Card Review

Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Tri-CrossFire Graphics Card Review

Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Tri-CrossFire featuring the Pure Black X79N Motherboard

The Sapphire Radeon HD 7970

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Sapphires box mascot has changed occupation between product generations and now she sports a military style design, standing amongst key product features on the front of the box. Inside we find a selection of cables which allows us to connect pretty much any display to the 7970 and Sapphire go beyond many other manufacturers by including a HDMI cable. Also bundled is the product documentation and software as well as an invitation to join Sapphire Select Club for access to additional applications and product giveaways.

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At this time Sapphire have gone with a reference design for their 7970 and it is shown above. The now familiar red fan design makes an appearance here and as with the AMD card it has been tweaked since the last generation with new blades (for lower noise levels) and in another design tweak the right side of the card slopes off to allow more airflow into the cooler than older cards.

Flipping the card over we can see the dual Crossfire connectors and beside them the dual BIOS switch.

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As Sapphire use the reference design this is of course a dual slot model and underneath the cooler we have a copper GPU block, the latest version of AMD’s vapour cooler and aluminium heatsink.

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For card outputs we have a single DVI, HDMI 1.4 and dual mini-DisplayPort connectors. These sit next to a full length perforated section to allow airflow out of the card. Each reference 7970 will be able to output to five displays using these connectors and so three and five screen Eyefinity setups are an option. Manufacturers like Sapphire will also have the choice to make cards with 6 display capability.

Powering the card are two connectors, one 8-pin and one 6-pin which provide the card with its 250w and looking a little closer at the specifications we find that Sapphire have stuck with core speed of 925MHz and the 3GB of Hynix GDDR5 memory is set to 1375MHz. There are 128 Texture units within the 7970 along with 32 ROPS/128 Z-Stencil. For the Stream processors AMD have gone for a 2048 "core" design and our memory bus is 384-bit. PCIe 3.0, DirectX 11.1 and DirectCompute are all supported on this card as is acceleration of high definition content and the card can output 7.1 audio over HDMI including DTS Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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