The Radeon 7970 is packing some serious firsts: a brand new core design, and the world's first GPU using cool, efficient 28 nm transistors. But it's also designed, of course, to be fast as hell. Gamers, you're gonna want one.
The 7970's numbers are heavy as hell on paper: 3 GB of RAM, up to 32 internal computing units, the first use of PCI-E Gen 3, Direct X 11.1 support, and a fat, CPU-style L2 cache. That adds up to a potential six monitors gaming at once. And that's just with one—you can sling together up to four of these things at once. AMD is promising enormous gains over Nvidia's top cards—billing it as the world's fastest—but we'll hold off on judgment until we have something firmer than internal, synthetic benchmarks. Still, there's no reason to think this thing will be anything less than incredibly powerful, with both games (of course) and the bevy of desktop software it's capable of accelerating.
But it's not all about power! The 7970 is power with responsibility, or something. It's capable of ramping up its power consumption when needed—and scaling it down to practically zero when your desktop has been idling for a while. And it'll be quiet, unlike many GPU powerhouses—no leaf blower, if AMD is to be believed. They claim a new fan design and smarter ventilation angles will mean softer cooling. With all that horsepower, we hope so!
Again, we'll have to wait until the 7970 drops on January 9th (for $550) to see how the card stacks up IRL. If you want to punch Battlefield 3 down into submission, be excited. [AMD]