AMD has just released its new Radeon HD 7970. It is a new design based on AMD’s “Graphics Core Next” that had been presented earlier in the year. The goal of this new design was two-fold: 1/win the single GPU performance crown 2/ perform much better in non-graphics computing. Both aspect are critical for AMD because graphics processors obviously need to be fast at gaming in order to sell. However, the world is changing and GPUs also need to be helpful with things like scientific computations, which can open new (profitable) markets for AMD.
This new Radeon HD 7970 will do very well with gaming, especially in high-resolution (2560×1600) where it beats NVIDIA’s single GPU offering often, although not always. Still, on average, the 7970 now the fastest single GPU system on the market, and to beat it, one would have to turn to dual-GPU solutions like the GeForce GTX 590 or AMD’s own 6990. Although I currently use a dual-GPU setup, I have to admit that they tend to be bigger and nosier, and I have always preferred a single-GPU system.
In terms of pricing, the Radeon HD 7970 is not cheap and I expect it to cost $550, which is fairly competitive with NVIDIA’s GTX 580. Cards are not available as we speak, so you’ll have to be a bit more patient.