4 special edition AMD HD 7970s
When the regular cards aren’t enough, manufacturers bring out the big guns
When AMD releases a new graphics card like the HD 7970, it sends board samples to its manufacturing partners such as ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI. These partners then fine tune the graphics card, put on custom coolers, and tweak what needs to be tweaked to make it even better.
Sometimes they’ll find some that are exceptionally good. They spend time tweaking these, and release them as super high-end versions with names such as “TOP”, “Hard core gaming”, and “Lightning”. Below are 4 special edition graphics cards from 4 of the biggest AMD graphics card partners:
Asus HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP
Asus have always been one of the leaders of special edition high-end graphics cards, and their HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP is no different.
It features a triple slot (yes, it takes up three PCI slots) DirectCU cooler with dual fans, and VGA hot-wire which allows overclockers to solder wires and variable resistors onto the graphics card to accurately read and control things like Vcore, Vmem, and PLL voltages.
The card also features 4 full sized DisplayPorts, and two standard DVI ports, so that the card can drive up to 6 displays simultaneously.
Sapphire HD 7970 OC edtion
Sapphire also have a range of special edition graphics cards, including OC (overclock). The 7970 OC graphics card features a Dual link DVI connector, an HDMI port and two mini display ports for a range of screen options.
It ships with a dual-BIOS system, one with a GPU core clock of 950MHz and memory clock of 1,425MHz for regular use, and a second with GPU core clock of 1,000MHz and memory clock of 1,450MHz for overclocking use.
Also present is a new cooler with multiple heat pipes for dissipating heat away from the graphics card core, dual fans to cool the heat-pipes, and dual-extractor technology to remove warm air from inside the cooler and dump it into the PC case.
MSI HD 7970 Lightning
Another high-end brand synonymous with extreme overclocking, the lightning series from MSI is known for its high core speeds under liquid nitrogen cooling.
The card comes with 4 Mini DisplayPorts, one single link DVI-I port, and one single link DVI-D port for up to 6 simultaneous monitor connections. It also features MSI’s own Twin Frozr IV cooler with special dust protection.
The card features a fully unlocked BIOS with no over-voltage protection, allowing overclockers to push extreme voltages. The circuitry is designed to handle twice the power load of normal HD 7970 graphics card for more stable overclocking when the voltages are raised.
Also present is GPU reactor, an add on device for the graphics card that increases total power capacity of the card by 88 percent and eliminates power ripple, once again to improve stability during extreme overclocking.
XFX 7970 Black Edition
XFX’s 7970 Black edition card is part of a well respected series of graphics cards that are used by gamers and overclockers alike.
It features XFX Hydrocell thermal cooling, which makes use of separate cells within the cooler. Each cell has condensation wicks and evaporation wicks to efficiently transfer energy away from the graphics card core and into the rest of the cooler.
Two Mini DisplayPorts, and HDMI port and a DVI port make sure nearly any monitor can plug right into the card.