First GPU based on brand-new GCN architecture will be much better at general GPU-compute tasks.

AMD introduces ‘world’s fastest’ Radeon HD 7970

AMD announced the launch of the firm’s latest Radeon HD graphics card the HD 7970 which the firm claimed is the world’s fastest single GPU graphics card.

"This graphics card represents a revolution in the graphics industry. To put it bluntly, the AMD Radeon HD 7970 changes everything," boasted AMD GPU boss Matt Skynner in a release.

We suspect it changes rather less than Skynner believes. That said, AMD themselves changed quite a lot with the 7970, introducing a brand new design AMD is calling the Graphics Core Next architecture. Replacing the fairly graphics-specialised SIMD units with components AMD calls the GCN Compute Unit will enable better performance for general GPU-accelerated tasks, they say.

In a first-look at the Radeon HD 7970 hardware, Tom’s Hardware pointed out that a GPU redesign purely for general purpose computing could be seen as a "bold gamble" and that consumer applications for GPU-accelerated computing at pretty thin on the ground.

"Fortunately, the Radeon HD 7970 doesn’t rely on its compute potential to turn heads. It pushes game performance in a big way, too," said Toms Hardware’s Don Woligroski.

AMD said that the Radeon HD 7970 would appear from the 9th of January next year at retailers around the world. The company also said that prices would begin at around US$549.

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