After AMD successfully launched the first 28nm GPU last January, AMD released a whole family of Radeon HD 7000 GPUs over the next few months. The last of the series were the Radeon HD 7870 and 7850 graphics cards, closely followed by the introduction of Nvidia's next-generation flagship part, the GeForce GTX 680.
It wasn't long before the GTX 680 a.k.a. Kepler knocked the Radeon HD 7970 off the shelf and became the fastest single GPU solution in the world. AMD tried to mitigate the blow by lowering prices on its 7900 and 7800 series. In the end, however, perhaps the best news for AMD came from the near-complete lack of GTX 680 stocks.
In fact, getting your hands on a GeForce GTX 680 is still not an easy task, and those who have done so have likely paid more than the retail list price of $ 499. That didn't stop Nvidia from releasing the GeForce GTX 670 two months later at a very attractive price of $ 399. At this price, the GTX 670 cost less than the Radeon HD 7970 and offered the same level of performance.
Meanwhile, Nvidia's flagship was on average 5% faster than the Radeon HD 7970, with brief bright moments when it could be up to 30% faster. Because of this, the 7970 has been reduced from $ 549 to its current $ 449.
Fast forward to today and it seems that AMD is desperate to claim the boastful rights to offer the fastest GPU money can buy. As the name suggests, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition offers a core clock rate of 1 GHz and an overclocked GDDR5 memory with 1500 MHz. AMD plans to charge a small $ 499 premium for the GHz cards, but is it worth it?
7970 GHz Edition in detail
For those familiar with the Radeon HD 7970, there isn't much that you've never seen before. Essentially, it's the same graphics card with a small factory overclock and a higher price tag.
While the standard Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards have a core clock of 925 MHz and a memory frequency of 1375 MHz, the GHz edition has been increased to 1000 MHz / 1500 MHz. This corresponds to a core overclock of ~ 8% and a memory overclock of 9%, which is not quite the price increase of 11% over a standard HD 7970 card.
More surprising is the fact that users can already purchase Radeon HD 7970 cards that have been factory overclocked to 1 GHz and beyond. The PowerColor PCS + AX7970 is clocked at 1.1 GHz (core), while the memory is only slightly lower at 1425 MHz and costs just $ 490.
AMD is confident that such a modest overclock will be enough to take on the GeForce GTX 680, and today we want to find out exactly that.