A few days ago, in an emotion-filled post, we raised a number of concerns about AMD launch of an upgraded HD 7950. Luckily, it appears that PowerColor’s logical naming scheme has proven some of our worries unfounded.
Initially, AMD’s communication to the press stated that there would be no distinguishing name At this point it doesn’t matter whether AMD has now changed their tune or PowerColor has taken it upon themselves to add a distinctive description. Why? Provided other board partners follow this lead, the consumer confusion we were initially worried about won’t materialize. The result is the HD 7950 Boost State Edition and we couldn’t be happier. We love being proven wrong, especially when it improves the buying situation for consumers.
The specs on this card are quite straightforward. Its initial Engine Clock remains at 850MHz but AMD’s expanded P-States allow it to dynamically increase clock speeds up to 925MHz in most situations. Memory frequencies stay the same at 5Gbps and as a result, in our initial and limited testing, the Boost State Edition is able to achieve a 3-7% real world framerate increase.
For the time being, PowerColor will have a single reference design SKU available in limited quantities according to our communications with them:
Initially, we will be air freighting in a limited number of cards to select retailers. They will be available in the next 24 to 48 hours. –PowerColor
There are however still several questions swirling around this card, some of which were prompted by PowerColor’s statement. Pricing and availability remain the largest concerns since both have to be spot on in order to provide successful competition against today’s launch of the NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti. According to AMD we should see these cards available for not a penny more than reference-based cards (currently at $319 at most retailers). In addition, PowerColor’s “limited number of retailers” statement is somewhat worrying since a few cards, from a limited selection of board partners may play against AMD’s claims of widespread availability. However, we are now cautiously optimistic that AMD is well on their way towards learning from their HD 7970 GHz Edition launch mistakes and we hope other board partners are following PowerColor’s lead.
For the time being, we are still taking a wait and see approach to this launch but things are certainly looking up. Our FULL top to bottom review will be posted once we can accurately judge price, availability and overall performance against the competition.