Sometimes, due to price constraints, we are forced to buy older notebooks from resellers. Here, we often get refurbished laptops as well, which always appear in great condition. My curiosity led me to test some old graphics cards, one of them being the AMD Radeon HD 7970M.
To test the power of this graphics card and understand how well it holds up in 2023, I used an older Alienware M17x R4 gaming laptop. After conducting various benchmarking tests, here’s my honest review of this laptop and, more specifically, its graphics card.
AMD Radeon HD 7970M Specifications
The primary specifications of the AMD Radeon HD 7970M are:
|1st May 2012
|Core Clock Speed
|Memory Clock Speed
|Memory Bus Width
|Memory Size (VRAM)
|Power Consumption (TDP)
AMD Radeon HD 7970M Benchmarks
Since the AMD Radeon HD 7970M is pretty old, I used the older 3DMark TimeSpy benchmarking tools. Here’s what they have to reveal:
3DMark Vantage (TimeSpy)
Here, the GPU takes the load of two graphically intensive scenes. In one scene, there is a woman escaping from a military base. The other depicts a star wars-like scene of spaceship battles. Here, this GPU scored 21,938 (17%), which again is pretty low.
3DMark 11 (TimeSpy)
3DMark 11 was used to test the capability of the card to handle graphically intensive volumetric lighting and tesselation effects. Two videos are played here – one depicts divers exploring a sunken ship, while the other shows an abandoned jungle temple. Both these videos played at 720p (1280 x 720) resolution. Here, this card has a score of 5645 (17%), which again is pretty low.
3DMark Night Raid
The 3DMark Night Raid benchmarking tool test will play a few scenes showing a wormhole launching spaceships into another galaxy. This will be shown at 720p (1280 x 720) resolution. Here, the AMD Radeon HD 7970M has a score of 31,869 (14%), which is pretty low.
For 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, it’s best to use the 3DMark FireStrike benchmarking tool. This tool shows a real-time rendered animated fight between a lava monster and a human warrior. The graphics depicted in this video is pretty realistic, hence being taxing on the graphics card. Here, this graphics card has a score of 4694 (14%), which is pretty low.
Unigine Heaven 4.0
To show the rendering capabilities of the AMD Radeon HD 7970M, I used the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmarking tool. It’s great for real-time rendering since it shows an overhead view of bustling and dense medieval islands with lots of 3D character models. Here, this graphics card scored very poorly, with a score of only 58 (5%).
Using the Passmark PerformanceTest Suite helps me understand how much 3D graphical load this graphics card can take. Here, this application will be out under simulations of various Direct3D 9 to 12 tests. In addition, it also puts this GPU through 4K Loads as well. Here, this graphics card has a score of 3774 (26%), which is pretty low compared to today’s standards.
AMD Radeon HD 7970M Review
To properly figure out the actual gaming performance of the AMD Radeon HD 7970M graphics card, I needed a laptop. An older laptop that had this graphics card installed dedicatedly. Therefore, I loaned myself an older Alienware M17x R4 gaming laptop.
Here are the specifications of this gaming laptop:
|Windows 10 Pro
|17.3” WideFHD LCD (1920 x 1080 resolution)
|3rd Generation Intel Core i7 36310QM (2.3GHz)
|AMD Radeon HD 7970M 2GB GDDR5
|8GB DDR3 (1600MHz)
|Samsung 64GB SSD + Seagate 500GB HDD
First, let’s examine DICE’s Battlefield 3, a game that is completely optimised for DX11 and that supports the numerous threads that this laptop’s i7 CPU is capable of. Depending on the aspect of the Battlefield experience you’re most keen to invest time in, your mileage may vary in terms of performance.
As an extreme in single-player, we tried the Operation Swordbreaker campaign stage, where exiting the vehicle with your team drops both high and ultra presets to 50 and 45 frames per second, respectively. Here, higher-precision shadowing, HBAO, and numerous NPCs put a strain on the system, making it impossible to sustain a consistent 60FPS refresh without sliding to Medium.
Once more, using extreme at maximum settings will prevent you from reaching the top of the FPS scale. Instead, we discover that creating a mix-and-match preset is the best course of action after testing out the early submarine crash scenario and a trail across New York test centres.
While maintaining as much of the visual quality as possible, we can get a perceived 60FPS by leaving all settings at extreme but lowering the post-processing, shading, and water choices to very high. The obvious approach is to just turn everything to extremely high, which is what we try in the next video.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):
Gamers have asked various questions about the AMD Radeon HD 7970M graphics card. The answers to them are:
The AMD Radeon HD 7900 graphics cards were introduced in the market all the way back in 2011.
In 2023, no. This decade-old graphics card doesn’t have enough juice to run all modern games fluidly at 30fps at the lowest settings.
Yes, this graphics card is good enough for animation work and video editing. However, it’s recommended to use older versions of these applications.
Final Verdict: Are Laptops With AMD Radeon HD 7970m Worth It In 2023?
In 2022, laptops with AMD Radeon HD 7970M are not good enough.
Being a decade old graphics card, the laptops that are powered by this graphics card are pretty weak at gaming performance compared to today’s modern laptops that run on the NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards.