AMD has taken the wraps of the Radeon HD 7970 graphics card. Billed as the world's fastest single GPU graphics card and the only GPU based on 28nm production technology, the new arrival pushes AMD ahead of NVIDIA in terms of miniaturization. The HD 7970 uses a new Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture that AMD says results in a 150 percent performance/sq mm jump over the previous 40nm-based generation, is compatible with PCI Express 3.0 and features 3GB of GDDR5 memory and 925MHz engine clock. It also supports Direct3D 11.1 to be released with Windows 8.
The 3GB of 384-bit GDDR5 memory is clocked at 1.375 GHz and offers maximum bandwidth of 264GB/s. The Radeon HD 7970 also comes with 2048 stream processors, 128 texture units, 32 ROPs, as well as a transistor count of 4.31 billion. For comparison, the Radeon HD 6900 series codenamed Cayman offers around 2.6 billion, while NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580 comes with 3 billion transistor count. The HD 7970 also offers 3.79 TFLOPs of single precision and 947 GFLOPs of double precision computing power.
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The use of AMD ZeroCore Power technology facilitates a reduction in power consumption at idle to just 3W and it's also capable of reducing the noise by automatically turning the fan off. AMD PowerTune technology dynamically controls clock speeds to improve power consumption performance during heavy workloads.
There's a lineup of AMD's technologies supported by AMD Radeon HD 7970, including AMD Eyefinity 2.0 (multi-display support), AMD App Acceleration for improved General-Purpose Computing on Graphics Processing Units (GPGPU) performance , AMD HD3D and AMD CrossFire for pairing multiple GPUs. Full support for 3GHz HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.2 HBR2 is also onboard.
The AMD Radeon HD 7970 will be available from January 9, 2012. Pricing starts from US$549.