The HD 7970 has proven to be a capable video card that can deliver excellent frame rates at high end settings. Just a couple moths ago AMD and its partners upped the ante with the introduction of the GHz edition cards that featured increased clock speeds along with a special "Boost" clock speed that offered a further increase. The first "GHz" Edition card I looked at from Sapphire was the Toxic Edition that delivered a massive boost clock of 1200MHz on the 28nm core and 1600MHz on the memory at the push of a button. The Sapphire HD 7970 6GB Toxic with its 6GB of onboard memory and clock speed overhead delivered excellent gaming results. Included as part of the package was Sapphire's excellent Vapor-X cooling solution first seen on the HD 3870 Atomic version seen here on OCC back in 2008. Since that time Sapphire has used the cooling solution as a point of difference allowing its signature video cards to deliver excellent thermals and increased overclocking margins.
The Toxic Edition is a custom card that carries a steeper price tag than the reference cards but has the unique feature set, looks, and performance to command that price tag. A small step down the performance ladder is the new HD 7970 Vapor-X GHz Edition that comes in both 3GB and 6GB models. Using the latest version of its Vapor-X cooling solution, the Vapor-X edition is delivered with a stock clock speed of 1000MHz on the core and 1500MHz on the 3GB of memory on the card I will be testing. When you push the Dual BIOS button on the card you can experience a boost in clock speed via PowerTune Dynamic Boost up to 1050MHz on the core. Pressing it as a means to boost performance is even easier than pushing the Staples easy button. Packed full of all that Sapphire has to offer in terms of improved build quality, the Sapphire HD 7970 3GB Vapor-X uses Black Diamond chokes, DirectFet technology, and an eight phase power design all on a custom PCB. Selling at a more aggressive price point than the 6GB version at $469, the HD 7970 Vapor-X offers price and performance in one shot. That's a $10 premium over Sapphire's non-GHz OC Edition card.
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