Friday, December 16th 2011

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Reference Board Design Detailed, Single Slot Capable - Finally!

AMD Radeon HD 7970 launch is just around the corner. Ahead of its launch, AMD conducted its usual press briefing. DonanimHaber has access to some of the slides shown in that meeting. Earlier this day, we brought you perhaps the most important of them all, specifications. Let's take a look at the reference board design itself. AMD is sticking to the black+red colour scheme, and has come up with a swanky new cooling assembly design. The design, unlike those of higher-end Radeon HD 6000 series graphics cards, is surprisingly curvy and features dashes of red plastic making up its contours, surrounded by tougher black ABS.

A welcome change here from the previous generations, is that the card is truly single-slot capable, when say, a single-slot full-coverage water block is used. High-end cards from previous generation HD 5000 and HD 6000 have a dual DVI connector cluster that extends into two expansion slots, which many enthusiasts found to be annoying, especially when setting up benches with four single-GPU graphics cards in scenarios where PCI-Express slot spacing isn't kind. Moving on to display connectivity, the card has one DVI, one HDMI, and two mini-DisplayPort connectors, all arranged in the confines of a single expansion slot. The space of the second slot is dedicated to a hot-air exhaust of the cooling assembly. All board partners are required to ship HDMI-to-DVI dongles, and active mini-DP dongles.

The cooler uses a full-coverage vapor-chamber plate to collect heat from all major components on the obverse side of the card, and convey it to the aluminum fin channel array attached to it. These components include the 4.3 billion transistor Tahiti GPU, 12 GDDR5 memory chips, and MOSFETs found across the various V-reg areas of the card. The aluminum fin channel array is ventilated by a blower. AMD claims to have improved the blower design from previous generations to have higher air-flow and improved acoustics.

Like with the HD 6900 series, the HD 7900 series reference boards feature two sets of BIOS, located in two separate EEPROM chips that can be toggled using a small switch on the top of the card (next to the CFBI connectors). The 1st EEPROM is "unprotected", it packs reference speeds, but you can flash it with your own modified BIOS. The second EEPROM is "protected" from flashes, and packs failsafe reference speeds. It's your insurance against BIOS flashing screw-ups, and cuts down the cumbersome process of BIOS recovery using a second display card, or the rocket-science of "blind-flashing".

Lastly, AMD talks about overclocking headroom. The HD 7970 looks to have default core speed of "a little over 900 MHz", could be 925 MHz for all we know, looking at that last slide. AMD says that overclocking to 1 GHz core is well within reach using the reference cooler, "and beyond".Source: DonanimHaber
Add your own comment

37 Comments on AMD Radeon HD 7970 Reference Board Design Detailed, Single Slot Capable - Finally!

#1
v12dock
Lots o AMD news today
Posted on Reply
#2
claylomax
by: btarunr
the card has one DVI, one HDMI, and two mini-DisplayPort connectors, all arranged in the confines of a single expansion slot
Why it took so long for this? Was it that hard? Just leave the top slot for the cooling.
Posted on Reply
#3
bear jesus
by: btarunr
All board partners are required to ship HDMI-to-DVI dongles, and active mini-DP dongles.
My first thought when seeing the display outputs was would i need anything extra to run eyefinity with my 3 DVI monitors, this i think is a great move that should have been done with the 58xx and 69xx cards but better late than never.

I love the cooler design and full slot vent but i am very curious about the change of the acoustics of the fan as with a vapor chamber heatsink and higher than normal fan speeds my 6970 runs relatively cool but the sound is right on the edge of annoying yet a slight change in volume or frequency may make it a lot more comfortable.

I hope the improved acoustics will be covered in the TPU review and explain if it is just a reduction in noise level or if there is any change in frequency.
Posted on Reply
#4
Maban
Not that we had any doubts but computerbase has slides that confirm DX11.1 and PCIE 3.0.
Posted on Reply
#5
Delta6326
Just take my money already!!

Who wants 2x 4850 very nice great shape :D

Posted on Reply
#7
krisna159
i cant wait for wizzard review:rockout:
i hope this the right path for amd, :rolleyes:
Posted on Reply
#8
BadIronTree
Any one want a heavily used 4870x2 ? :PPPP
Posted on Reply
#9
buggalugs
I wonder if the reference fan is actually quiet enough or wait for non-reference?.

THe 5870 reference fan was pretty much silent at game load, the 6970 reference was pretty much noisy at game load. With a cooler running GPU and new gen vapour chamber this might be silent too under game load.....hopefully.
Posted on Reply
#10
H82LUZ73
:roll::D look At the PCB It`s Black yes All black ...you know ounce you go black ..you don`t go back....:nutkick:
Posted on Reply
#11
JATownes
by: bear jesus
My first thought when seeing the display outputs was would i need anything extra to run eyefinity with my 3 DVI monitors, this i think is a great move that should have been done with the 58xx and 69xx cards but better late than never.
I think this is a great move too, but I do wonder how much additional cost it will bring to the card. Most of these adapters run about $25, and including two could bring the cost up some, which sucks for anyone running a single monitor that will never use the adapters.
Posted on Reply
#12
pantherx12
by: JATownes
I think this is a great move too, but I do wonder how much additional cost it will bring to the card. Most of these adapters run about $25, and including two could bring the cost up some, which sucks for anyone running a single monitor that will never use the adapters.
That's how much they charge people for them, they probably only cost $1 to make so they'll probably just charge for the cost of item + shipping ( if we're lucky) or just add $5 to the cost of the card so they still make some profit.
Posted on Reply
#13
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: buggalugs
I wonder if the reference fan is actually quiet enough or wait for non-reference?.

THe 5870 reference fan was pretty much silent at game load, the 6970 reference was pretty much noisy at game load. With a cooler running GPU and new gen vapour chamber this might be silent too under game load.....hopefully.
I have had 5 reference 5870's. Not one of them was quiet. If you got a quiet one, you got lucky.

My reference 6950 is dead quiet. My non-reference 6950 is a little whiner.:laugh:
Posted on Reply
#14
radrok
by: cadaveca
I have had 5 reference 5870's. Not one of them was quiet. If you got a quiet one, you got lucky.

My reference 6950 is dead quiet. My non-reference 6950 is a little whiner.:laugh:
I just hope they aren't noisy as my 6990s are :laugh: (i know i know dual gpu etc :P)
Posted on Reply
#15
chron
SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

Posted on Reply
#16
nt300
LMFHO to above post.
This looks like a AMD launch dream. Something they need real bad.
Posted on Reply
#17
Steevo
Please tell me my water block will fit.
Posted on Reply
#18
Dj-ElectriC
I am very sorry but this aint a leak and pointing fingers towards DH is pointless, every website that is planningreviewing those graphics cards get the sliders.
Im really getting tired of file-holders supposedly leaking sliders
Posted on Reply
#19
radrok
by: Steevo
Please tell me my water block will fit.
It won't fit if it is a full cover waterblock, you can just take a look at the Vram chips difference
Posted on Reply
#20
Frogger
:toast:just might be time for an upgrade:D
Posted on Reply
#21
Wile E
Power User
I will again consider AMD cards for my next upgrade. No single slot was a deal breaker for me.
Posted on Reply
#23
Damn_Smooth
by: Lost Hatter
AMD will WIN. all im gonna say
I thought that about Bulldozer and the lesson that I learned from it is that fanboyism is futile at best.
Posted on Reply
#24
BrooksyX
Definitely thinking about getting a 7950. Would be a nice upgrade over my 6870.
Posted on Reply
#25
overclocking101
"AMD Radeon HD 7970 Reference Board Design Detailed, Single Slot Capable - Finally!"

I see no pictures that show a single slot cooler???? I guess I'm confused LOL
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment