Top positive review
51 people found this helpful
on March 7, 2012
This thing is fantastic, and the memory cooling (much better than referance) allowed me to OC memory to 1800. Now since this isn't binned, I got unlucky, my core only goes to 1180 stable, but I'm perfectly content with it.
The card stays really cool, much cooler than my old lightening 6970. Me posting my own values is worthless because you guys will have different case setups etc.
Regardless, my maximum temps at 1625mv memory, 1200mv Core 1180mh core and 1800mhz memory are 62-3 degrees peaking with powerdraw unlocked with 100% gpu load and 100% fan speed. This is probably pulling something ridiculous like 300w. On BF:3 MAX 100% settings it stays at 59% fan speed, and never goes above 56 degrees Celsius. Just for referance, at my OC I get a minimum of 55 fps and a maximum of 78 fps infantry on a 64 player map on back to karkand (BF:3). In a jet it goes way over 120, but it's normally around 62-5fps during infantry gun battles. In a heli it can dip to 44 fps when I'm being rocket spammed, but it's still playable.
Please not everybody OCing may differ. At idle It's currently at 50 degrees, but right now I'm in 2d clocks which is higher than normal. My case fans are also powered down slightly. On idle (one monitor) clocks, it's at 32 degrees minimum fan speed. Please note I also have a 1080p video playing in my left monitor atm.
I am really happy with this card, and I wish amazon.com would restock it as I plan to purchase two more. If not I'll have to find another website to buy it from. This is also the best TWO SLOT COOLER hands down. Please note the cooler is open, so hot air is dumped into your chassis, with a less airflow-optimized chassis, this'll be bad, and in multi-gpu configurations with this card it will probably cause lots of heat build up.
7970 gigabyte - this product
16gb (4x4gb) Corsair vengeance ram - 16gb (4x4gb) samsung ram coming soon :D.
Coolermaster Haf X (modded fans in front bays and in bottom of case)
Blu-ray burner - Pioneer
Coolermaster silent pro gold 1200w (1300w platinum coming soon sleeved)
SSD boot drive 512gb samsung 830
HDD's Raid 0 Seagate 1tb x2
H100 fans are Excalibur fans, very quiet and good for radiator PWM fans.
I really suggest getting this card if you plan on doing 2-3 way crossfirex as it's the COOLEST and QUIETEST 2-slot cooler for gpu's hands down. I cannot notice the fans until 38%, and I do not feel it's louder than my case fans (with CPU load and 2 pwm fans) until 59%. I cannot bear it after 64%, but before that it seems to blend in and stay nice and quiet...
Please note the gigabyte has NO ACCESSORIES. You will need a 8 pin and a 6 pin PCIe connector to power it. TDP at stock volts and power control is 225 watts MAXIMUM.
I really do hope amazon.com will restock these cards soon for me to pickup more and for others to get some. Thanks for reading, and I really hope my review helped.
Recommendations for 7970:
If you've decided you want cooler/quieter temps over more heat inside the case:
2 slot cards:
Gigabyte, quietest card, best cooling at lower noise(less turbulence)/lower fan rpms - not a great benefit between 59% and 100%, 2-4 degrees at 1180mhz core, because the heat-sink is quite thin, but under normal usage (up to like 1250core I'd say) it'll be adequate. Alternatively, more air will blow down on the pcb and allow for slightly more air to reach vrm/memory.
Msi lightening, best ocer - more expensive, louder (it's coming in 2 weeks from this review) - BEST OCER. It will probably have binned cpu's, the core will be able to reach much higher, due to you being able to push more than 1300v (than what the normal cards are limited to), it can cool better at HIGHER fan speeds, due to dense heatsink, this means it's noisier and cools less at lower can speeds comparatively. The memory on lightening cards can't be OCed as much as referance memory, most people will be able to agree (including me) as they use a different vendor, however their core clock will be able to OC more.
Sapphire dual X - good quality, nice accoustics, inferior memory/vrm cooling to gigabyte card, but almost matched cooling - looks better (fans and pcb) - slightly better build quality (plastic)
Powercolor - Good cooler, quiet, worse quality vrm's than stock and lightening (so you wont be able to pump as much voltage in for u extreme guys) - great price!
XFX - Very good looks, decent cooling, decent noise, amazing customer service, decent warranty and accessories, BAD MEMORY/VRM cooling - some people have had MAJOR issues with this card as they do not have a heatsink/spreader on some components - great availability
I am not aware of a HIS non reference cooler.
If any of my information is wrong, or seems biased, please feel free correct me with a link for proof.
Denser heat-sinks = more cooling capacity, will need higher static pressure (more RPM) to do so (otherwise worse off at lower pressure), noisier (SLIGHTLY).
Less Dense is the opposite = less cooling capacity - more pressure doesn't do much to help cool (you can manage with MUCH less rpm and more conservative clocks).
Coil whine is experienced with all 7970's. Some people go insane by it, others don't. I only hear it when I unlock power draw, although others have reported (unconfirmed) that they experience it all the time under 3d load with other companies. I don't know anyone else with the gigabyte card who's experienced coil whine at gaming-load/3d burn test so eehh.
Tip: The plastic on the gigabyte card looks nice in photos but irl it's slightly transparent (opaque) so it looks (and feels) cheap. However it's VERY STRONG. It feels bad under your hand, but it's definitely solid. The gigabyte PCB is also reference 100% which is good for you water-coolers, and is a matte pale blue (most are black). The screws for the cooler are VERY tight and are spring loaded screws, not normal ones.
I hope this helped you!