AMD has pulled back the curtain on the Radeon HD 7970 GHz edition, a 28nm graphics card based on its Southern Island family of GPUs. The name says it all: the original Radeon HD 7970 was clocked at 925MHz, and this update brings that base clock speed up to 1GHz. The Radeon HD 7970 was supplanted by the GeForce GTX 680, Nvidia's first entry in the 28nm GPU arms race. AMD hopes to regain the performance crown with this performance bump, but the end results are a bit murky.

Reports reveal that the Radeon HD 7970 GHz competes well against the GeForce GTX 680, trailing in some synthetic benchmarks but trading aggressive blows with Nvidia's best on gaming tests. AnandTech's results reveal as much, and the site adds a note for fans of multi-monitor gaming across three displays — Eyefinity on the Radeon HD 7970 GHz edition saw a 6 percent performance advantage against Nvidia's Surround technology. HardOCP wasn't too impressed with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition's overclocking capabilities, citing better performance from an overclocked GeForce GTX 680, and comparable performance from an overclocked Radeon HD 7970 — if you're an AMD fan, you might be better off simply buying a Radeon HD 7970 and overclocking it yourself.

Our advice? While you're reading reviews (check out the source links below), play close attention to the gaming benchmarks. In AnandTech's tests, for example, AMD pulled ahead on Metro 2033 and Dirt 3 but lagged behind slightly on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Battlefield 3. Software developers work closely with GPU manufacturers, and there's a good chance your game or application of choice favors one brand or the other. The AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz edition will be available from a number of vendors next week, starting at $499.