AMD Regains Single-GPU Performance Crown From NVIDIA, For Now
December 22, 2011 2:07 PM
comment(s) - last by
Tahiti is the best, but the best isn't cheap
It was less than a year ago that Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (
launched the Radeon HD 6000 series
(January 4, 2011, to be precise). The 6000 series didn't revolutionize the world of performance gaming and didn't top the single-card performance charts, but it did allow AMD to stay competitive with rival NVIDIA Corp. (
) on the basis of price, if not performance.
I. Why the Radeon HD 7970 is a Huge Launch for AMD
In other words, the Radeon HD 6000 series was all about surival in the face of
the dominant GeForce 500 series
-- conceding performance, but still winning on the merits of a low price.
The 7000 series launch is a very different kind of lauch. AMD is unleashing a new architecture -- "Graphics Core Next" (GCN) -- on the world. And it has aggressively targetted the performance crown, and largely succeeded. That launch begins today with the release of the Radeon HD 7970
A couple of quick notes --
This is a soft launch. Actual hardware will likely ship in January, though preorders are beginning shortly.
NVIDIA will be launching sometime in calendar Q1 2012 (fiscal Q1 2013) the GeForce 600 series. Our sources point to a January launch, though that's probably a soft launch. Expect NVIDIA to ship product sometime in the Feb.-March window, barring a surprise.
Like most past video card architecture bumps (e.g. NVIDIA's 4xx series
and AMD's 2xxx Series
), the hype exceeds the performance and leaves people with a sense of disappointment. Likewise the price is bumped higher than many would like. But at the same time, like those previous architectures, it does -- to a degree -- deliver on its lofty performance processes. In that definition, while some may hate it (as most champions are hated), AMD has thus far suceeded in the objectives it set for the the Radeon HD 7970
(aka. HD 7000 Series) family.
Unlike the previous generation, AMD is no longer gunning for the budget market. It's pricing its new high end single GPU solution in line with NVIDIA's premium pricing -- even a bit higher. It remains to be seen if this move backfires in January, when NVIDIA drops its 600 Series, but AMD could always slide down the prices next month to compensate, while getting a bit of extra green from early adopters.
II. The Specifications
So how does the card stack up compared to the previous generation AMD model, specs-wise?
("Real world" Power, Noise, and Temperature levels taken
(Both GPUs are produced
on processes by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
Comp., Ltd. (
III. The Performance
As you can see most of the improvements line up at somewhere between
30 to 50 percent (specs lead)
. The results are about what you'd expect. Where as the Radeon HD 6970 at best managed a tie with the GeForce 580 in most games, and at worst trailed it by a significant percentage, the Radeon HD 7970 consistently beats the GeForce 580, according to
Its average win, depending on resolution, is
between 15 to 25 percent (gaming lead)
, with better results generally observed at higher resolutions. The overall results range from 5 percent faster to 35 percent faster -- in other words,
could not find a game scenario in which the GeForce 580 was capable of beating AMD's latest and greatest.
In that regard, it's easy to crown AMD the new king of single card performance. Of course, with the GeForce GTX 680 likely to drop in January 2012, it remains to be seen whether AMD can cling to this victory.
Where the new card shows the most improvement is in GPU computing. Performance in many benchmarks increases between 60 and 100 percent over the previous generation. In many ways, between its graphics and GPU computing gains,
, so to speak.
The only difficulty for AMD here is that many GPU Computing users have already jumped onboard NVIDIA's proprietary CUDA programming platform. While some will certainly make the transition to OpenCL, NVIDIA has really gone the extra mile in terms of providing developer resources, training, and API documentation. Thus the transition to OpenCL may not be as smooth as some would hope.
IV. New Features and Conclusions
Round out the HD 7970 package are an array of new technologies that either may eventually offer faster/prettier games, or improve performance in specific applications:
Direct3D 11.1 -- an industry first -- will be supported
in Windows 8
Dedicated video codec processing, w/ hybrid mode that can beat
's Quick Sync in performance.
"Eyefinity 2.0" - Improved desktop support, e.g. centering the taskbar.
"Fast HDMI" - Allows 4k x 2k pixel monitors to be driven by a standard HDMI connection, for the first time.
Partially Resident Textures -- Allows faster high-resolution texture rendering in commercial or gaming engines that support this feature. John Carmack invented this technology for his company iD Software's engine, and it is expected to creep into other engines in the near future.
All in all, the Radeon HD 7970 is a "mission success" story. However, customers would be wise to wait about a month to see where exactly this exciting card stands, once the smoke clears and it goes head to head with the GeForce GTX 680.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Pass until Kepler
12/23/2011 1:53:04 AM
Don't think I can deal with AMD's GPUs ever again. Only had two of their cards but they've given me pretty much the only headaches I've had in 15 years of PC building.
Crossing fingers Kepler comes sooner than later, SLI is working great for me but 2560x1440 is still a lot of pixels to be pushing. :o
RE: Pass until Kepler
12/23/2011 11:22:00 AM
I'm the opposite, I've had no trouble with any of the Radeon cards I've had.
But after one nvidia based card I said never again!
RE: Pass until Kepler
12/23/2011 1:42:38 PM
AMD's drivers are a joke. Even in the Anandtech review this is basically said. They screwed up many game releases this year with bad drivers. Even getting there drivers to install first time can be a problem.
I've built over 100 computers in 2011, with all kinds of different hardware and cards, and 90% of the time when i have driver problems it's with AMD and not Nvidia. Atleast AMD are realising this though and are now putting more money into there driver department for 2012. Nvidia have also have been working with games companies for years, offering free technical help to the dev teams with people from Nvidia actually being there in person, and this clearly pays off.
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
Editorial: Why Windows 8 Tablets Will Beat the Odds, be a Winner
December 1, 2011, 8:05 PM
Next-generation 28nm GPUs Could Be 45 Percent Faster
November 4, 2011, 10:37 AM
AMD Airs Second Gen DirectX 11 Mobile GPUs, With 3D, EyeFinity
January 4, 2011, 2:06 PM
"World's Fastest GPU" GTX 580 Launches, Prices Float at Around $520
November 9, 2010, 9:15 AM
Apple Offers Refurbished 5K Retina iMacs for $2,119 Online
January 16, 2015, 12:37 PM
SanDisk Unveils Pricey iXpand USB 2.0/Lightning Drive to Expand iPhone, iPad Storage
November 13, 2014, 2:29 PM
HP's 15.6" Omen Gaming Laptop is Incredibly Thin, Powerful
November 4, 2014, 10:34 AM
Tim Cook Touts Apple’s Product Portfolio, Performance in Letter to Employees
October 21, 2014, 8:05 AM
Lenovo Once Again The Top Global PC Maker, Apple Takes 50% of PC Profits
October 9, 2014, 7:46 AM
It’s Official: HP to Split Into Two Business Units
October 6, 2014, 8:14 AM
Most Popular Articles
Under the Hood: How DirectX 11.3 and 12 Will Supercharge Windows 10 Gaming
January 23, 2015, 12:34 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
Microsoft Shows Off Latest Windows 10 Build, Preps it for Next Week Release
January 21, 2015, 2:57 PM
Google Fixes Homophobic "Bug" in its Translator
January 27, 2015, 2:31 PM
Will Google Become America's Fifth Major Carrier?
January 22, 2015, 12:42 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information