Originally Posted by Shamrock
There is already a rumor of a 8970 refresh, ready for Kepler.
I found it HERE
If you read the thread, this is why the 7970s overclock so well. Could also explain Sapphire's leaked paper.
I haven't read that thread but I do find the premise believable. Kepler would be a failure if it isn't considerably faster than the 7970- AMD needs something that can compete with the potential performance of kepler. You don't win by just making do. Even if kepler turns out an abysmal failure AMD cannot assume that to be the outcome, they have to have something greater than a mere clock increase planned for their refresh.
And considering how under whelming the 7970's stock performance is compared to present-generation GPUs (the GTX580 is a present generation GPU and it only barely trails the 7970 from the reviews I've read) AMD cannot expect that to suffice. They must have something greater in the works.
My prediction is AMD new that for right now they needed a card that was easily faster than the GTX580. Not by leaps and bounds but faster indeed. The 7970 is that, and it has proven to have lots of over clocking headroom. AMD new that such a card, for at least a short period of time, could be sold for a premium. How long has it been since AMD (or ATi) has had a single GPU card that could be sold at the present asking price of the 7970s? I believe they're miling their present single-GPU lead for all it is worth. I highly doubt the production cost of the 7970 is so great such a high price to the consumer is required. No, they are enjoying profit margins larger than they've had in a very long time.
I expect the prices will not come down significantly. I imagine Kepler will launch, and shortly after AMD's refresh to the 7-series. I don't think they'll allow inventory of the 7-series to last long after the 8-series is launched. The 8000 series will be the refresh to the 7000 series like the 6000 series is the refresh to the 5000 series.
However I think this refresh is where it'll get impressive. The GCN architecture likely has tons of potential- just looking at the 7970 I can see that being the case. However it is still a new architecture and one AMD likely isn't 100% familiar with yet. I'm certain they'll be able to tweak it for even greater efficiency. Maybe not even with more CU's. They were able to do more with less going from the 5870 to the 6970. That might be very much the case, or at least they may manage to do more with the same. No increase in CU's, likely a frequency increase and other tweaks to increase performance. Lot's of possibilities of course.
I've given up on the 7900, I'll not be buying one. Never really had any intention to anyways but that is absolute now. I'm still open to the possibility of more impressive cards- maybe the 7800s or nVidia's kepler. As I've said before- I am content with my 5870 for now.