Gigabyte 7970 Review

Gigabyte 7970 Review

Gigabyte 7970 graphics card review.

AMD 7970 chipset (codename: Tahiti), is the top performer in the crypto-currency mining world.  Gigabyte has done a great job, with their custom pcb, and Windforce feature.  In the world of crypto mining, the ability to Over Clock the GPU is very important.  In the end it's about high hash rates, and efficiency.  This review is based on mining litecoins (or scrypt based alt-coins).  With all of the new, and inexpensive ASIC mining equipment, GPU bitcoin mining is essentially obsolete.  If you'd like to see SHA256 (bitcoin) hash rates & performance with this card, please contact us here.

System details

Motherboard: ASUS M5A99FX PRO

Processor: AMD FX 6100 6-Core Processor

Memory/RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB

Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro M - 1000W 80 PLUS Bronze Power Supply

Graphics card: Gigabyte AMD Radeon HD 7970

Operating system:  Fedora 19

AMD Drivers: 13.6 Beta

AMD SDK: 2.8.1.0

AMD ADL: 5.0

 

Overview

The gigabyte 7970 has a unique fan setup, whereas it has 3 fans, instead of the typical two fan setups on non-reference cards.  This is their Windforce configuration.  It runs quieter than other cards in this 7970 class.  It sports a narrow body, and takes up two card slots.  This card cannot be voltage adjusted using the current firmware.  Overall it's an excellent card for litecoin (scrypt) mining.

b2ap3_thumbnail_GGBT-topangle.jpg   b2ap3_thumbnail_GGBT-Top.jpg

b2ap3_thumbnail_GGBT-pwr.jpg   b2ap3_thumbnail_GGBT-long.jpg

 

Mining performance

The performance of the Gigabyte 7970 is fairly strong.  It does have some downsides.  For example, I find it problematic when card manufacturers do not allow for voltage control.  I understand why they don't; however, when bitcoin/litecoin mining it's important to have the capacity to adjust the voltage.  By lowering the voltage, this can reduce power consumption, and heat generation greatly.  Once caveat to that, is if you are using Linux as your operating system.  I have yet to find a reliable way to lower the voltage using Linux.  Alternatively, Windows has the Trixx and Afterburner applications to lower voltages, and change engine/memory speeds.  On a positive note, the Gigabyte 7970 has a stock voltage of 1.170v, which is lower than other 7970 cards in the field.  

My first test was using the following settings:

gpu-threads = 2

intensity = 13

engine = 1025

mem clock = 1495

powertune = 10%

worksize = 256

thread concurrency = 18,368

Net Result: = 697 kh/s 

b2ap3_thumbnail_GGBT-LTC-I13-1025.png

 
My second attempt, with some minor adjustments:

gpu-threads = 2

intensity = 13

engine = 1045

mem clock = 1495

powertune = 10%

worksize = 256

thread concurrency = 18,368

Net Result = 706 Kh/s

b2ap3_thumbnail_GGBT-LTC-I13-1045.png

 

My last stable attempt

gpu-threads = 2

intensity = 13

engine = 1065

mem clock = 1495

powertune = 10%

worksize = 256

thread concurrency = 18,368

Net Result: = 720 -730 Kh/s

b2ap3_thumbnail_GGBT-LTC-I13-1070.png

 

Conclusion:

I tried many GPU settings, some worked better than others.  Stability, hash-rate, and temperature, are the keys to having a successful mining rig.  The Gigabyte 7970 is a stable performer, and is recommended for mining rigs that have plenty of cooling, or open-air rigs.  Once 3 or more of these cards are placed in an enclosed case, their temperatures get too high for my comfort.  Also, this review was done as a "Single" gpu card.  The aforementioned settings may not apply to mining rigs that have multiple cards.

Pros: 

Narrow card - takes up two pci slots

Low default voltage at 1.170v

3 fans for improved cooling

Quiet

Cons:

Voltage is factory locked

Update

For a single gpu card mining rig, the following settings for the Gigabyte 7970, seem to yield the best results.  Please note, that your results may vary.

b2ap3_thumbnail_GGBT-7970-750khs-conf-corr_20130815-174636_1.png   b2ap3_thumbnail_GGBT-7970-750khs-cgminer.png

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