To celebrate the half-year anniversary of the Tahiti GPU and the Radeon HD 7970, AMD has decided to revisit its specs. The objective with the new GHz Edition model is clear: to outdo the GeForce GTX 680.
At the end of 2011, the Tahiti GPU had to deal with teething problems of TSMC’s 28 nanometres process. As the first GPU to be made at this fabrication process, its specs of course had to be determined with limited perspective. Things were complicated by relatively high production variability, which meant that AMD had to be quite conservative when fixing the specs of the Radeon HD 7970, settling for 925 MHz for the GPU.
Cape Verde and Pitcairn, the other two GPUs in the family, were put on sale at 1 GHz on launch and Cape Verde has recently moved up to 1.1 GHz, with production quality also improving as time has gone by. First to get up to this clock on a GPU, AMD took the opportunity to launch the GHz Edition brand and following the arrival of the GeForce GTX 680 in March, made no secret of its ambition to get a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition onto the market.
This it has now done. Thanks to the better quality production that has come with several refinements made to the PowerTune technology, AMD has been able to come up with a Radeon HD 7970 with a GPU clocked at 1050 MHz and the memory at 1500 MHz, giving gains of 13.5% for processing power and 9% for memory bandwidth. This is enough to give a 10% gain in performance (the minimum required to justify a new product).
AMD could just as well have called its new model the Radeon HD 7980 but given the fact that there are numerous overclocked Radeon HD 7970s on the market, choosing to call it the GHz Edition was probably the best solution. All the current partner cards with clocks at least at the level of this new model will moreover be able to adopt the GHz Edition brand.
We won’t be going back over the reference design of this Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition in detail: physically, it's exactly identical to the original model and you can get all the info on the PCB and cooling system in our test here