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AMD Radeon HD 7950 review

The best HD 7000 series card so far

Our Verdict

For

  • Decent price
  • Excellent overclocking performance
  • Impressive power-saving tech

Against

  • Artificially low base clocks

AMD is really putting the pressure on Nvidia now with its second release of the new AMD HD 7000 graphics card generation, the AMD Radeon HD 7950.

Nvidia is still sitting back waiting for the right moment to strike back, but can it recover from these two quick blows?

Well, we say quick - it's been well over a month since AMD launched its first card of this generation, the AMD Radeon HD 7970.

That was a surprise given that, pre-Christmas, we were expecting both cards to hit the streets at the same time in the first week of January with a possible dual-GPU iteration coming around now.

AMD though decided to give its top-of-the-line, £500 AMD HD 7000 card a bit of breathing space at the start of its life, and now that the AMD Radeon HD 7950 is sat here in our labs it's easy to see why its release was delayed.

Essentially it's almost as good a card for over £100 less.

So AMD's claims to be delaying so it could wait for AMD Radeon HD 7950 units to be in the market (despite launching its big brother, the AMD Radeon HD 7970 well before you could even lay eyes on one) seem to be rather thin.

We think it's more likely AMD realised even fewer people would pick up a £500 graphics card when there was one for £350 that could do the same job practically as well.

To be fair though this isn't the first time this has happened; the previous generation had exactly the same problem in the two top-end Cayman cards – the Radeon HD 6950 and Radeon HD 6970.

There was precious little difference between the two cards in benchmarking terms, and with some judicious use of BIOS tweakery and ROM flashing fun, there ended up being precious little difference between them architecturally too.

But there must be some differentiating factors, some reason for the £150 price difference.

So, what has AMD chopped out of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 Graphics Core Next GPU to make the grade?

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
Processor Speed800 MHz
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