Now that the high-end graphics card war has heated up for the start of 2012, we finally got our hands on a HD 7970 that didn't need to go back to the manufacturer - and have ripped it apart for your viewing pleasure.
It's quite a fast card that is neck-and-neck with the GTX 680 in some benchmarks (though it is beaten out in others), and is notable for being the first commercially available 28nm product.
AMD designed the HD 7970 to consume a maximum of 210 Watts of power, which translates into a decent heat load which is expelled by the reference-designed cooler. While most partners offer their own heatsink designs, some use the same cooler and therefore it's useful to know how to pull it apart.
Regardless of what cooler sits on the board, the majority of the cards run the reference PCB design, so this is still essential knowledge for any 7970 owner. We won't show you the temperature benefits of doing this; but as with previous dissasembly guides you can expect anywhere from 2-5 degrees of thermal improvement.
What you'll need
The 7970 is a relatively standard card that is quite easy to pull apart, but we still recommend a few things:
A well-lit, flat workspace
Philips head screwdrivers: Medium and Small
Isopropyl alcohol, acetone, or your favourite thermal goop cleaner
Replacement thermal paste
Anti-static wristband (never a bad idea)
As always, we take no responsibility for damage caused to components or fried tech. It's not very likely, but it's within the realm of possibility. If you're unsure of anything, just don't do it. With everything said and done jump into the disassembly guide to see how the AMD HD 7970 comes apart.
One of the best things to do with a card...
...is to spin the fan and take a photo. Aw yeah.
See our other guides below:
AMD Radeon HD 6870 Reference Disassembly Guide
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Reference Dissasembly Guide
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 Reference Dissasembly Guide
AMD Radeon HD 4890 Reference Dissasembly Guide
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 Reference Dissasembly Guide