New AMD Radeon HD 7950 Joins the Southern Islands Team with Several Board Vendors

New AMD Radeon HD 7950 Joins the Southern Islands Team with Several Board Vendors

On 9th January, AMD officially launched its next generation family of graphics cards, the Radeon HD 7900 series. The successor and flagship offering from this series is the Radeon HD 7970. Today marks the launch of AMD Radeon HD 7950 which has been positioned as a little brother to the 7970 as they are hail from the same Southern Island family with the same GPU.

AMD Radeon HD 7970 and 7950 GPUs compared

AMD Radeon HD 7970

AMD Radeon HD 7950
Core Code  Tahiti  Tahiti
Transistor Count  4300 million 4300 million
Manufacturing Process 28nm 28nm
Core Clock 925MHz 800MHz
Stream Processors  2048 Stream processing units 1792 Stream processing units
Stream Processor Clock  925MHz 880MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units  128 112
Raster Operator units (ROP)  32 32
Memory Clock  5500MHz GDDR5 5000MHz GDDR5
DDR Memory Bus  384-bit 384-bit
Memory Bandwidth  264GB/s 240GB/s
PCI Express Interface  PCIe ver 3.0 x16 PCIe ver 3.0 x16
Molex Power Connectors  1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin 1 x 6-pin, 1 x 6-pin
Multi GPU Technology  CrossFireX CrossFireX
DVI Output Support  2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link
HDMI 1 1
DisplayPort 2 (DisplayPort 1.2 HBR2) 2 (DisplayPort 1.2 HBR2)
HDCP Output Support  Yes Yes
Street Price  Launch Price: US$549 ~US$449

The AMD Radeon HD 7950 has its GPU core clock rated at 800MHz and its memory clock speed is lowered to 5000MHz. It shares the same memory bus width of 384 bits as the Radeon HD 7970 but the former's memory bandwidth is expectedly a tad lower at 240GB/s. There are also other differences such as the number of active GCN compute units, which were cut back from 32  to 28, resulting in a reduced number of total stream processing units. To accompany that, the number of texture mapping units have been scaled back from 128 to 112.

In the end, these changes aren't drastic and are the usual level of differentiation applied for getting out a slightly different SKU. For a casual observer looking over the reference card, the AMD Radeon HD 7950 looks almost the same as its elder brother.

To support the official release today, a slew of AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics cards have been released by add-in card partners ASUS, Club3D, MSI, and Sapphire to name a few. The good thing is that many of the vendors have made an effort to outfit the cards with customized designs and coolers, which are in addition to the standard editions for those on a budget. Here's a quick pictorial overview of them:-

The ASUS HD7950-DC2T-3GD5 features the DirectCU II cooler which has been implemented on other ASUS' high-end graphics cards, regardless of the origin of their GPUs. This cooler features flattened heatpipes in direct contact with the Tahiti GPU for quick heat dissipation. As denoted by the "T" in its naming, it refers to the card being a Top edition and as such, its core overclocked to 900MHz from the standard 800MHz.

The Club 3D Radeon HD 7950 has been mounted with a customized cooling solution (even though it looks like a stock one) as the cooling fan sits in the center of the card's heatsink. From the specifications gleaned from its official web page, Club 3D did not deviate from the factory specifications of the Radeon HD 7950 GPU.

 Meet another stock edition graphics card, the HIS 7950 Fan 3GB GDDR5 PCI-E DVI/HDMI/2xMini DP. It's seriously a mouthful and we hope their future iterations of cards have model names that are easier to recall.

The MSI R7950-2PMD3GD5/OC features the AMD Radeon HD 7950 GPU that has been overclocked to 830MHz (about 4% higher than its default clock speed of 800MHz). We wonder if 4% increment warrants the OC label.

Bringing up the rear is the Sapphire HD 7950 3GB OC GDDR5 which features an overclocked Tahiti GPU rated at 900MHz (a 12.5% increase over its default rated clock speed of 800MHz). We would love to add the phrase "That's More Like It" to its OC label! This puts it on par with the ASUS Top edition card mentioned above.

Here are their respective press releases/product specifications:-

ASUS Launches its Coolest HD 7950 Graphics Card

Club 3D Releases the New Radeon HD 7950

HIS Unveils HIS 7950 3GB - The Affordable Addition to the 7900 Series

MSI Announces the R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD5/OC Graphics Card

SAPPHIRE Launches HD 7950 with Two Stunning Models

For those willing to get your hands a little 'dirty', you could opt to get the plain vanilla edition Radeon HD 7950 card from any of the usual board vendors and outfit it with your own choice of a third-party cooler such as the Arctic Accelero Xtreme 7970 cooler. It won't come cheap, but that's the price for personal customization.

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