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Second Thoughts on Getting a 7870

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Lonbjerg

Diamond Member
Dec 6, 2009
4,419
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I guess AMD had this one wrong:

http://blogs.amd.com/play/2009/06/02/why-we-should-get-excited-about-directx-11/

Oh wait...I forgot...tessellation was only a factor when ADM had it...and NVIDIA didn't.


And anyone thinking that a 7850 is more futureproof than a GTX670...needs to call AMD and get better PR advice.

ARMA 3, Metro - Last light...there will come plenty of games that will push the hardware...anyone thiking we will only get DX9 games the next 2 years, should leave this thread, put the money where his word is...and go buy a console....just saying.,
 

blastingcap

Diamond Member
Sep 16, 2010
6,654
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OK I just brushed my teeth and really am going to bed now, but I just wanna say that I hate having to write the same thing like 4 times in a row. Especially when I know you know that I got my card for non-gaming purposes; and when you act as if I recommended to OP something I didn't. I only started to comment in this thread bout the "overhype" stuff. You can have OP's specific fact pattern. I wasn't commenting on OP's fact pattern so much as the "overhype" comment. This is not about the GTX 670 which is priced $150 higher. I think we can all agree that the GTX 670 is the best card at its price point, like the 7850 is at its price point. They aren't direct competitors to each other, and we're only talking about them as if they were competitors, due to OP's wishy-washy "soft" $350 budget that apparently was actually more like $400 in the first place. Because he started off talking about the 7850 and 7870 only to stretch his budget up and say he wanted to hold onto it for 3 years later. If OP had a hard cap at $250 would we even be comparing the two cards? If OP had a hard cap of $400 would we even be comparing the two cards? No, and no. Nobody is saying the 7850 is as fast as a GTX 670. Let's be real. It's 60% more expensive, so it better be faster!

RE: Your alleging that Anandtech is wrong and you are right: seriously, take it up with Ryan or Microsoft about the Microsoft DX11 tessellation benchmark. I have not seen anything contradicting it. In fact, within sample error there seems to be rough parity between the 7970 and 680 according to the Default setting (not Max) at HTL: http://www.hitechlegion.com/reviews/video-cards/17774?start=8

If you are referring to various sites' usage of Unigine Heaven 3 as a proxy for tessellation testing, note that it is not a strictly tessellation benchmark and something other than tessellation can be bottlenecking it. In fact, that is what AT's tests show, since the higher-tess performance of the 7870 was unable to unseat the 7950 when it came time to run Unigine 3. That implies that the limiting factor in Unigine, at least for GCN GPUs, is not tessellation.

Similarly, providing canned benches at stock is like running Unigine 3; you don't know for sure what the real bottleneck was, whether it was geometry or something else.

And note that you keep looking at stock vs stock. Looking at OC vs OC it's not so clear; I linked to HardOCP's finding that 7970 easily beats GTX 680 in Deus Ex and ties it in BF3, both of which use tessellation, for instance. It doesn't get "realer" than HardOCP, which does not use canned benchmarks.

Now, if you want to say OC is unreliable etc. etc. then that's fine--but it should at least be noted since many of us do OC. You linked to xbit lab's OC review of the GTX 460 to show how it can in some cases outpace a 5870, and yet you don't give the 7850 or 7970 their due as monster overclockers as well? Looking at canned benchmarks at stock tells only part of the story.

As for games using tessellation in more effective ways: I'm all for it. Whether it really adds that much when you're in the game rather than examining screenshots remains to be seen, but some of those ss's do seem to use it more meaningfully than, say, Metro 2033.
 
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Smartazz

Diamond Member
Dec 29, 2005
6,128
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Right but he says he intends to keep this card for 3 years and not upgrade. In that case think about BF3 expansions, all the upcoming Dirt games on Ego engine, Crysis 3, and newer games with tessellation. GTX670 will mop the floor with HD7850 in those types of games.

In Crysis 2, GTX670 is 69% faster than an HD7850 at 4xMSAA 1080P. In Batman AC, GTX670 is 66% faster with 8AA. That's remarkable. We can sit here and argue that those games are "NV-biased" which is a moot point since there most likely will be more Batman games, more Crysis games and more games in the future with tessellation.

Now take a look at world's first MMO with tessellation (as far as I am aware).



Unless you think tessellation is a fad, things are only going to get worse for 7850 in 12 months. No amount of overclocking will help since GCN tessellation units are 1 generation behind Kepler. My prediction is when Crysis 3 ships next year, HD7850 will fall flat on its face.
Wow. I'm surprised my card and the all the Northern Island cards all get decimated in this test. I hope I can get another year out of this card, but I've been playing the Witcher 2 and Anno 2070 and they push this card to its limit.
 

blastingcap

Diamond Member
Sep 16, 2010
6,654
5
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Wow. I'm surprised my card and the all the Northern Island cards all get decimated in this test. I hope I can get another year out of this card, but I've been playing the Witcher 2 and Anno 2070 and they push this card to its limit.
Can't jump to conclusions like he did about why what's happening is happening. For instance the 7970, even at stock speeds, does fine in the punishing Unigine 3 even with Extreme tessellation. See, e.g., the Extreme results here: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1925/12/ They clocked the 7970 to something more realistic by using the Lightning and it actually matches/beats the GTX680 at 1080p or higher. That's with everything turned up, too... 8x AA 16x AF.

I haven't a clue what the coders of that MMO that I never heard of did in order to get those awful results.

P.S. Anandtech's results at stock clocks are below. You can google for more results and they will say the same. A mild overclock on the 7970 and it catches up to or beats the GTX 680 at Unigine with extreme tessellation and 4x or 8x MSAA and 16x AF at 1920x1080 and especially at 2560x1600, and Anandtech has already shown the stock-clocked 7970 to have faster tessellation than GTX680 in synthetic tests of tessellation power alone, without any other bottlenecks that Unigine may have such as shader power bottlenecks. Even the crappy stock clock of the 7850 allows it to out-tessellate a GTX 580, and if it were clocked like a 7870 it would be within striking distance of the GTX 670 in terms of sheer tessellating power.

I have never heard of The Secret World which is apparently an MMO in beta that apparently runs vastly better on NV hardware right now (I'm guessing NV has delivered better developer support as usual, so we won't see them fix the problem on AMD hardware until later in beta), but in actual games with tessellation like BF3 and Batman:AC and Deus Ex, when all cards are max-overclocked, the 7970 manages to match or beat GTX 680: http://hardocp.com/article/2012/05/14/geforce_680_670_vs_radeon_7970_7950_gaming_perf/3 I think it's an exaggeration to keep saying that Nvidia's architecture is soooo far ahead of GCN. GCN is actually on par in terms of tessellation (even at its pathetic stock clocks the 7970 beats the GTX680), and yes it's slight less efficient at MSAA but it's not the catastrophe as RS made it sound like. (HWC had a MSAA on/off comparison but unfortunately their site is still experiencing problems. And see here for a real-life, non-canned benchmark comparison between stock clocked HD7970 vs GTX680 results: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/03/22/nvidia_kepler_gpu_geforce_gtx_680_video_card_review/5 (GTX680 was 15.7% faster with just FXAA, but drops to 11.9% faster with MSAA, so in your favorite game BF3, adding MSAA actually hurts GTX 680 more than HD7970)







 
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Smartazz

Diamond Member
Dec 29, 2005
6,128
0
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Can't jump to conclusions like he did about why what's happening is happening. For instance the 7970, even at stock speeds, does fine in the punishing Unigine 3 even with Extreme tessellation. See, e.g., the Extreme results here: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1925/12/ They clocked the 7970 to something more realistic by using the Lightning and it actually matches/beats the GTX680 at 1080p or higher. That's with everything turned up, too... 8x AA 16x AF.

I haven't a clue what the coders of that MMO that I never heard of did in order to get those awful results.
Yeah, I looked at it again more closely and noticed that the 7970 gets beaten by the GTX 560(non-ti). Something definitely is at play here. The 6870 is not great with tessellation, but it's no slouch.
 

Grooveriding

Diamond Member
Dec 25, 2008
9,081
1,220
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The 7850 is an amazing card. For the mid-range $250 bracket, it's the best choice out there. Nvidia has nothing for 97% of buyers on the 28nm process. So you can buy an old 40nm 560ti or a new 28nm 7850 that is on average faster and overclocks like crazy.
 

Ieat

Senior member
Jan 18, 2012
260
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Its a shame people can't really tell what the gtx 670s and gtx 680s are running at because the boost is different with every card. If someone wants to run a max overclock 7970 vs my 670 with Heaven at extreme tessellation let me know.
 

WMD

Senior member
Apr 13, 2011
476
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If you are going to overclock and want to save some $, get HD7850. If you are not going to overclock and your budget is $350, spend $50 extra for GTX670.

HD7870 simply makes no sense. For $50 more something like a Gigabyte Windforce 3x GTX670 OC = GTX680 is 40% faster at 1080P. Compared to HD7850, that card out of the box would be 70% faster.

Just want to make it clear: if you are NOT going to overclock, it takes 2x HD7850s in CF to often match a stock GTX670.



It's fairly easy to overclock, but without overclocking, HD7850 is nothing special.

I think HD7850 is a good card, but imo it's been extremely overhyped. It does well in 3dMark11 scores but that doesn't translate into real world gaming benchmarks since 3dMark11 is heavily weighted towards tessellation.

Exactly 3dmark 11 is heavily tessellation bound and 7850 has most of the tessellation performance of greater cards when clocked up. This makes it seems much faster than it actually is. However its easy to see the actual performance in most games by comparing 3dmark11 test 1 which is more shader bound than tessellation bound. 7850 at 1200mhz produced about 28fps while a 5850 at 1000mhz produces 26fps. This tells us when tessellation was not involved, the 7850 is a very very minor upgrade over a 3 year old card at a similar price point. This over reliance on 3dmark overall p score lead many to believe the 7850 overclocked is as good at a 7970 but its not.
 
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