HIS Radeon HD 7970 X Turbo 3 GB Review 25

HIS Radeon HD 7970 X Turbo 3 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The HIS HD 7970 X Turbo retails for $600.
  • Large overclock out of the box
  • Good GPU overclocking potential
  • Four DisplayPort outputs
  • Low temperatures
  • Support for software voltage control
  • Full-size HDMI output
  • Dual-link DVI possible through the push of a button
  • Voltage measurement points
  • Support for PCI-Express 3.0 and DirectX 11.1
  • High price
  • High idle noise
  • Memory not overclocked
  • Noise under load could be lower
  • Labels for voltage measurement points are barely visible
  • CCC Overdrive limits are too low
The HIS Radeon HD 7970 X Turbo comes with a larger overclock out of the box than any other custom design HD 7970. That improvement nets the card a 6% performance advantage over AMD's HD 7970 GHz Edition reference design. This makes the card 10% faster than the GeForce GTX 680, which is NVIDIA's fastest single-GPU graphics card. I wish HIS had overclocked the memory as well for an extra performance boost at no additional cost. We've seen that approach on the ASUS HD 7970 Matrix, although it comes at a lower GPU clock.
While the AMD HD 7970 GHz used a 6+8 PCI-E power configuration, HIS has opted for a dual eight-pin design that promises higher power capability, which could come in handy with overclocking. Despite its higher clock speeds, power consumption is almost the same as the slower HD 7970 GHz reference design, which is a good thing. Only our Furmark test shows higher numbers, but it is a fringe-specific test that is barely relevant to typical use.
We see great GPU overclocking potential from the HD 7970 X Turbo. Its overclocking potential is higher than most other custom design HD 7970s we have tested before. Memory overclocking does not work so well and clocks in around 100 MHz lower than what we had expected. One possible reason could be that the cooler's design only manages to cover half of one memory chip through the cooling baseplate, which may limit memory OCs.
Fan noise under load is much better than the HD 7970 GHz Edition, which produced noise like a leaf blower. The HD 7970 X Turbo is certainly not quiet, but it is, under load, quieter than other HD 7970 GHz cards. Custom design cards based on Kepler GPUs are a better choice if you want the quietest high-performance experience. Fan noise in idle has, on the other hand, not received the silent treatment, and we see idle noise levels that are higher than pretty much every other modern card out there, despite super low temperatures. Even the noisy HD 7970 GHz is very quiet in comparison. It looks to me like HIS has not properly optimized the fan settings to the capabilities of the cooler. The cooler's temperatures are great in both idle and under load, so I'm convinced a bit less fan noise would have added a unique selling point and gone that extra mile to make this card more appealing to the low noise gaming crowd.
Price-wise, HIS is asking a steep $600, which is, in my opinion, pretty unreasonable. Sure, the card supports up to six monitors without breaking dual-link DVI functionality, and it is the fastest AMD card you can buy, but reference GHz Editions are available for $400 ... $200 less! Even the GTX 680 is 13% more economical if you look at its performance per Dollar. In my opinion, a more realistic price point would be in the $450 to $500 range, where similar OC cards from other vendors exist.
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