AMD's Radeon HD 7970 video adapter is very powerful even in its base form, but PowerColor decided to make it stronger and tougher, by giving it a special cooling mechanism.
The adapter easily stands apart from most of its peers primarily by virtue of its cooling module, rather than the clock rates.
Where the base model has a single-fan air cooler, this one features a waterblock.
More precisely, PowerColor outfitted the board with the EK Nickel Acetal waterblock.
With this to ensure a lower operational temperature than normal, it was safe to push the clocks of the graphics processing units (GPU) and memory upwards.
The result is a GPU that works at 1,050 MHz instead of 925 MHz, as well as 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM that operate at 5,700 MHz (effective) instead of 5.5 GHz.
The spec list goes on with the 2,048 Stream Processors (SPs), a memory interface of 384 bits and four display outputs: dual-link DVI, HDMI and two mini DisplayPorts.
Furthermore, the card supports PCI Express Generation 3.0, even though it can't actually do much with the extra bandwidth.
Everything else is unchanged from the original video controller: OpenGL 4.2 support, DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0, HDR texture compression, image quality enhancement, etc.
As for the GCN architecture, it is present and accounted for, relying on 32 compute units (lead to the aforementioned 2048 Stream Processors), 128 texture units, 128 Z/Stencil ROP units, 32 Color ROP units, Dual Geometry Engines and Dual Asynchronous Compute Engines (ACE) .
Finally, buyers will benefit from the AMD App Acceleration, HD3D, CrossFire, Eyefinity, PowerPlay, PowerTune and ZeroCore Power.
Unfortunately, the price of this item is £599.99
(in the UK) and pre-orders won't ship before the end of the month (February, 2012). That translates into about $950 and 717 Euro, according to exchange rates.