AMD Radeon HD 7950 review

The best HD 7000 series card so far

TODO alt text

The AMD Radeon HD 7950 is still based on the exact same Graphics Core Next/Southern Islands architecture as its only other AMD HD 7000 sibling, the HD 7970.

That means it's a graphics card still nailing the very latest of technologies in its rather sizeable package.

It's a fully fledged DirectX 11.1 card (though that's not actually going to be around soon, or even that big of a deal), more of interest though is the production process, shrinking down from the 40nm of the Cayman GPU to 28nm.

That's smaller than the current crop of CPUs.

That also means it can pack in a hell of a lot of those teeny transistors into the GPU, and AMD hasn't stinted. It's thrown 4.3 billion of them into this Tahiti core.

But it is a slightly chopped version of the Tahiti XT powering the AMD Radeon HD 7970.

This Tahiti Pro comes with only 28 of the Compute Units that make up the new vector processor AMD is now using for its graphics cards.

AMD gcn compute units

That means it's only rocking 1,792 shaders/Radeon Cores/streaming processors, or whatever you want to call them. Compared to the 2,048 of the Tahiti XT core that's a bit of a drop.

It also loses out on some 16 texture units, but thankfully it's still got the same full complement of ROPs at 32.

Outside of the GPU itself, the card as a whole comes with the same huge 3GB of GDDR5 frame buffer, on the same 384-bit interface.

And all still on the burgeoning PCIe 3.0 technology.

The clocks have also, inevitably, been cut back too.

The stock HD 7950 comes out of the box at 800MHz, a very conservative setting compared to the 925MHz of the HD 7970.

So, the AMD Radeon HD 7950 is not actually missing out on too much of AMD's new tech, indeed it's still hitting over 3TFLOPs of processing power to the HD 7970's 3.8TFLOPs.

For gamers though, forget FLOPs, it's polygon-pushing performance in games that we really want to know about. So how does that 20% drop in raw processing power translate into gaming benchmarks?

Tech Specs

Product TypeGraphic Card
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset ModelHD 7950
HDMIYes
Chipset LineRadeon
Chipset SeriesHD 7000
Maximum Resolution4096 x 3112
Brand NameAMD
Standard Memory3 GB
Host InterfacePCI Express 3.0 x16
HDCP SupportedYes
Multi-GPU TechnologyCrossFire
Analog SignalYes
Digital SignalYes
Dual Link DVI SupportedYes
DVIYes
VGAYes
Number of VGA Outputs1
Number of DVI Outputs1
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Memory TechnologyGDDR5 SDRAM
Form FactorPlug-in Card
ManufacturerAdvanced Micro Devices, Inc
Memory Speed1250 MHz
Product NameRadeon HD 7950 Graphics
Manufacturer Part Numberecx-Mes-UK-1008089
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.amd.com
Marketing Information
  • The world's first 28nm GPU. The revolutionary new GCN Architecture. Ready for DirectX® 11. PCI Express 3.0. The AMD Radeon™ HD 7950 is your personal checklist for ground-breaking technology
  • The next generation of AMD Eyefinity technology is here, featuring all-new support for stereo 3D, universal bezel compensation and brand new display configurations. Face it: the best just got better
  • Armed with the new PCI Express 3.0 standard, multi-GPU configurations with AMD CrossFire™ technology are just another way to obliterate the competition with the revolutionary AMD Radeon™ HD 7950
  • Leave no performance behind. Get higher clocks and faster gaming with AMD PowerTune technology on AMD Radeon™ HD 7950 Graphics
  • Fold and mine faster than ever with AMD App Acceleration powered by the unprecedented 28nm GCN Architecture
  • The market isn't ready for 4k video, but Radeon™ is. With full support for 3GHz HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.2 HBR2, the AMD Radeon™ HD 7950 is set for quad HD
API SupportedDirectCompute 11, OpenGL 4.2, OpenCL 1.2, DirectX 11.0