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Old 12-23-11, 04:04 PM   #54
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Default Re: Official Radeon 7970 Review and discussion thread

Originally Posted by brady View Post
It's an impressive card for the price and power draw, I think. The main thing that keeps me from using AMD cards for gaming is (1) no PhysX support, and (2) worse driver support than nVidia. Those things are a big enough deal for me that even if I were in the market for a new card right now, I'd buy one of nVidia's current offerings over AMD's newest.
I'd say that PhysX is even more niche than 3d gaming... Few titles use it and the ones where it could really help immersion are done on a CPU physics engine instead.

The driver argument while I can't say I fully agree with is being addressed. The main thing is that they did finally get around to allowing custom profiles much like Nvidia. This should really help for CFX users and getting new titles to work.

As we noted last week with the release of the Catalyst 12.1 preview, AMD has a lot of technical and reputational debt to dig themselves out of when it comes to their Catalyst drivers. AMD dropped the ball this fall a number of times, failing to deliver on appropriate drivers for Rage, Battlefield 3, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in a timely manner. This isn’t something AMD is shying away from either – they know they screwed up and they’ll admit as much – but the question remains of how they intend to improve from there. Now that they once again have the leading single-GPU video card they need to have the leading drivers to run it.

Part of this redemption will come from the addition of new features, if only to reach parity with NVIDIA. Catalyst 12.1 introduced custom application profiles, while as we discussed with Eyefinity, Catalyst 12.2 will add to AMD’s suite of Eyefinity features with custom resolutions and the ability to relocate the Windows task bar. Furthermore AMD has features in the development pipeline for their Catalyst drivers for introduction later this year, but at this point it’s too early to talk about them.

That whole page is definitely worth a read as it goes into a lot more detail about trying to improve relationships with developers to get their software more optimized. Nvidia definitely does have an advantage in some titles which becomes apparent when compared two evenly matched cards.

All in all it's a pretty solid card. I really like how they tweaked all of the power options. IMO it seems like a lot of gamers don't care if the fan has to be a bit louder if it keeps their GPU cool during a game. Once you're out of game though getting that card throttled down as much as possible to make your pc silent is great for everything else. My main pc could easily be used to surf the web / perform as a HTPC without making my room a sauna. Then it still packs more than enough power to play games.

The 3 seperate displays with seperate audio is intriguing, but one thing that still needs to change is input support. If I could use those as completely seperate "VM's" I would be all over this card. There are a lot of games in which my main pc is more than adequate to host multiple instances, but I don't have a way to use them as such. Imagine having a CFX setup with eyefinity on a SNB-E pc. When you're playing by yourself you can have all of the fun an immersion of triple panel gaming. A couple of friends want to stop by to play a game, but having to haul their whole rig is time consuming and a bit of a hassle. If you could break up your 3 monitors into seperate computers so they could join in it would be awesome.
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