I didn't think I'd say this, but I wouldn't bother overclocking the new AMD Radeon HD 7970 when running in CrossFire mode. It's not because of the performance gains, you can see across the board that there's some nice gains, but when you start to look at it all, the overclock doesn't move us from an unplayable setup to a playable one. Instead you look across the board and the HD 7970 in CrossFire is just offering us very playable numbers across the board at any resolution without being overclocked.
The numbers that really turn us off when it comes to overclocking comes in the form of the last three graphs. When it comes to the temperature we see a jump in both idle and load numbers. Moving over to noise levels also sees a jump and it's a clear one when it comes to the load numbers.
Finally that leaves us with the power numbers; while I've never been one to really care about the power numbers, the Ultra Low Power State that's present on these cards is awesome at idle and overclocking brings in another 100 watt of power draw when doing the exact same thing.
Reference coolers tend to be the best when it comes to CrossFire setups because of the way they push the air out. With the large gap we get between cards on the ASUS Rampage IV Extreme motherboard, though, I think that some aftermarket options in the form of VaporX from Sapphire, IceQ from HIS and TwinFrozr from MSI will yield better results. Not just in the form of heat and noise numbers, but being more efficient when it comes to cooling should help yield a stronger overclock.
If you're going to do a bit of benchmarking, muck around on some forums in a 3DMark 11 ranking thread, then I'd say have a bit of fun overclocking. In those situations I'd suggest you even crank the fan speeds up to 100%. While unbearable, the added airflow will help yield more performance in terms of overclocking.
For an everyday setup, I wouldn't bother too much as the trade off in power, heat and noise out weight any real benefits overclocking brings. You'd be better of picking up a pair of pre-overclocked video cards that came in at around the 1000MHz core mark.
As always, overclocking is a heap of fun, the amount of power these cards put out running at stock, though, mean that everyday overclocking probably isn't quite as exciting as other video cards. It's going to be interesting to see what happens with the models that will sit below, though. HD 7950 CrossFire overclocking is going to be interesting and we hope that we'll be able to close the gap between a stock HD 7950 CF setup and a HD 7970 CF setup.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup]
- Page 3 [Benchmarks - 3DMark 11]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - Mafia II]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - Just Cause 2]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - Metro 2033]
- Page 11 [Benchmarks - Dirt 3]
- Page 12 [Benchmarks - Far Cry 2]
- Page 13 [Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF]
- Page 14 [Temperature Test]
- Page 15 [Sound Test]
- Page 16 [Power Consumption Tests]
- Page 17 [Final Thoughts]