Review: AMD Radeon HD 7950

Sitting second from the top in AMD's current range of enthusiast graphics cards, the HD 7950 provides great performance-for-price.

NameGraphics card: AMD Radeon HD 7950
At a glance:AMD’s second most powerful single-GPU video card.,1792 Stream Processing Units,3GB of GDDR5 memory,PCI-E 3.0
Summary:Another powerful GPU from AMD with the latest features and slightly better value than its more expensive sibling.

In April we took a look at AMD’s latest flagship video card, the Radeon HD 7970, and today we are following up with its little sibling the 7950.

In many respects the two cards are identical. Both are 275mm long, and have an HDMI, DVI and two mini-DisplayPort outputs, but where the 7970 requires one 8-pin and one 6-pin power connector, the 7950 only requires two 6-pin connectors, reflecting its lower power draw of roughly 170W.

All other features introduced with the 7970 are present here too, such as PCI Express 3.0, Zero Core Power, FastHDMI, and Graphics Core Next (check out our HD 7970 review for a full explanation of these).

What is missing in the 7950, however, is just a smidgeon of processing grunt. Under the hood it has 1792 Stream Processors running at 800MHz, giving it roughly 80% of the raw power that the HD 7970 has. On the memory side however it has 3GB of GDDR5 memory connected by a 384bit bus, same as the HD 7970, clocked at 1250MHz (5GHz effective) giving it about 90% of the memory bandwidth.

Looking at the performance stats, the HD 7950 gives you more than 80% of the performance of an HD 7970 for less than 80% of the price ($899 vs $699 RRP) which isn’t a bad trade-off.

It’s not a bad platform for overclockers, either – I got my review sample running at 925MHz/1500MHz Core/Memory speed effortlessly, which gave it a 12% boost in its 3DMark11 score.

Another solid investment opportunity for gamers.

Benchmark/StatDetailsAMD Radeon HD HD 7970AMD Radeon HD HD 7950AMD Radeon HD HD 7770AMD Radeon HD HD 7750Nvidia GTX 580AMD Radeon HD 6850
3DMark 11 (score)Performance

(1280 x 720)

Battlefield 3 (FPS)High88.273.639.329.368438.9
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat (FPS)Ultra, DX11, 4xAA, HBAO high, Tesselation enabled102.986.442.332.188.243.5
Unigine Heaven 2.5 (FPS)Default67.358.730.424.655.731.6
Trackmania Nations Forever (FPS)Very high, 4xAA84.583.562.356.9117.069.6
Anno 2070 (FPS)Very high51.742.425.121.342.926.2
Average FPS78.968.939.932.874.442.0
RRP incl GST$899$699$239$179$799$249
Dollars per FPS (lower = better)$11.39$10.14$5.99$5.45$10.73$5.93

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Paul Urquhart

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