Manufacturer: AMD UK Price (as reviewed): approx £300 (inc VAT) (Estimated) US Price (as reviewed): N/A
We've known about AMD's plans for a super-boosting HD 7950 3GB for a while now. In short, it's looking to do the same with this popular mid-range card as it has with its flagship HD 7970 3GB. The latter was recently pushed down to second place in the AMD graphics card league table thanks to the arrival of the HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition, which currently retails for close to £400 with standard HD 7970 3GB's demanding less of a premium at anywhere between £300 and £350 depending on when and where you look.
The HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition is nothing more than a 75MHz core clock speed bump over and above that of the standard card, with boosting speeds varying depending on which third party manufacturer has gotten their mits on it to tweak the boost speed depending on the thermal headroom of their cooler.
The new kid on the block is simply called the Radeon HD 7950 3GB. For clarity's sake we'll be referring to the new model as the Radeon HD 7950 3GB With Boost - potential purchasers will need to make sure they're buying the right version by checking the clock speeds. Here, the card has received a 15 per cent increase in clock speeds, boosting up to 925MHz on the core, while third party manufacturers have tweaked things a little further; Sapphire for example, will be releasing a 950MHz boosting VapourX version of the HD 7950 3GB.
Click to enlargeMost reference Radeon HD 7950 3GB's should have no problems with their BIOS being flashed to the Boosting version.
The new HD 7950 3GB With Boost we've used actually arrived before the original HD 7950 3GB launch, for the simple reason it's physically identical to the HD 7950 3GB. All AMD has done is apply a few tweaks to the BIOS, sent this to us with a flashing tool and a double click later we'd turned our reference card into the 925MHz Boosting model. While AMD told us that it won't be officially offering the BIOS to current HD 7950 3GB owners due to the fact it might apparently cause issues with some third party cards, it's a fairly easy way to get a nice little speed bump.
As far as price goes, we've been given a rough price of £300, which puts it a little pricier than current HD 7950 3GB's which go for between £250 and £280. AMD, though, has told us the new SKUs arriving in the next few days should retail for the same price as current cards. However, as with the HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition, despite the fact the HD 7950 3GB With Boost will apparently go on sale from 16th August, we suspect supply could be extremely limited or non-existent. We hope to be proved wrong, but in any event, it will stand along side stock cards for the time being, so grabbing one and flashing the BIOS yourself.