Radeon 7000 Series Debuts Next MonthBy Kyle Mann | December 22, 2011 | News | 2 comments | Share
January brings with it new ambitions, fresh starts, and blazing fast graphics cards. AMD has announced that its next flagship video card, the Radeon HD7970, will debut in the first month of 2012, reclaiming the fickle title of fastest single-chip graphics card from industry competitor NVIDIA, while still remaining power efficient according to early reports.
Set to launch sometime after January 9, the new powerhouse will be the first AMD card to be manufactured with a 28nm process and use the company’s proprietary GCN architecture. In addition, the HD7970 will be compatible with DirectX 11.1, the first card in the industry to support the yet-to-be-released standard. So it might not be a massive leap over today’s top GPUs, but it may future-proof your next PC build a bit longer than current cards.
The more technical updates the HD7970 brings with it include a new scalar architecture, a design which will designate each processing core to run a single instruction at a time. This will augment the card’s efficiency in lots of applications such as physics computing and supercomputing, though it may not directly improve PC gaming speed by much. The card will also support a brand new buzzword, “Partially Resident Textures”, which is a snazzy name for better hardware implementation of megatexturing (a technique seen in the recent PC game Rage).
Number geeks will be happy to know the card runs 2048 shader cores (roughly 33% more than the HD6970) blazing along at 925 MHz. The HD7970 also packs 3GB of GDDR5 memory running at 5.5 GHz and a 384-bit interface, which for the non-technical people basically means it will melt your face off. Early reviews suggest a nice performance bump up from current technology, though at $549 it will be quite the monetary setback for those of us without money trees to pick from. Still, as the mid-range and budget 7000 cards begin to creep onto the market, we should see affordable alternative implementations of the tech available for the rest of us.