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7950 vs. ALL sub 600$ GPU *Advice please*

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Feb 19, 2009
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Faster clock speed is irrelevant if you OC.

Extra shaders amount to ~5% performance difference once clocks are the same. There's a bottleneck in the GPU that all those extra shaders hardly matter. It comes down to, do you want to pay 25% extra for 5% perf?
 

sze5003

Lifer
Aug 18, 2012
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The 7970 can overclock too its not like the 7950 reaches up to 7970 and that's it. If you want to save get the 50 else go with the 70. It's a bit faster. Up to you if the extra money is worth it for what you will be doing.
 

mango123

Senior member
Sep 1, 2012
214
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And that is in BF3, is there anything coming out soon that will really capatalise on the extra pixel shaders?
 

sze5003

Lifer
Aug 18, 2012
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Not sure we can't tell gamewise. Maybe hitman absolution, previews look pretty damn good for the pc, they made a lot of graphical progress with that game.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
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There is 1 area where 7950 will be more than 5% behind - games that use DirectCompute. This is because 7950 is a 28CU vs. 32CU setup.

2560x1600


925 mhz 7970 is 12% faster than a XFX 7950 Black is a 900mhz version, despite just 25mhz GPU clock difference and identical memory bandwidth between 7950 Black and 7970.


1050mhz 7970 GE is 26% faster, but its GPU clocks are just 17% faster.

However, we do not know how many future games will utilize compute for HDAO, post-process AA, contact hardening shadows and dynamic lighting. If they do, 7950 will be behind about 9-12% I'd say, worst case by 14% (28 vs. 32 CUs). Is it worth spending $70 just for the Direct Compute futureproofing on 7950 vs. 7970? I don't think so.

You can take that $70 savings now and put it away for a future GPU upgrade that will net you far greater than 5-12% performance delta (think of your next $320 GPU upgrade as a $250 one and not a $320 one :).

HD7970 has some advantages where the extra shaders are fully utilized in bitcoin mining and some distributed computing projects. Also, if you are not a heavy overclocker, you have a peace of mind that it is basically 99.9% guaranteed that it will hit 1100mhz since 7970 is a higher binned chip overall on average. It's more of a risk factor with 7950s but 7970 will hit that with stock voltage. However, the 7970 takes a larger power consumption penalty. That's a plus for the 7950.

There is one huge benefit of the Sapphire Dual-X vs. MSI TF3 7950 for example = noise levels. They'll be miles apart in this area. My Sapphire DualX @ 99% @ 1150mhz is very quiet but I have a very well ventilated case. Still, even at 61% fan speed, it's still a very quiet videocard and even at 1150mhz @ 99% GPU load, stays below 75*C no problem.

I still feel the MSI TF3 7950 for $300 at SuperBiiz + Sleeping Dogs is the better enthusiast value for gaming. You get within 5-6% performance for $90 less. Sleeping Dogs is a way better game imo than Dirt Showdown is and now that's almost a $90 savings since you have to pay $8 shipping at Newegg for the DX 79709. Unless you are going to run bitcoin mining or distributed computing projects, I'd pocket the $90 difference. Then there is the case of Sapphire Dual-X having a higher prevalence of coil whine lottery - something that's actually very rare on the MSI TF3 7950.

The major downside to the TF3 7950 is that the cooler is nowhere near as good as the Sapphire Dual-X, HIS IceQ or Asus DirectCUII. That means the small fans on the TF3 have to spin harder to keep the card cooler which is why at 77-80*C it's going to be much louder than a Sapphire Dual-X 7970 @ 1150mhz will be. If you want a very quiet card @ 1100-1150mhz, you simply do not buy the MSI TF3 7950. You go for PowerColor PCS+ 7950 OR you spend extra on the Sapphire Daul-X 7970 OC. The MSI TF3 7950 is an awesome overclocker but it's not a quiet card overclocked. I feel like the PowerColor PCS+ 7950 doesn't get the credit it deserves since it's among the quietest videocard this generation, along with Asus DirectCUII 600 series.

The budget option, probably sufficient for 1050mhz overclock: Sapphire Dual-X 7950 810mhz version for $280
Bang for the buck proven overclocker: MSI TF3 7950 for $300
Quietest 7950 by far: PowerColor PCS+ $330
A guaranteed no coil whine, very strong cooler and good overclocker: Sapphire Vapor-X 7950 $330
Very quiet and strong overclocking 7970 at $390 that will hit 1100mhz overclock on stock voltage: Sapphire Dual-X 7970, but doesn't come with Sleeping Dogs

The Gigabyte Windforce 3x 7950 has gotten good reviews but has naked MOSFETs. Not sure how I feel about that unless the newer models fixed this.

The choice comes down to priorities. I feel like you can make a case for any one of these cards.
 
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Face2Face

Diamond Member
Jun 6, 2001
4,100
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The 7950 TF3 is a quiet card at 60% fan speed or below - when you hit 70% it's pretty loud. I have a pretty basic overclock on stock voltage 7950 TF3 1050/1575 and it stays around 60% fan when gaming - so it's pretty quiet. I am very impressed thus far.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
748
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Ya, that's the thing about the MSI TF3 7950. Almost everyone who buys one gets a good overclocking one. At $300 it sounds like a steal to me. I think if I was on a tight budget, I'd get the $300 MSI TF3 7950, save $90 for a next generation GPU upgrade. It'll net a much higher performance increase in games.
 
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mango123

Senior member
Sep 1, 2012
214
0
0
So lemme get this straight, to achieve the levels of 7970 with the 7950 i need to above stock volts, thus creating more heat and lowering long term durability? But on the 7970, I am guaranteed to get get 1100 on stock volts with less heat, and less noise?

That seems alright to me.

I wouldn't be comfortable using powerbiiz by the way,

So I'm looking at the price as 315+9 for shipping vs
380+9 for 7970..
 

mango123

Senior member
Sep 1, 2012
214
0
0
I'm guessing that you got the 7970 for the extra mining with the shaders, right Russian?

I just.... I'm already spending a SHITLOAD more than I intended on... this all started with wanting to overclock my old 965 BE... LOL
I don't want to regret getting the 7950 when I couldve spent a little more and got the 7970...

I just though of something however,

the 7950 TFI lends itself to better crossfire setups because of the size compared to the 7970, correct?

that's something for me to consider.

I guess I could justify getting a 7950 with a SSD too, that would be quite a boost for 400$$$

Or.... I could just get the 7970, and get a giant SSD next year when theyre even cheaper.
 

sze5003

Lifer
Aug 18, 2012
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An SSD won't help you when you game. It has really nothing to do with the games performance. It helps if you read and write a lot off the SSD
 

KingFatty

Diamond Member
Dec 29, 2010
3,034
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I say save money and get the 7950. That saved money is tangible, in your pocket impact. Hard to say if it's worth losing that money in your pocket to get another 6 frames here or 10 frames there compared to the 7970. Maybe it's different if you are mining bitcoins as the 7970 could put more money in your pocket, but for just gaming etc., I'd say go 7950.
 

zaydq

Senior member
Jul 8, 2012
782
0
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You won't miss a 7970 with an OC'd 7950. I mean, the 7970 is faster clock for clock and all that good stuff, but its a good sum more.
 
Feb 19, 2009
10,457
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Dont regret buying a 7950 one bit. It was the best bang for buck for a long time and still is, even more now with custom cooled cards going below 300.
 

wand3r3r

Diamond Member
May 16, 2008
3,180
0
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I vote for the 7950 from superbiiz or whatever the site was. I think the site is safe enough.
 

sze5003

Lifer
Aug 18, 2012
13,528
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If you do get it from superbiiz just make sure to read their policies and everything, what payments they take. I personally never heard of it and it sounded strange like ncix that processes payments out of Canada still even though they have a U.S site
 

djnsmith7

Platinum Member
Apr 13, 2004
2,612
1
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I play all the games, and like playing them at 1920x1080 at the highest possible settings that my computer can tolerate.
I absolutely cannot deal with turning settings down. Medium or Low does not compute with me.
Mango, just re-read your initial post & with all things considered, it seems like you & I have something in common, which is a desire to play at the highest settings. I can tell you that with my TriFire setup in sig, I have a min. FPS of ~56 - 75 (depends on # of players on server at time of run) on Ultra settings in BF3. Give or take a couple here or there, that number usually applies to both 32 & 64 multiplayer maps, which is where it counts.

If I were to go back to March, when I built this rig, knowing what I know today (the supporting data we have today wasn't quite ready yet then), I wouldn't even consider the 7950's, if for one reason: Min. FPS. In absolutely no way, shape or form, would I want my Min. to drop even 1 below 56. TBH, IMO, that number is too low for the rig I have.

Sure, we could debate how my Min. is closer to 75 "most" of the time, but I don't care. That's not why I spent that coin. I'm sure you're well aware that with a game like BF3, the Min. is the most important number of the three.

So, it really depends on your priorities & what's most important to you. I wouldn't want you to have buyer's remorse. I picked the right cards, no question. Never a doubt.
 

chimaxi83

Diamond Member
May 18, 2003
5,648
61
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Mango, just re-read your initial post & with all things considered, it seems like you & I have something in common, which is a desire to play at the highest settings. I can tell you that with my TriFire setup in sig, I have a min. FPS of ~56 - 75 (depends on # of players on server at time of run) on Ultra settings in BF3. Give or take a couple here or there, that number usually applies to both 32 & 64 multiplayer maps, which is where it counts.

If I were to go back to March, when I built this rig, knowing what I know today (the supporting data we have today wasn't quite ready yet then), I wouldn't even consider the 7950's, if for one reason: Min. FPS. In absolutely no way, shape or form, would I want my Min. to drop even 1 below 56. TBH, IMO, that number is too low for the rig I have.

Sure, we could debate how my Min. is closer to 75 "most" of the time, but I don't care. That's not why I spent that coin. I'm sure you're well aware that with a game like BF3, the Min. is the most important number of the three.

So, it really depends on your priorities & what's most important to you. I wouldn't want you to have buyer's remorse. I picked the right cards, no question. Never a doubt.
Your mins would improve with a faster CPU. The difference in minimums, using tri fire, would be maybe 5% between 7950 and 7970.
 

paperfist

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2000
6,504
275
126
www.the-teh.com
So lemme get this straight, to achieve the levels of 7970 with the 7950 i need to above stock volts, thus creating more heat and lowering long term durability? But on the 7970, I am guaranteed to get get 1100 on stock volts with less heat, and less noise?

That seems alright to me.

I wouldn't be comfortable using powerbiiz by the way,

So I'm looking at the price as 315+9 for shipping vs
380+9 for 7970..
Not sure if you're buying today, but I ordered the Sapphire 7970 OC from newegg for $380 after rebate http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...%20HD7970%20OC and I'll let you know if it coil whines under Civ V or BF3 after I get it :)
 

djnsmith7

Platinum Member
Apr 13, 2004
2,612
1
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Your mins would improve with a faster CPU. The difference in minimums, using tri fire, would be maybe 5% between 7950 and 7970.
You bring up a good point, as I'm running TriFire & he most likely wouldn't be, but I'd still take an OC'd 7970 over an OC'd 7950, specifically to improve the Min.
 

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