Article Index

amd fx bulldozer and radeon hd 7950 reviewWe investigate how the CPU influcences the performance of Sapphire's Radeon HD7950 OC graphics card by testing it with AMD A6-3650 APU and AMD FX-6100 CPU against the combination Intel's i7-3960X and AMD's Radeon HD7970. What we found was with our test suite AMD A6 and AMD FX offered better performance per dollar than Intel's flagship i7.

Introduction

Now that AMD’s rapid fire succession of performance Radeon 7000 series cards is over and pricing, availability has started to settle it is time to look at the bigger picture. Some of these cards specially the 7900 are quite powerful and as such need strong systems to make the most out of them with some software.

Not every power user or gamer out there interested in these new cards will have the best CPU.  In this review we investigate how much CPU power is needed to feed the new Radeon HD7950 and what performance differences can be expected with different priced CPUs and Platforms from AMD and Intel with a standard benchmark suite.

Our review of the HD7950 is a little different, as we will examine CPU scaling with this card.  To achieve this, we took Sapphire’s Radeon HD7950OC 3GB graphics card and tested it in two different contemporary AMD systems:

  1. AMD A6-3650 Quad Core APU with AMD A75 chipset and Gigabyte motherboard. We disabled the integrated Radeon graphics, when disabled we save about $30 and 30 watts of power.  AMD A6 "Llano" is an updated version of the Phenom II quad core CPU.
  2. AMD FX-6100 six-core, three module, six core processor with AMD 990FX chipset and Gigabyte Motherboard. The clock speed of this processor is moderate compared to other models in the AMD FX family, but at this price point, it competes directly on price with Intel’s i5 quad core non-turbo processors.  The FX-6100 is unlocked so enterprising users can overclock all the way past 4GHz if they wish; Intel i5 processors under $200 are locked.
  3. Intel Six-core Core i7-3960X CPU with Intel X79 chipset and Intel Motherboard. We compare the AMD/HD7950 combos to the Intel system and standard reference AMD Radeon HD 7970.  The combination of Intel CPU and Motherboard represents the flagship Intel Enthusiast/Desktop machine currently on sale.

The results we gained from these tests showed that modern software relies more on GPU performance than CPU while older software was more dependent on raw CPU speed.

 

The question is how low can you go?  The answer we found is that for older games, which are largely CPU bound, we can lose half of the game performance by using a weaker CPU versus the best desktop CPU on the market currently.  In newer games, which are largely GPU bound such as modern DirectX 11 titles, which offload processing to the graphics hardware, we can get very good performance per dollar results with cheaper CPU and the more expensive CPUs some advantage.

We used Intel’s excellent Sandy Bridge-E enthusiast platform to evaluate the HD7970 which was a match made in heaven as we can balance high GPU with high CPU performance without bottlenecks thanks to the Intel Sandy Bridge-E and X79’s chipset.

The average buyer of a HD7950 is unlikely to pair the card with an AMD APU; however it is still usable we demonstrate the results.

By including the AMD Bulldozer processor in our review of the Sapphire HD7950 OC we can demonstrate perfectly any CPU penalty in games which do not take advantage of multi-threading and rely on ultimate clock speed to deliver large gains in performance.  This processor family actually does relatively well in multi-threading contrary to media review status quo as like other previous AMD architectures it descends from a server processor

For reference, we included our results of the HD7970 with the Intel i7-3960X to show what the maximum performance that the AMD HD7970 graphics card can achieve with a single Intel CPU

Additionally, we can make price/performance comparisons between the AMD and Intel systems to show which CPU is the best bang for buck for those users deciding on a CPU or new Radeon 7900.

We address something that is important this review of Sapphire’s Radeon HD7950 OC, how much CPU power do you actually need to drive such a powerful graphics card, let alone a HD7970.

Will the cheaper extreme segment offering, HD7950 be suitable for people with cheaper CPUs or will the money be better spent on a smaller GPU or other components?

2016-08-29 | LG puts OLED in all the things - Integrate/CEDIA AUS 2016 Booth Tour


2016-08-12 | What is Software Defined Networking with Doug Murray, CEO Big Switch Networks.


2016-06-17 | NVIDIA DGX-1 launches in Australia - NVIDIA ANZ Interviewed


2016-05-01 | Build a kickass Dolby ATMOS Home Theatre - The Pros show us how


2016-04-01 | The Panasonic Toughbook CF-20 Story


2016-03-23 | Seagate 8TB Family, 10TB Helium & Mobile HDD 2016 Hard Disk Update


2016-03-21 | Panasonic Toughbook 20 : Fully Rugged detachable Laptop launch - Water, Drop & Weight Tested


2016-03-23 | ASUS ROG Gaming House Tour - Sydney, Australia


2016-03-01 | ASUS ROG GX700 Liquid Cooled Notebook Preview & Interview


2016-03-23 | League of Legends Legacy eSports Team Interview


2015-12-09 | Microsoft Store SYDNEY - Grand Opening Press Conference


2015-11-11 | HP 6th Gen Core Intel Skylake PC & Jet Intelligence Printing Launch - Melbourne Experience Centre


2015-11-11 | HP Experience Centre Melbourne Tour -Part 2


2015-11-11 | HP Experience Centre Melbourne Tour -Part 1


2015-08-28 | Parrot Interviewed - Flower Power Wireless Plant Monitor


2015-08-28 | Parrot Interviewed - ZiK 2.0 Headphones


2015-08-28 | Parrot Interviewed - AR. Drone, MiniDrones, Bebop Drone


2015-08-23 | MOTO G 3rd Gen IPX7 Water Proofing Demo & Moto X Style/Play/G Q&A


2015-08-21 | Motorola Mobility Interviewed - 3rd Gen Moto G, Moto X Play, Moto X Style


2015-08-20 | NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 950 Launch Ep.1 | Gamestream Co-Op - A New way to share games


2015-08-20 | NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 950 Launch Ep.2 | MOBA/DOTA 2 Latency and Smoothness


2015-08-08 | Intel SKYLAKE i5-6600K LN2 overclock at 6.33 GHz with ASUS Z170 ROG Hero


2015-08-07 | Intel Skylake i7-6700K @ 4.8 GHz & DDR4 @ 3.5GHz on ASUS Z170 Deluxe Overclocking Guide


2015-08-05 | ASUS Z170 Deluxe Motherboard for Intel Skylake 6th Gen Core CPU Overview


2015-08-05 | Review - ASUS Installation Tool for Intel SKYLAKE 6th Gen Core CPU


2015-08-02 | HP Pavilion and Envy 2015 Consumer Notebook First Look


2015-07-25 | HP Envy Phoenix 2015 Overclockable Gaming Tower First Look


2015-07-22 | Ashes Of The Singularity - DirectX 12 Hands-On Demo with AMD FURY X


2015-07-14 | Media Q&A with AMD and Richard Huddy - AMD Fury X ‘Fiji’ Graphics comes to Australia


2015-07-14 | MSI Interview - AMD Radeon R9 300 Gaming, Armour and Lightning GPUs


2015-07-14 | AMD's Richard Huddy Interviewed - AMD Radeon Fury X ‘Fiji’ Graphics comes to Australia


2015-07-14 | ASUS Interview - AMD Radeon R9 300 STRIX, Auto Extreme Technology and ROG MATRIX cards


2015-07-14 | Simplivity Omnicube Server Accelerator - Hyperconvergence Live Demo and Technical Interview


2015-07-14 | Simplivity Interviewed - What is Hyperconvergence & the Omnicube Server Accelerator


2015-06-21 | Media Q&A - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, Mobile G-SYNC & Gameworks VR Launch


2015-06-21 | Mobile G-SYNC explained - NVIDIA Mobile G-SYNC & Gameworks VR Launch


2015-06-21 | Gameworks VR explained - NVIDIA Mobile G-SYNC & Gameworks VR Launch


2015-06-21 | DirectX 12 Explained - NVIDIA Mobile G-SYNC & Gameworks VR Launch


2015-06-05 | NVIDIA Mobile G-SYNC & Gameworks VR - First Look, Q&A and Demos


2015-04-09 | HP Zvr 3D Virtual Reality zSpace Monitor First Look and Hands-On Demos


2015-04-09 | HP 2015 Zbook Workstation Ultrabooks and Displays First Look


2015-03-30 | EPIC Unreal Engine 4 Kite Demo on NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX TITAN X


2015-03-08 | ASUS Transformer Book Chi T300 Australian Launch


2015-03-08 | Intel RealSense 3D Camera Demos & Games - ASUS Chi T300 Launch


2015-03-07 | Dolby Conference Phone and BT MeetMe Service with Dolby Voice - Demo and Q&A


2015-03-07 | Who is Dolby and What is Dolby Voice


2015-03-07 | The Science and Psychology of Dolby Voice


2015-03-07 | The Great ASUS Comedy Debate - Laptop v Tablet Toilet Humor


2015-03-03 | Dual Intel XEON E5-2643V2 Benchmarked - Cinebench & Blender


2015-02-25 | 2015 HP Pro Slate, Pro Tablet EE & Elitepad 1000 First Look