Sapphire has put together a really nice video card here and this is the first retail model we've seen that falls in under the new GHz Edition labeling that we saw AMD launch last month. Looking at what Sapphire is offering us out of the box we get a good idea of just what the new crop of GPUs are capable of achieving.
The thing is, though, looking at the TOXIC model, you can't just thank Sapphire for doing such a good job. Without the foundation that AMD has put forth on the new GHz Edition cards which carrier a higher binned GPU, Sapphire wouldn't have been able to offer a product with such strong performance out of the box and performance is what this video card does extremely well.
We can continue to see that the area AMD shine in is at 2560 x 1600. It's here that we see the Sapphire card be the only one that breaks the 60 FPS barrier at times or just offer us generally better performance than its NVIDIA counterparts. While the TOXIC name took a while to show up again, Sapphire has been able to do it very quickly with these new GHz Edition based GPUs.
Moving away from the raw FPS side of things and looking at the card itself we can see the cooler does an excellent job of keeping our GPU cool. The biggest problem is that it's ultimately come at the cost of extra noise as the trade off. While on the loud side of things, though, the noise isn't aggressive and considering the temperature of the core and the performance of the card, we're not too worried about the number. Outside of the clocks and the cooler, the other big feature is of course the huge amount of memory. It's great to see that Sapphire has opted for 6GB of GDDR5 and I think we'll see some other companies follow in the coming weeks.
As far as the bundle goes we've got a strong one which offers us those extra cables that we're used to seeing from Sapphire helping them stand out a bit more than the competition. Really the only piece of the puzzle that needs to be filled now is the price of the Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition TOXIC 6GB. Pricing continues to be a bit of an unknown area, though, not just for this model, but for the new GHz Edition cards in general. Of course this variant is going to cost even more as we not only move over to a really strong overclock, but see the memory doubled to 6GB of GDDR5.
I think over the next few months we'll start to see companies release stronger versions of the GHz Edition card as they get a chance to play with the new GPUs a bit more. For now, though, this Sapphire version is very much a standout model from every aspect with overall performance being the highlight.
If you're in the market to jump on the new GHz Edition and you're after something that can perform stronger than a GTX 680 that is pre-overclocked, this is going to be a simply awesome purchase. Sapphire using the new GHz Edition HD 7970 as a base has done an awesome job with the TOXIC here and doubling the memory out to 6GB is really the cherry on top.
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