• In Depth: Gigabyte AMD Radeon HD 7970 OC


    22
    Published on 04-29-2013 10:33 AM by
    Last month, Apple included AMD Radeon 7xxx drivers in the latest build of 10.8.3 Mountain Lion. Because there have been no Apple products released using these devices, they can be more difficult to configure. However, they do compare favorably to NVIDIA's GeForce 6xx offerings in benchmarks. If you're looking for one of the top performing graphics cards on the market, the Gigabyte AMD Radeon HD 7970 OC is definitely worth checking out.

    Gigabyte
    AMD Radeon HD 7970 OC
    3GB DVI-I/HDMI/2x Mini-DP
    Amazon US
    (CAN UK DE ES FR IT)
    Newegg

    First, let's take a look at the card itself. It's got a DVI-I port, HDMI, and two mini-Displayports. The card's factory overclock is 1000MHz, from stock Core Clock of 925MHz. It can run 4 simultaneous monitors. It's a high powered card, however Gigabyte's "Triangle Cool" fans keep noise to a minimum. As expected the fans do spin up noticeably under heavy load, but during normal use the card maintains a low noise level.

    Enabling AMD 7xxx cards fully in OS X is possible, but requires more work, hence why we do not currently recommend them officially in our monthly Buyer's Guide. We've outlined a number of tips and tricks here. The Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC's device ID is recognized natively starting in OS X 10.8.3.

    Gigabyte's AMD Radeon HD 7970 OC is a beast of a card for gaming, handling Ultra settings with extremely high frames-per-second. The only other cards that beat this one are the highest end Radeon HD 7990, GTX 690, and TITAN, which are upwards of $1000. For a single card, single GPU solution, that works with OS X, the Radeon HD 7970 and the NVIDIA GTX 680 are the two best for gaming performance. Pricewise it's definitely not a budget card, rather it's a long term investment in top level performance. In addition, for a limited time, AMD is giving away free games: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Crysis 3 & Bioshock with purchase.



    If you've tested a 7xxx card, let us know in the comments. Post your benchmarks here.

    Related:
    AMD Radeon HD 7xxx Graphics Support in OS X 10.8.3
    AMD Performance Benchmarks - 10.8.3 - Radeon HD 75xx to 79xx Cards
    tonymacx86's Album: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Screenshots
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. twoturboz's Avatar
      twoturboz -
      I have an XFX 7870 2GB. I have to say that on ML this card absolutely screams. I can only imagine a 7970 OC. Configuring it was fairly straightforward. The only thing that really needs to be done is an update to Chimera so I can boot with PEG and therefore be able to boot into Windows when I want and not have to blind boot straight into the OSX desktop. Unplugging SATA cables and changing BIOS settings is getting tedious!!
    1. frnzkfk's Avatar
      frnzkfk -
      Small correction:

      >The only other cards that beat this one are dual GPU cards such as the HD 7990, GTX 690, and TITAN, which are upwards of $1000.

      Titan is a single GPU part.
    1. tonymacx86's Avatar
      tonymacx86 -
      Thanks frnskfk- I've made the correction.
    1. kevinallen's Avatar
      kevinallen -
      would any 7970 OC work? or specifically the gigabyte
    1. jamdox's Avatar
      jamdox -
      I'm interested in the 6GB version of this.
    1. stackcheese's Avatar
      stackcheese -
      Quote Originally Posted by kevinallen View Post
      would any 7970 OC work? or specifically the gigabyte
      i dont believe theres anything special about the gigabyte card. had no issues getting my visiontek to work.
    1. eric_f's Avatar
      eric_f -
      This looks like the answer to my problems. One question, since I'm still new to the hackintosh community. You say this card supports 4 monitors. Are all 4 presented to the system for configuration, or do they show up as one large monitor?
    1. gorokaman's Avatar
      gorokaman -
      Hi

      Im thinking about buying this card, but Do I have to configure something? Do I need to do some tricks so I could get it to work perfectly ? I have read that the gigabyte version is recognized natively, but Im confused....I already have an nvidia gtx660 oc, but Im really disapointed with the results.....Any suggestions?

      Thanks
    1. zalem's Avatar
      zalem -
      Quote Originally Posted by twoturboz View Post
      I have an XFX 7870 2GB. I have to say that on ML this card absolutely screams. I can only imagine a 7970 OC. Configuring it was fairly straightforward. The only thing that really needs to be done is an update to Chimera so I can boot with PEG and therefore be able to boot into Windows when I want and not have to blind boot straight into the OSX desktop. Unplugging SATA cables and changing BIOS settings is getting tedious!!

      Can only confirm that, unsing the same card SC2, D3, all running as high and smooth as it gets.
      as soon as chimera is updated, there is no stoping the radeon cards.
      7870 really is a good deal for everybody how doesn't want to spend a fortune.

      for now, dual booting works fine just using the iGPU and switching screen source.
    1. twoturboz's Avatar
      twoturboz -
      Quote Originally Posted by zalem View Post
      Can only confirm that, unsing the same card SC2, D3, all running as high and smooth as it gets.
      as soon as chimera is updated, there is no stoping the radeon cards.
      7870 really is a good deal for everybody how doesn't want to spend a fortune.

      for now, dual booting works fine just using the iGPU and switching screen source.
      I actually solved my issue to prevent switching.

      I changed my bios settings (MSI) to PEG w/ IGD Multi-Monitor. Then I applied the fb rotate trick to my login item and everything works PERFECTLY.
    1. dtrvndrn's Avatar
      dtrvndrn -
      Any theories explaining why the HD7970 smokes the GTX680 by such a difference? On Windows there's no such difference: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1881/14/

      Was the 7970 benchmark done with comparable settings to the Nvidia tests here? NVIDIA Performance Benchmarks - 10.8.3 - GeForce GT 640 to GTX 680
    1. vision33r's Avatar
      vision33r -
      Quote Originally Posted by dtrvndrn View Post
      Any theories explaining why the HD7970 smokes the GTX680 by such a difference? On Windows there's no such difference: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1881/14/

      Was the 7970 benchmark done with comparable settings to the Nvidia tests here? NVIDIA Performance Benchmarks - 10.8.3 - GeForce GT 640 to GTX 680
      Nvidia cards are a joke when it comes to serious graphics apps. When you look at the heavy Compute and OpenCL benches, even the Titan is still no match for even a HD 7850. HD7970 is nearly 2x the speed of 1x7870 with those workloads.

      The only benches that show Nvidia is strong are games especially ones that Nvidia paid to be the exclusive or stuff that uses CUDA.
    1. soundman2's Avatar
      soundman2 -
      if anyone how to stop this card from overheating on hackintosh please post your solution here ...
    1. tonymacx86's Avatar
      tonymacx86 -
      Quote Originally Posted by soundman2 View Post
      if anyone how to stop this card from overheating on hackintosh please post your solution here ...
      I've never experienced any overheating- this could be due to your case component arrangement or room temperatures. Please post a thread in the Graphics section with full details on your setup and how to reproduce the issue.
    1. jkyohan's Avatar
      jkyohan -
      Can you open AE CS6 on this card?
    1. shane_in_dbn's Avatar
      shane_in_dbn -
      A question, does this work with the Apple Cinema Display 27" via mini display port directly (no adaptors)
    1. Stathman's Avatar
      Stathman -
      I got the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB GDDR5 VAPOR-X
      and it's working smoothly.
      Thanks.
    1. KillerHackintoshKicksA's Avatar
      KillerHackintoshKicksA -
      Quote Originally Posted by soundman2 View Post
      if anyone how to stop this card from overheating on hackintosh please post your solution here ...
      When I have to run GPU@90%+ for more then an hour, I have to open the case & run portable AC blowing cold air right on the 7970 & VRM modules are still VERY hot. When I tried to save electricity & run AC 50% on/off the system freezes due too much heat. Watercooling is good, I heard. Just implement it correctly! Friend tried crossfire first 7970 was nice & cold, the second one run very hot. Star configuration is a must.
    1. KillerHackintoshKicksA's Avatar
      KillerHackintoshKicksA -
      Quote Originally Posted by soundman2 View Post
      if anyone how to stop this card from overheating on hackintosh please post your solution here ...
      Tried to post picture of the setup here? No luck. Also removed PSU to help with airflow ( temp drop by +4 or more). U have to run separate ground wire from PSU to chassi since the PSU is not screwed in the case.
    1. soundman2's Avatar
      soundman2 -
      has anyone been able to enable hdmi audio on this card ???
      (10.8.4 and DSDT ) ??

      help would be apriciated.