If money is no object, experts say the XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Black Edition is the high-end graphics card to buy. More powerful -- and more expensive -- graphics cards are available, but reviewers say the XFX card is capable of hitting high frame rates in even the most demanding games at high resolutions. Thanks to a 100 MHz factory overclock that helps deliver the graphics performance of the step-up AMD Radeon 7970-series video cards, the XFX R7950 DDBE has better power, thermal and noise levels. With its open-air Double Dissipation cooling system, it's a good choice for high-end gaming on larger monitors; gamers with standard-size monitors might prefer the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC (*Est. $245), which delivers 50 to 60 fps at normal resolutions and costs only half as much as this card.
Like most video card manufacturers, XFX receives mixed customer service reviews, but its online reputation is better than some. One area in which the company shines is its warranty; most manufacturers offer a two- to three-year warranty for their graphics cards, but XFX will supply a lifetime warranty if you register your card within 30 days of purchase. If you miss that window, you'll get standard two-year coverage.
Several top sites evaluate the XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Black Edition with extensive benchmark testing, including AnandTech.com, Hexus.net, HardOCP.com, TweakTown.com, HardwareHeaven.com and LegitReviews.com.
AnandTech.com compares the XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Black Edition against the Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 OC in this extensive review. Ryan Smith finds both cards impressive if somewhat overpriced, but prefers the Sapphire because it's a bit quieter and cooler than the XFX card.
Review: AMD Radeon HD 7950 Review Feat. Sapphire & XFX: Sewing Up the High-End Market, Ryan Smith, Jan. 31, 2012
Nathan Kirsch is highly impressed with the XFX R7950 DDBE, giving it a rare Editors' Choice award. "The XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Black Edition overclocked card that we looked at closely in this review was a beast," he writes. Kirsch adds that the card kept pace with a stock AMD Radeon HD 7970 reference card in several of his benchmark tests.
Review: AMD Radeon HD 7950 & XFX R7950 Black Edition Video Card Review, Nathan Kirsch, Jan. 30, 2012
Hexus.net gives the XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Black Edition a rating of 4 out of 5 and a Performance award, saying its low power draw and thermal levels combined with its high-end graphics performance create a "best-in-class" card.
Review: Review: XFX R7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation Graphics Card, Tarinder Sandhu, Jan. 31, 2012
TweakTown.com gives the XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Black Edition a 94 percent rating and an Editor's Choice Award, finding that it hits 60-plus fps in all but the most demanding titles -- and even then, it fails to hit 60 fps only at massive 2560x1600 resolutions. "The HD 7950 is a fantastic option, and continues with this trend of strong-performing single GPU cards from AMD that hit at a good price point," Shane Baxtor writes.
Review: XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition Double Dissipation 3GB Review, Shane Baxtor, Jan. 31, 2012
The XFX R7950 DDBE earns a Gold Award and perfect or nearly perfect ratings in every video card category that HardwareHeaven.com evaluates. Although Stuart Davidson laments the lack of a dual BIOS, he calls it "the perfect card for high-detail gaming at 1920x1080."
Review: XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition Graphics Card Review, Stuart Davidson, Jan. 31, 2012
HardOCP.com covers the XFX R7950 Black Edition and finds that it delivers superior frame rates, great overclocking potential and outstandingly low power consumption. Still, it gives the card only an Editor's Choice Silver Award because of its high price tag.
Review: XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition Video Card Review, Grady McKinney, March 1, 2012