With the HD 7970 925M DD Edition, XFX is launching an exciting and, at the same time, inexpensive variant on the market. In addition to this version, XFX offers the overclocked version “Black Edition” and a version based on AMD’s reference design, the Core Edition.
We looked closer at the 925M Double Dissipation Edition with dual fan and standard clock, equipped with Ghost Thermal Technology (more on later) for better cooling. The test will show what the card can do, what advantages and disadvantages the specially developed cooling system has, and whether the card can hold a candle to the recently tested GTX 670.
Scope of delivery
The packaging is significantly smaller than that of many other manufacturers. The test subject arrives at us space-savingly but with a noticeable weight. In addition to the graphics card, we found many package inserts, advertising flyers, and instructions when unpacked.
A driver CD is also included, as is an HDMI-to-DVI adapter. Given the premium price, this could be a better scope of delivery. A PCIe 8-pin adapter would be nice since only some have a power supply with such a connector.
As can be seen on the GPU-Z screenshot and as the name of the card suggests, the XFX HD 7970 925M clocks at 925 MHz and the memory at 1375 Mhz. In this way, one adheres precisely to the specifications of AMD.
Let’s look at the map in more detail.
Two 70 mm fans cool the HD7970 with the so-called “Ghost Thermal Technology”. The two fans blow onto the cooling fins and the circuit board with this cooling concept. Most of the air is directed into the housing instead of being guided out of the housing.
According to XFX, exceptionally high-quality fans are installed, repelling dust and guaranteeing a long service life.
The back shows that XFX completely adheres to AMD’s reference design. You can also see the connectors for the Crossfire bridges here. Thanks to the small bios switch, you can switch back and forth between two bios versions if something goes wrong.
Beautiful chrome decorations ensure an attractive design of the heat sink.
The heat sink consists of a solid copper plate. So that the heat can be dissipated well, it is routed to the many aluminum cooling fins via heat pipes.
Like the last tested GTX 670 from KFA², the XFX HD 7970 925M requires a PCIe 6-pin and a PCIe 8-pin power connector. The card can be supplied with up to 300W.
A total of five connections are available to the buyer: In addition to two DVI and two MiniDP connections, you can also connect a monitor via HDMI.
Here is the map again in the overall view. We find the design very successful.
And as always, the length comparison with the Asus HD 6950. At almost 28 cm, the XFX HD 7970 doesn’t come close to the 29.5 cm of the Asus. In terms of weight, however, it can easily outperform the Asus.
Practice / Benchmarks:
Quickly install the graphics card, and the tests can begin. We used AMD Catalyst 12.10 as the driver.
Our test system
3D Mark 11
Futuremark has been developing 3D benchmarks for years, which demand the latest graphics cards. 3DMark 11 relies on DirectX 11 benchmarks, whereby tessellation, depth of field, volumetric lighting, and direct computing are also used.
3D Mark Vantage
The previous 3DMark 11 used DirectX 10 effects as the first benchmark. Here, too, current high-end systems still work up a sweat.
Among other things, this benchmark tests the tessellation performance of graphics cards. Physically correct calculations and dynamic lighting effects ensure a meaningful test.
The massive world of Skyrim, with an unbelievable number of textures and effects, is currently one of the games with the highest demands on a gaming PC. We measured the FPS on a round trip through the white run. Both water and fire effects, a viewpoint, houses, and people ensure suitable utilization of the graphics card. *Unfortunately, Vsync could not be disabled on the AMD Catalyst then, so the HD7950 could not display more than 60 FPS.
Of course, the latest version of the multiplayer classic should be included in our test. The display of countless soldiers and people with realistic weapons and vehicles also demands a lot from the graphics card here.
The integrated benchmark in Mafia II shows various complex scenes and effects: just the right thing for a graphics card test.
In most benchmarks, HD7970 cannot catch up with the overclocked GTX 670 from KFA². The XFX only has the edge in older benchmarks. In Skyrim, the FPS differences between the resolutions are minimal. The large memory of 3GB is particularly noticeable here.
The gap to the HD 7950 isn’t quite as big as we initially expected. The “Ghost Thermal Technology” cooling concept can score in Windows mode with whisper-quiet background noise. Unfortunately, this can quickly change under load.
The two 70 mm fans become absolute screamers. We had to abort the test under Sleeping Dogs in FullHD resolution because the card reached over 100°C. The fans ran at 100%. Unfortunately, we cannot say whether our model is a Monday model or whether the cards behave like this. We will wait for an exchange model and then test it again.
XFX Radeon HD 7970 925M 3GB DD Edition (FX-797A-TDF)
The benchmarks quickly showed the limits of the HD7970. Although AMD could climb the throne without problems, it could hardly score against Nvidia. Since the GTX 670 is in the same price range, around €360, the cards for the HD 7970 are rather alarming.
Especially since the specially developed cooling concept from XFX was mostly negative, apart from the pleasant volume under Windows, the “Ghost Thermal Technology” was not convincing. More than 100°C and a loud noise under full load are not only wrong but unacceptable.
We will submit an update later on whether it is a faulty model.
Ghost Thermal Technology: whisper-quiet cooling or an appropriate name when the card gives up the ghost under load?