If you've seen the benchmarks, you know that the GeForce GTX 680 is, on the whole, slightly quicker than AMD's reference Radeon HD 7970. Nvidia has now added insult to injury with the GeForce GTX 690, which relegates the vanilla 7970 to the third place on the podium.
What's AMD to do?
Not take it lying down, according to a story currently making the rounds. Aussie site Atomic MPC claims AMD is about to unveil a "GHz Edition" of the Radeon HD 7970 with, you guessed it, a 1GHz core clock speed. Quoting... either AMD or some of its partners (it's not entirely clear), Atomic MPC says the time is right for a faster reference card because "yields are now better, their average voltage required to hit 925MHz is much lower than it was on early ES revisions, and most chips are happily hitting 1250MHz now."
Certain superclocked variants offered by AMD's partners already run at 1GHz—this Gigabyte card, for example—but AMD clocks the standard 7970 at a more conservative 925MHz. Perhaps the introduction of a "GHz Edition" would make the higher clock speed more ubiquitous. And who knows, maybe the price of the non-GHz 7970 would inch down some more.
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