The first thing I want to say before we get into the performance side of things is cover the Temperature / Noise numbers out of the card. After testing the card, XFX sent us an email letting us know that a new BIOS had been released for the card which adjusted the fan profile. It made for a slightly quieter, but warmer running card. This is the BIOS that will be seen on the stock that is shipped out.
With that said, XFX told us you'll be able to grab the BIOS we're using today which moves to a cooler running setup at slightly more noise. If you look through the noise numbers they're extremely solid so if you'd prefer to have your card run a little cooler you could opt for the BIOS we're using today. On the other hand if you prefer lower noise over anything else, then you'll be glad to know that a few dB is shaved off the shipping BIOS.
On to the performance side of things. Not a lot has to be said to be honest with you, performance across the board is very strong and you can see that majority of the time the new HD 7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation has no problems dealing with the high-end GTX 500 offerings from NVIDIA. Of course something that has to be noted is the fact that the XFX card here is overclocked and will yield slightly better performance than a reference clocked card. Something worth noting, though, is that AMD partners have really been given free rein on the HD 7950 and for that reason we should see a lot more non-reference / overclocked cards at launch.
The theme is obvious across the board when it comes to performance. The HD 7950 just falls behind that 60 FPS average we aim for at 2560 x 1600 under the more intensive benchmarks. The great thing about the HD 7970 is that it really is a single GPU solution that can give you playable FPS across the whole range of single monitor resolutions. The HD 7950 can give us playable numbers at 2560 x 1600, but even on the overclocked model here from XFX, we can see it falls behind a few times.
There's no denying that if you've got the extra money then the HD 7970 is going to be the better option for 2560 x 1600 gaming. Of course if you game at a resolution lower than that and you want to save some money, then the HD 7950 is a fantastic option and continues on with this trend of strong performing single GPU cards from AMD that hit at a good price point.
On the topic of the price, the HD 7950 is coming in with an MSRP of $399 US and I'd put the XFX version we've got here today at around the $440 US mark. Stepping away from the XFX specifics that make the card we're looking at today and just looking at the HD 7950 as a whole, we've ultimately just got another really good card from AMD that is worthy of the new "HD 7900" series tag. Move in a bit closer and look at the extras that make this a Black Edition Double Dissipation model from XFX, and you've got some nice tweaks that are no doubt going to make the card stand out. The bumped up clock speeds combined with the new DD cooler makes for a really nice card.
While AMD continue to struggle against Intel when it comes to the CPU game, they follow the trend of doing extremely well against NVIDIA. As the coming months come and we see AMD complete a top to bottom setup of the HD 7000 series, it looks like they could have another very successful year in the GPU department. And finally before we wrap everything up I just wanted to see what was going on with the overclocking side of things quickly. At the moment we don't have an Afterburner version that allows us to adjust voltage; instead we just had to head into Overdrive which is in the driver.
We ended up running the core at a cool 1000MHz and pushed the memory up to 1575MHz or 6300MHz QDR which boosted our 3DMark 11 score to P8455 as you can see above. This is a nice boost over the default P7687 run and no doubt when we see a version of Afterburner that lets us adjust the voltage of the HD 7950, we'll see even more performance.