A Closer Look
Gigabyte has chosen a unique cooling approach on their card. Five small fans sit one the side of the cooler, which promises better cooling performance and improved airflow in a multi-GPU CrossFire configuration.
The heatsink uses a large copper vapor-chamber base to soak up heat from the GPU, the memory chips and the voltage regulation circuitry. Heat is then transferred to the large fin array using four heatpipes, which are doubled up - they exit to the left and the right of the cooler's base.
On the back of the card Gigabyte has installed a metal backplate which doesn't have much impact on cooling, but will help protect the card against damage during handling.
The card requires two 8-pin PCI-Express power cables for operation. This power configuration is good for up to 375 W of power draw.
The HD 7970 comes with AMD's dual BIOS feature that was introduced with the HD 6900 Series. It provides a safety net in case a BIOS flash goes wrong; simply switch to the second BIOS and flash back to the original BIOS. Unlike the reference design which has this switch at the top edge, Gigabyte has chosen to put it in the middle of the card, under the cooler. The second BIOS is a BIOS optimized for liquid nitrogen hardcore overclocking, but it will also work as safe backup BIOS in case the main BIOS gets corrupted.
For voltage control the card uses a CHiL CHL8228 and a CHiL 8225. We have seen both chips on recent high-end graphics cards designs. They both offer software voltage control and extensive monitoring features.
The GDDR5 memory chips are made by Hynix, and carry the model number H5GQ2H24MF-R0C. They are specified to run at 1500 MHz (6000 MHz GDDR5 effective).
AMD's Tahiti graphics processor introduced the GCN shader architecture, it is also the first GPU to be produced on a 28 nm process at TSMC. The transistor count is 4.31 billion.