Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC Dual-X 3GB
The second product to be discussed is Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC Dual-X 3GB. There’s a lot of information on its box but the focus is on the enticing military girl.
As opposed to the Gigabyte card discussed above, the Sapphire comes with a lot of accessories: cables and adapters, a CrossFireX bridge, a promo booklet and a CD with drivers.
The only thing that seems to be missing is a disc with some modern game. The Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC Dual-X 3GB has a retail price of $469 and comes with a 2-year warranty.
Its appearance can challenge the above-discussed Gigabyte in attractiveness. The black cooler casing with two glossy fans and chrome inserts provokes a stylish and futuristic impression.
Seemingly bulky, the Sapphire is actually smaller than the Gigabyte at 280x115x45 millimeters.
As for video outputs, dual BIOS, MIO and power connectors, the Gigabyte is no different from the reference Radeon HD 7970 or the above-discussed Gigabyte.
It has more massive heatsinks on the power components and memory chips, though.
That’s the only difference, however. The PCB and the power system duplicate the reference design…
… including the CHL8228G controller.
There's nothing extraordinary about the GPU:
It is pre-overclocked from 925 to 950 or 1000 MHz (depending on the BIOS you use) in 3D applications. Both BIOS versions have the same GPU voltage of 1.050 volts.
The same goes for the Hynix memory chips:
They can be clocked at 5700 or 5800 MHz, i.e. 200 or 300 MHz above the reference card’s memory frequency. Thus, the Sapphire is going to have higher performance than the Gigabyte.
The GPU quality level is higher, too, at 85.8%.
Take note of the lower GPU voltage, by the way. Here’s what GPU-Z reports when the second BIOS version is in use:
We’ve examined Sapphire’s exclusive Dual-X cooler in our earlier reviews (e.g. in the Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 OC review):
It hasn’t changed since then except for the different shape of the casing.
Even the fan marking is the same:
Of course, there are different heatsinks on the power components due to the PCB layout of the Radeon HD 7970:
Sapphire's cooler is as efficient as before. At a clock rate of 950 MHz in the automatic fan regulation mode the GPU was only 70°C hot, the fans rotating at 2150 RPM. When the GPU was clocked at 1000 MHz, it was 4°C colder because the fans worked at 2520 RPM.
At the maximum fan speed of 3250 RPM, the GPU was 61 and 62°C hot at 950 and 1000 MHz, respectively.
The cooler shows impressive results for a pre-overclocked Radeon HD 7970!
As for further overclocking, the Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC Dual-X did well in terms of graphics memory frequency, reaching 7300 RPM. The GPU was stable at 1050 MHz at its default voltage.
When overclocked, the GPU temperature was 65°C at the maximum speed of the fans.
In the automatic mode the fans were rotating at 2880 RPM while the GPU was 69°C hot.
Then, we set GPU voltage at 1.250 volts and the GPU was stable at 1145 MHz (the same +95 MHz as with the Gigabyte card, by the way):
And then we tried to lower the voltage while checking the card out for stability. The card turned out to be stable at the mentioned GPU frequency at 1.125 volts. Here is its temperature: