Sapphire Launches Radeon HD 7970

Hong Kong based electronics maker Sapphire Technology has announced the launch of its latest high end graphics card, the Radeon HD 7970.

This is the most powerful single chip card in the AMD 7000 series of graphics processing units (GPUs) and makes use of the new Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. It features a 28nm die, offering up serious performance improvements over the last generation as well as a reduced thermal design power (TDP).

The standard clock speed that this card ships with is 925Mhz, though chances are there will be some overclocking headroom - it won't be long before factory tweaked versions show up either. The new Catalyst drivers support the TriXX overclocking tool so will give enthusiasts plenty to work with.

Memory wise buyers will get an impressive 3GB of GDDR5 which uses a 384-bit memory interface. This helps deliver over 264Gbps of memory bandwidth.

This latest generation supports new features as well, including DirectX 11.1 (though not supported unless using Windows 8), PCI-Express 3.0 and DirectCompute 11.

Each card will come with plenty of connectivity options, including HDMI, DVI and two mini DisplayPorts making Eyefinity six monitor support possible. This card is also part of the first generation of AMD cards capable of outputting multiple audio streams associated with different applications and screens. Nvidia GPUs have been capable of this since the 200 series graphics cards however.