The new Radeon HD 7950, which is being released today, is a more affordable version of the Radeon HD 7970. Let’s check its performance and see if it is a good choice for users looking for a high-end video card.

The Radeon HD 7950 is a Radeon HD 7970 with fewer processors and lower clock rates. It is based on the same new architecture as the more expensive model, dubbed “Graphics Core Next” or simply “GCN,” and supports the new PCI Express 3.0 connection and the latest DirectX version (11.1). For a detailed explanation of the new features present on this new architecture, please read our Radeon HD 7970 review.

At USD 450, the Radeon HD 7950 fills the void between the GeForce GTX 570 (USD 370-400, if you can still find a video card based on this chip) and the GeForce GTX 580 (USD 470-500 for models with the standard clocks and 1.5 GB of memory) in terms of pricing.

In the table below, we compare the main specifications of the video cards included in our review. The prices listed below do not include rebates and are for the models with the clock and memory configurations listed below. Prices were researched at on the day we published this review, except for the Radeon HD 7950, which is the price advertised by AMD.

Video Card Core Clock Shader Clock Memory Clock (Effective) Memory Interface Memory Transfer Rate Memory Shaders DirectX Price
Radeon HD 7950 800 MHz 800 MHz 5 GHz 384-bit 240 GB/s 3 GB GDDR5 1,792 11.1 USD 450
Radeon HD 7970 925 MHz 925 MHz 5.5 GHz 384-bit 264 GB/s 3 GB GDDR5 2,048 11.1 USD 550-560
Radeon HD 6970 880 MHz 880 MHz 5.5 GHz 256-bit 176 GB/s 2 GB GDDR5 1,536 11 USD 330-370
GeForce GTX 580 772 MHz 1,544 MHz 4,008 MHz 384-bit 192.4 GB/s 1.5 GB GDDR5 512 11 USD 470-500

NVIDIA offers a 3 GB version of the GeForce GTX 580 for USD 550, which is the true competitor against the Radeon HD 7970. However, we didn’t have one to include in our comparison.

You can compare the specs of these video cards with other video cards by taking a look at our “AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table” and “NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table” tutorials.

Today, only the LGA2011 Core i7 processors (“Sandy Bridge-E”) have a PCI Express 3.0 controller. Therefore, we tested the video cards using a Core i7-3960X processor on a motherboard based on the Intel X79 chipset. In our Radeon HD 7970 review, we discovered that, at this time, there is no difference between using a PCI Express 2.0 or a PCI Express 3.0 connection. We also discovered that if you are using a high-end video card, the CPU doesn’t affect gaming performance.

Now let’s take a complete look at the AMD Radeon HD 7950 reference model.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.