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Review: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 OC in CrossFire

by Parm Mann on 31 January 2012, 16:00 4.5

Tags: Sapphire, AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabbxr

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Benchmark: Power, Temperature and Noise

Dual-GPU Power
Consumption Change
CrossFire at idle CrossFire at load SLI at idle SLI at load
0% 71.0% 60.3% 105%

The EVGA GTX 580 SC and Sapphire HD 7950 OC might have been closely matched thus far, but there's a distinct gap in the power-draw department.

The Radeon is clearly more efficient, and the CrossFire numbers look good, don't they? One card turns off when idle, bringing system-wide power consumption down to a lovely 44 Watts, and a figure of 330 Watts while gaming is perfectly acceptable for a pair of high-end GPUs. The NVIDIA cards look thirsty in comparison.

Dual-GPU
Temperature Change
CrossFire at idle CrossFire at load SLI at idle SLI at load
0% 21.4% 20.7% 4.9%

Lower power consumption tends to equals less heat, and thanks to the Dual-X cooler, Sapphire's Radeon HD 7950 OC is able to keep running at incredibly-cool temperatures.

Our tests found that AMD's reference design hit 69ºC under load, but a single Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 OC manages to shave off a further 13ºC - despite being pre-overclocked. A pair of Radeons do of course get warmer when gaming in CrossFire, but 68ºC is nothing short of admirable for a high-end, dual-card setup. The NVIDIA cards look toasty in comparison.

Dual-GPU
Noise Change
CrossFire at idle CrossFire at load SLI at idle SLI at load
0% 11.1% 1.5% 7.0%

Lower power consumption tends to equals less heat, and less heat tends to equal less noise. The knock-on effect is clearly evident, as Sapphire's card is remarkably quiet in use.

Heck, a single EVGA GTX 580 SC when idle makes almost as much noise as a Sapphire HD 7950 OC working flat out. Rival partners have their work cut out in trying to develop a card that's as calm and collected as this.

The previous pages have shown that the GTX 580 still offers plenty of performance - and SLI works better than CrossFire in certain titles - but there's no argument over power consumption, temperature and noise. Sapphire's Radeon HD 7950 is comfortably better in all three areas.