Checking out the video card for the first time we've got a pretty mean looking setup in the VORTEX II cooler which consists of two fans, a massive heatsink and a number of heatpipes. Along with all this another stand out would be the black PCB which always looks great.
PowerColor claims that the cooler produces 13% more airflow, 15% less noise and drops the temperature by 12% compared to the reference model.
Having a look around the video card we can see at the back PowerColor has opted for a dual 8-pin PCIe power connector setup instead of the standard 6-pin + 8-pin setup that we see on most other HD 7970s. Close to the front of the video card we can see two CrossFire connectors and then next to that we've got a dual BIOS switch.
Moving over to the I/O side of things we can see a fairly standard setup here which gives us two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a HDMI port and two MiniDP connectors to round off the connectivity side of things.
Before moving onto the specification side of things the way the fans work on the VORTEX II based video card is that they can be slightly raised to help increase airflow further. Looking above you can see them flat in the first picture and in the second one you can see them raised slightly.
This video card also implements what PowerColor call a "Platinum Power Kit" which says to provide 20% better stability than other Radeon HD 7970 video cards. This is achieved by using better "super capacitors", a digital PWM and other power features.
This being a PCS+ video card means that PowerColor has of course taken the time to overclock the HD 7970 straight out of the box. On the core front PowerColor has moved from the default 925MHz to a massive 1100MHz. As for the 3GB of GDDR5 that's been boosted from the stock 5500MHz QDR to 5700MHz QDR.
These are some really impressive overclocks, but we wanted to see how much more we could get out of the video card. As you can see above we pushed the core up to a strong 1200MHz while the 3GB of GDDR5 was pushed to a really strong 6200MHz QDR. This is a really strong overclock and should bring with it some very strong gains when compared to the reference clocked video card in our testbed today.
Overclocking Note - Our tested overclock speed is the maximum we could achieve with all of our tests 100% stable. You may be able to hit higher clock speeds, but we are after a completely stable gaming environment and not just stable under some games / tests.