The Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Ultra Durable and Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC Dual-X are very similar in many respects. They both have the same pre-overclocked GPU frequency of 1000 MHz. They are close to each other in noisiness and efficiency of their coolers as well as in overclocking potential. And they both have attractive looks. The Sapphire product boasts an indisputable advantage, namely, much richer accessories bundle and somewhat lower price. The hissing chokes of the Gigabyte card spoiled the overall positive impression a little bit, although that’s obviously just a defect of our specific sample rather than of the whole series.
The XFX Radeon HD 7950 Double D Black Edition is expectedly better than the reference AMD Radeon HD 7950 and even has the best overclocking potential among the three tested cards. However, its noisy and rather inefficient cooler lets it down while its accessories are not up to the high-end level of this product, too. The ambitious XFX offers well-made, but not yet exceptional, products and we really expect to soon see better products from this brand.
Our tests of the Radeon HD 7970 and 7950 cards in CrossFireX mode have highlighted the pros and cons of that technology. It still depends too much on game engine and driver optimizations even though there is some progress in this respect (different game profiles and AFR mode in the driver’s control panel). If everything is implemented properly, you are guaranteed a twofold performance boost. Just don’t forget to add a high-performance platform, too.
We guess a dual-GPU card with two Tahiti chips is going to be impressively fast. And another thing we should note is that the secondary card was switched off completely when our CrossFireX tandems worked in 2D mode. This power-saving feature has only appeared with the newest generation of graphics cards.
In conclusion we would like to award Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Ultra Durable and Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC Dual-X graphics cards our Editor’s Choice title for being the best mass production Radeon HD 7970 graphics accelerators: