If you’ve been missing out on the graphics card wars of late, then here’s a quick rundown. AMD launched its high-end $549 Radeon HD 7970 at the end of last year, and it reigned comfortably for a few months until NVIDIA came out with the masterful GeForce GTX 680. That would have been the end of the matter, at least for this product cycle, except for one crucial factor: time. Having reached the market so much earlier, AMD has now had six months to not only tweak its drivers but also its 28nm silicon. That process has already culminated in 1GHz cards at the low- and mid-ranges, and today it leads to the (slightly predictable) announcement of a Radeon HD 7970 ‘GHz Edition’ — priced at $499 and expected to be available from a range of board makers from next week. To keep you amused in the meantime, there’s plenty of detail in the gallery below and after the break.
A fresh contender for your blow-out 2012 Olympic gaming rig: AMD’s first 28nm GPU, the Radeon HD 7970. It’s scheduled to arrive on January 9th, priced at $549 — nearly $200 more than its direct ancestor, the 6970. Then again, this newcomer packs some supremely athletic specs, including a 925MHz engine clock that can be readily OC’d to 1.1GHz, 2,048 stream processors and an uncommonly muscular 384-bit memory bus serving 3GB of GDDR5. At the same time, AMD hopes to make the card more practical than the dual-processor 6990 by bringing the card’s power consumption down to less than 300W under load and a mere 3W in ‘long idle’ mode, and promising quieter cooling thanks to improved airflow and a bigger fan. We’ll have to wait for benchmarks in January before we hand out any medals, but in the meantime NVIDIA’s forthcoming 28nm Kepler GPU might want to step up its training schedule.