AMD's Radeon 7970 Is Here: Your New Drool-Worthy Super GPU

Illustration for article titled AMD's Radeon 7970 Is Here: Your New Drool-Worthy Super GPU

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.

Illustration for article titled AMD's Radeon 7970 Is Here: Your New Drool-Worthy Super GPU
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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]

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DISCUSSION

What are "32 internal computing units"? It has 32 ROP's, that's the only 32 I see.

Hmm, so almost 500 more stream processors than the 6970, new L2 cache, improved architecture, 32 more texture units, blah blah blah. Should be a beast. Waiting on some benchmarks!

This is also why I want the next generation xbox and playstation to come out sooner rather than later. Graphics cards and processors are magnitudes more powerful than ones in 2006, but we're still pretty much limited by console ports. A top end Radeon 6k part had a theoretical max of 5000Gflops (not a good measure of performance I know, but we're comparing magnitudes here so it doesn't have to be exact) compared to ~200 in both the PS3 and 360 GPU's. That's not even counting more memory capacity, faster memory, improved shaders, etc etc. If developers really had cards like this as a target games would look much better, but we're in an age where even the old 8800GTX gets by today thanks to consoles.