The Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition showed on average a 10-15% improvement on the first generation HD 7970, which brought it much closer in line with the performance of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 680. As we've noticed with past 7970 cards, they perform best at more taxing benchmarks and at higher resolutions, and this proved true again, with the GHz Edition posting the best score on both Crysis Warhead and Crysis 2.
Performance was roughly in line with ASUS's DirectCU II TOP 7970, which has similar clock speeds, with the GHz Edition performing slightly better due to newer drivers.
However, with the increase in performance, we also saw a big jump in temperature readings. Its single fan cooling system wasn't up to the task, with the GHz Edition by far the hottest card, running at 82 degrees celcius at its hottest with the auto fan control turned on - that's a full 10 degrees hotter than the previous HD 7970.
Using manual control, with the fan speed set to 70%, the card was much cooler, running at about 66 degrees Celsius, but it was also unacceptably loud - by far, one of the loudest fans we've heard on a GPU in recent memory. On a side note, the auto-fan control never revved fan speeds up to this level, despite the rising temperatures.
Power consumption also climbed to alarming levels, with the total system power consumption at load increasing a staggering 40% compared to the previous HD 7970.