AMD Wednesday announced its new Radeon HD 7970 graphics card for desktop PCs, which the chipmaker says is the world’s fastest single graphics card and the only GPU based on 28-nm production technology.
The Radeon HD 7970 is based on AMD’s new Graphics Core Next Architecture. According to AMD, the new architecture is something "vastly different" than anything the company has done over the past five years, as it poises the Radeon HD 7970 to be a heterogeneous GPU; while prior generation GPUs may have focused strictly on computing acceleration or graphics, this GPU was built to do both.
"The point of this [Graphics Core Next Architecture] was to start from the ground up and create a GPU that is perfectly suited for both computing and graphics," said Devon Nekechuk, product marketing manager at AMD.
AMD said the 7970's new 28-nm architecture offers up to an 150 percent performance/sq mm more than the company's previous generation flagship graphics card, the Radeon HD 6970, which was based on a 40-nm architecture.
While record-setting benchmarks are certainly a draw for gaming enthusiasts and high-performance computing (HPC) users, the 7970’s new architecture is also energy-conscience. The inclusion of AMD ZeroPower technology allows the new GPU to deliver lower idle power levels than any other graphics card currently on the market, AMD said. Coupled with AMD CrossFire technology, users also have the ability to reduce the power consumption of select chips within a multi-GPU CrossFire environment.
AMD PowerTune technology is also included within AMD’s newest graphic card, allowing the GPU to identify and tap into unused power headroom. As a result, users can dynamically control clock speeds and push performance levels within their specified power envelopes.
Essentially, AMD ZeroPower and PowerTune technology allows the new Radeon HD 7970 to deliver on performance – without sacrificing power. "We are doubling, tripling, or even going up to four or five times the performance within the same power belt," Nekechuk said.
Other notable features delivered with AMD’s new graphics card is its native support of PCI Express 3.0 for better performance scaling, along with Discrete Digital Multi-Point (DDM) Audio technology that allows audio to stream through multiple devices when video conferencing or gaming in a multi-display or multi-room environment.
The AMD Radeon HD 7970 is available January 9, 2012 from retailers worldwide, with select models starting at $549 in the U.S.