AMD Radeon HD 7950 review
The Radeon HD 7950, codenamed Tahiti Pro, is the second card we've seen in AMD's new Southern Islands range, and is a step down from the Radeon HD 7970, codenamed Tahiti XT.
The HD 7950 is 12mm shorter than the HD 7970 and has the same outputs on the rear panel: DVI, HDMI and twin DisplayPort sockets. Depending on the board manufacturer, the card should come with an HDMI-to-DVI adaptor and an active Mini DisplayPort-to-DVI adaptor, so even if you don’t have a DisplayPort monitor you can use three monitors in Eyefinity mode. You can also buy active DisplayPort adaptors for £18 from www.lambda-tek.com.
The HD 7950 has the same 3GB of GDDR5 RAM and 384-bit memory bus as the HD 7970, but the RAM is clocked at 1.25GHz instead of 1.38GHz. There are some significant changes to the core: the cheaper card's GPU runs at 800MHz instead of 925MHz, and it has 1,792 instead of 2,048 stream processors. The lower power also means you only need a power supply with two 6-pin PCI Express plugs rather than one 6-pin and one 8-pin plug.
In our Dirt 3 test, which we run at 1,920 x 1,080, Ultra detail and with 4x anti-aliasing, the HD 7950 managed 73.9fps, compared to the HD 7970's 88fps. When running Dirt 3 in Eyefinity mode at 5,760 x 1,080, again with Ultra detail and 4x anti-aliasing, we saw a smooth 34.2fps, compared to 41.5fps from the more expensive card. In Dirt 3, the HD 7950 has around 84 per cent of the performance of the HD 7970 for 75 per cent of the price.
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