Perhaps the most immediately apparent change in terms of the cards appearance is that AMD is finally going to be capable of offering up a high performance single-slot card for those willing to go with water cooling. Previous generation parts from the HD5000 and HD 6000 series had issues with the dual DVI connectors spilling over into a second expansion slot, making four-GPU configurations rather difficult in all but the most mammoth of cases. A second slot is still consumed by the 6th generation vapour chamber if you stick with the stock configuration, however the extra space to dissipate the air should also make the 7970 much quieter than we’ve seen in previous high end parts. The design of the vapor-chamber looks promising, however with a 4.3 billion transistor Tahiti GPU and 12 GDDR5 memory chips pumping out heat like a furnace, it remains to be seen if it’s any quieter in reality.
Of course if board design isn’t of much interest to you, perhaps the above slide on overclocking headroom will get your attention. The leaked specifications already confirmed a 925 MHz core clockspeed, however AMD now appears to be openly advertising that the Radeon 7970 will have lots of extra headroom, allowing users to push it to 1 GHz and beyond with the reference air-cooler.
Lastly, a final slide shows a few internal benchmarks which I caution you, most certainly can’t be verified at this point. While it doesn’t really tell us much in comparison to the competition, it does claim an average improvement of around 50% when it comes to tessellation performance vs. the Radeon 6970. Since DX11 performance against NVidia has always been an issue, it’s great to see performance levels in this area finally starting to catch up. We will have to wait and see when it comes to DX9 performance, as well as how the 7970 will stack up against NVidia part’s following release.
So is this the next generation GPU you’ve been waiting for? Let us know in the comments below.