Advanced Micro Devices, by pushing the Radeon HD 7970 to 1 GHz, managed to oust the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 from its top spot, performance-wise, but Sapphire took things further.
We'd say that the new board is one step ahead of the curve, if it weren't more accurate to replace step with mile-long leap.
The name of the Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Toxic 6GB really says it all: 6 GB GDDR5 VRAM are present (the exact amount is 6,144 MB), instead of “just” 3 GB.
The product is a fairly peculiar invention, and not because of the hardware per se, but due to the circumstances of its appearance.
Advanced Micro Devices actually took the world by surprise. The HD 7970 GHz edition came out of left field for most, and had to go through some last-minute changes.
Sapphire's beast, on the other hand, has been in the making ever since CES 2012, months ago. Either the OEM foresaw AMD's move or just figured a super-card would look good on the resume.
At any rate, the Tahiti 28nm GPU is clocked at 1,050 MHz (1,100 MHz boost frequency) while the VRAM works at 1,500 MHz (6.0 GHz effective).
Twenty-four memory chips account for the colossal MB number, while an 8-phase VRM powers them and everything else on the 12-layer PCB.
As for the cooler, it has a vapor-chamber plate and a heatsink around it, plus four nickel-plated copper heatpipes (2 x 8mm and 2 x 6mm) and a couple of 90mm high airflow fans. Finally, an anodized aluminum backplate cools the chips on the reverse side of the adapter.
Overclockers will have a field day with Sapphire's Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Toxic 6GB, especially once they figure out the TriXX software (tweaks clocks, fan speeds, voltages), diagnostic LEDs and dual-BIOS (one is a failsafe).
The price was not mentioned, unfortunately, but it will be high. The monster has 2,048 Graphics CoreNext stream processors, 128 TMUs and 32 ROPs after all. Shipments will begin shortly, in limited quantities.