AMD Radeon HD 7950 Video Card Review

Author:Brent Justice

Date: Monday , January 30, 2012

The new Radeon HD 7950 marks the launch of AMD's more affordable Radeon HD 7900 series GPU. The Radeon HD 7950 is priced to compete with the GeForce GTX 580. We'll look at performance in comparison to several video cards in single-GPU, dual-GPU CrossFireX, Eyefinity, and Overclocking to see where it truly lands.

AMD Radeon HD 7950

AMD is launching the Radeon HD 7950 today. The Radeon HD 7950 sits just under the recently released Radeon HD 7970 on the performance tree. The AMD Radeon HD 7950 is part of the Radeon HD 7900 series, and shares all of the Radeon HD 7970’s features. The AMD Radeon HD 7950 simply put, is the Radeon HD 7970 scaled down to sell at a lower price point, in this case $449 MSRP. The Radeon HD 7950 will be sold for $100 less than a Radeon HD 7970 at $549. This allows more people to be able to afford the performance of the Radeon HD 7900 series. As of writing this, we are seeing many Radeon 7950 cards listed on Newegg, all above MSRP as might be expected on launch day.

If you haven't read our Radeon HD 7970 evaluation, please at least read page 1 of that article first. In that evaluation we dive into the Radeon HD 7970 specifications, all of which apply to the Radeon HD 7950 being launched today. Every feature mentioned and discussed in regards to the Radeon HD 7970 are also associated with the Radeon HD 7950.

With a physical side-by-side comparison of a Radeon HD 7950 and Radeon HD 7970 you would not be able to tell which one was which. Internally, the differences lie in the silicon. The Radeon HD 7950 has 1,792 Stream Processors, versus 2,048 on the Radeon HD 7970. There are 112 Texture Units on the Radeon HD 7950 versus 128 on the Radeon HD 7970. The core clock frequency runs at 800MHz on the Radeon HD 7950 versus 925MHz on the Radeon HD 7970. The memory runs at 5GHz on the Radeon HD 7950 versus 5.5GHz on the Radeon HD 7970. These are the "only" differences.

You will still find the same 4.31B transistors on the Radeon HD 7950 as the Radeon HD 7970 has. This makes us wonder if we might see some BIOS unlocks of extra stream processors? The Radeon HD 7950 is built on the same 28nm manufacturing process. There is still 3GB of GDDR5 on board on a 384-bit memory bus producing 240GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Total board power is 200W versus 250W on the Radeon HD 7970. As with the Radeon HD 7970 all the DX11.1 features are supported, and ZeroCore power as well.

The same display configuration found on the Radeon HD 7970 is supported. You will find one DVI port, one HDMI port and two mini-Display Ports. The Radeon HD 7950 only requires two 6-pin connectors, versus one 8-pin and one 6-pin on the Radeon HD 7970.

Lastly, talking about overclocking potential, we've seen the Radeon HD 7970 overclock very easily, and the Radeon HD 7950 is poised to not disappoint in this area as well. We've done some overclocking in this evaluation, and we definitely walked away with a positive enthusiast experience.

AMD Radeon HD 7950 Pictures

The AMD Radeon HD 7950 looks identical to the AMD Radeon HD 7970. The measurements are exactly the same. In fact, if look on the back of the Printed Circuit Board you will find a dual 8-pin PCI-E power connector template. The PCB seems to be a template that matches the Radeon HD 7970 and is geared for add-in-board manufacturers to make different configuration of power connectors as desired. This should mean we will see customized video cards, perhaps high-end overclocked Radeon HD 7950 cards with one 8-pin and one 6-pin for added stability when overclocking from a manufacturer.

The air duct on the back is full sized, just like the Radeon HD 7970 and exhausts from there. The heatsink is full sized similar to the Radeon HD 7970 and extends the length of the video card. Of course, add-in-board partners will have customized video cards, and we look forward to testing those. We currently have a full evaluation of an XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition and Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 in progress.

There isn't else much to talk about; the Radeon HD 7950 is sleek, simple and similar in physical appearance to the Radeon HD 7970. Since the pricing of this video card is at $449, we must compare it to a standard clocked GeForce GTX 580. We will also compare the HD 7950 to a Radeon HD 6950, Radeon HD 6970 and also compare CrossFireX performance.