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Which card for current build? HD 7950 or GTX 670

twjr

Senior member
Jul 5, 2006
627
207
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Unfortunately with no response on my previous thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2253832) I chose to return the card. I didn't really want to return the card as I was looking forward to overclocking the crap out of it. From what information I have unearthed on the web it appears that the problem occurs with 7000 series cards plugged into an HDTV with an HDMI cable when using an ASUS or Asrock mobo. I don't suppose anyone else has had these problems before?

Anyway I need to get a new card to replace the one I returned. My specs are as follows:

CPU: Intel i5 3570k Stock
RAM: Patriot Gamer G2 1600MHz 1.65V 4x4GB
Motherboard: Asrock Z77 Extreme 4
PSU Corsair: HX650 650W
Case: Fractal Design Define R3
Monitor: Panasonic VIERA TH-L42E3A LED TV

Given that my gaming will be done on my HDTV the resolution I will be running at is 1920x1080. From what I have read the 7850 I originally had would have done me well but given the problems I decided to return and re-evaluate. Given the recent price drops of the 7900 series cards I am tempted to risk having the problems I had previously and pay a bit more for the extra muscle of a 7950. My gut says that this is probably just going to lead to frustration if the problems do happen again so I am also considering the GTX 670 despite it costing quite a bit more at the moment.

I live in Australia so my options for purchasing are buy local and pay more or look at getting something from Amazon.

Options for HD 7950
http://www.amazon.com/HIS-GDDR5-2xMi...words=his+7950
http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Mini-...407997&sr=1-52

Options for GTX 670
http://www.amazon.com/Galaxy-GeForce...407981&sr=1-43
http://www.amazon.com/MSI-N670GTX-PM...407981&sr=1-44

I wish that either of the Gigabyte or ASUS GTX 670's for $400 or MSI 7950 for $340 at the moment shipped internationally but alas.

I know that both the 7950 and 670 are overkill for 1080p but money is not really that much of an issue and I wouldn't mind a bit more future proofing that these cards will give me over a 7800 card.

Of the cards I listed which is the best option? Despite the issue I had with the 7850 I am still brand agnostic and would pick whatever card gave me the best value/performance/power usage. Also I play a wide range of games some of which benefit either of the brands so I am after overall performance.
 

ocre

Golden Member
Dec 26, 2008
1,594
6
76
i really disagree about the overkill statement. they are not overpowered with the eye candy turned up. lately there have been several games that can make use of the extra power even at 1080. turn up the settings and overkill becomes invalid quick.

As far as the cards. if i was to buy a card today it would be the 670. Its a very attractive card for so many reasons.

MSI has really been impressive lately but the galaxy in these options looks to have better cooling. its up to you if its worth the extra dollar, most probably think it would be.
 

Agenesis

Member
Nov 13, 2011
143
0
71
Also voting for the 670. Excellent card for the price and Nvidia has a whole has less issues than AMD cards in terms of driver support. There are also some nifty features such as PhysX if you're a gamer and CUDA if you're into the adobe suites.
 

Dark Shroud

Golden Member
Mar 26, 2010
1,576
0
0
OP does it have to be from Amazon? Because this MSI 7950 OC model is cheaper at Newegg and a really good card; especially if you want to over clock.

Also voting for the 670. Excellent card for the price and Nvidia has a whole has less issues than AMD cards in terms of driver support. There are also some nifty features such as PhysX if you're a gamer and CUDA if you're into the adobe suites.
AMD's drivers issues are not as bad as people make out nor are NVidia's drivers as perfect as fans like to pretend.

Also Adobe switched to OpenCL in CS6 and the GTX 600 series dropped GPGPU muscle so CUDA is beyond moot at this point.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
5,337
990
126
For the price point, I would say 7950, especially if OCing. I hear they OC quite well, while the reference 670 has "quality issues".

Now, if considering 7970 vs 680, I would say that is a harder decision.
 

ShintaiDK

Lifer
Apr 22, 2012
20,378
131
106
For the price point, I would say 7950, especially if OCing. I hear they OC quite well, while the reference 670 has "quality issues".

Now, if considering 7970 vs 680, I would say that is a harder decision.
Uhm...no.
 
Feb 19, 2009
10,457
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If u are an overclocker, you get more bang for your buck going with radeons atm. They have dropped in price, and a 7950 with vcore tweaks now should hit 1.2ghz, and these speeds its performance is ~a 7970 Ghz Edition (1.1ghz), which is faster than a gtx680 turbo boosting.

It's obviously not garanteed OC, but out of many recent reviews with vcore tweaks, it seems to be >1.1ghz on the core. It's still an amazing perf/$ option, similar to the 7850.

For similar price, i'd go with a gtx670, but if u can get a custom cooled 7950 (sapphire dual fans, MSI etc) for $50 cheaper go for it.
 

aaksheytalwar

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2012
3,389
0
76
7950 oc if you want vale for money. Anything over $400 is a waste for 670 reference. Better get 7970 if you can spend 450ish. For 500ish 7970 ghz edition

However at $400 exact nothing beats 670
 

MrK6

Diamond Member
Aug 9, 2004
4,458
3
81
The Gigabyte 7950 is the best option you listed, this isn't even a contest.
 

cmdrdredd

Lifer
Dec 12, 2001
26,848
280
126
Gtx 670. Drivers are a little better and at stock config it is better than a 7950. If you play battlefield 3 then the 670 is a lot faster.
 

twjr

Senior member
Jul 5, 2006
627
207
116
Thanks for all the feedback.

There seems to be a lot of support for the GTX 670. But is the reference cooled MSI 670 I listed really worth $60 more than the Gigabyte 7950 and is the custom cooled Galaxy worth $90 more? For the $440 that the Galaxy will cost I could pick up either of these 7970s
http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Radeon...&keywords=7970
http://www.amazon.com/HIS-Eyefinity-...&keywords=7970
With the recent performance increase with drivers and the increased overclockability of a 7970 that really really makes that Galaxy pretty poor from a value standpoint. If I could get the cards from Newegg or if Amazon would ship the ASUS or Gigabyte 670s internationally I would pick those up for $400, but they don't.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
746
126
Why are you looking at those 2 GTX670 cards? There are at least 2 that are hands down better imo:

Asus Direct CUII GTX670 - the quietest GTX670 with premium components for $400 from Amazon.

OR Gigabyte GTX670 for $400 also from Amazon.

Just listen to the noise levels video produced by Asus GTX670 and you won't want any other card in the 670 range.

If you play these games, get the GTX670:
- Batman AC
- Battlefield 3
- SKYRIM
- Hard Reset
- TrackMania 2
- Crysis 2
- Blizzard games (specifically WOW and Starcraft 2 series)
- Max Payne 3
- Witcher 2
- Secret World

If you play these games, get the Gigabyte HD7950:
- Anno 2070
- Dirt Showdown
- Bulletstorm
- Serious Sam 3
- Alan Wake
- Metro 2033
- Crysis 1 / Warhead
- Ghost Recon Future Soldier

If you are not going to overclock, get the GTX670 over the 7950. If you are going to overclock and want the best "value", HD7850 Overclocked.

The HD7970 cards you linked are not the new Ghz edition. They don't benefit from the new binning process, however, they should overclock to 1125-1150mhz. The problem is the reference HD7970 cooler is too loud for comfort at those overclocks imo. But if you play with headphones, it's alright. Again, just refer to the list above for games. It really doesn't change much. Gigabyte GTX670 Turbos past GTX680 speeds anyway so HD7970 925mhz will still lose in all of those games at your resolution. If you can find a quiet after market 7970, I'd recommend it :)
 
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MrK6

Diamond Member
Aug 9, 2004
4,458
3
81
For the price point, I would say 7950, especially if OCing. I hear they OC quite well, while the reference 670 has "quality issues".

Now, if considering 7970 vs 680, I would say that is a harder decision.
There's that too, good point.
There seems to be a lot of support for the GTX 670. But is the reference cooled MSI 670 I listed really worth $60 more than the Gigabyte 7950 and is the custom cooled Galaxy worth $90 more? For the $440 that the Galaxy will cost I could pick up either of these 7970s
And that's why the GTX 670 is a poor value ;). There's no proper reason to get it when the custom 7950's you listed are available for $350.
With the recent performance increase with drivers and the increased overclockability of a 7970 that really really makes that Galaxy pretty poor from a value standpoint. If I could get the cards from Newegg or if Amazon would ship the ASUS or Gigabyte 670s internationally I would pick those up for $400, but they don't.
It's all in how much money you want to spend. Personally, if a 7850 was reasonable for your system, a 7950 will be more than enough. I'm not sure it's justifiable to upgrade to a 7970, even a GHz edition one, from a price/performance standpoint. I think if you're an overclocker, the 7950 is the definite choice. With overclocking, anything from the 7950 to the GTX 680 is roughly within 10% of each other, so why spend $100+ on nothing?
The HD7970 cards you linked are not the new Ghz edition. They don't benefit from the new binning process, however, they should overclock to 1125-1150mhz. The problem is the reference HD7970 cooler is too loud for comfort at those overclocks imo. But if you play with headphones, it's alright.
Not sure how you figured that, you won't have to touch the fan profile to get a 7970 to 1150MHz.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
746
126
Not sure how you figured that, you won't have to touch the fan profile to get a 7970 to 1150MHz.
1. Noise videos of a stock HD7970 already show that it's not particularly quiet. The reference design is no better than HD5870 or HD6950/6970 but HD7970 consumes even more power in overclocked states than either of those cards. Since neither the 5870 nor the 6950/6970 had quiet reference blowers, there is no way that an 1150mhz HD7970 reference design is quiet.

HD6970 vs. HD7970 reference design = both loud


Compared to Gigabyte Windforce 3x HD7950/670 and especially the Asus Direct CUII 670, it's going to be a joke. You would know if you watched Tom's Hardware noise levels of the Asus Direct CUII 670.

The Asus Direct CUII 670 is the quietest high-end videocard made in the last 5 years, while HD7970 is one of the worst:



Here is a 2nd review of noise levels for the jet engine 7970 reference design at stock 925mhz. Ya, no thanks:



2. Countless users on our forum have voiced on many occasions that a reference designed HD7970 overclocked to 1125-1150mhz is a jet engine.

3. My own Sapphire HD7970 Dual-X has one of the better HD7970 after market coolers and it still runs at 70-74*C with 1150mhz on stock voltage. The reference 7970 at those clocks will be hitting 90*C or sound like a plane taking off.

 
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twjr

Senior member
Jul 5, 2006
627
207
116
I would love to get either of those 670's but Amazon isn't shipping them internationally. Or at least not to Australia. If they were I wouldn't have even needed to make a thread as I would have jumped on them in an instant. Basically the only 670's that Amazon is shipping internationally are the two I listed. Which is why I was considering the 7950. As for $350 I can get an after market cooled and overclocked card which to me is probably slightly better "value".

Of those games you listed I play a fair number from both lists but would probably/possibly spend more on ones which benefit the Nvidia card.
 

MrK6

Diamond Member
Aug 9, 2004
4,458
3
81
Long response
You implied that overclocking the 7970 would dramatically increase the fan noise somehow. That's not how video cards work, so no.
I would love to get either of those 670's but Amazon isn't shipping them internationally. Or at least not to Australia. If they were I wouldn't have even needed to make a thread as I would have jumped on them in an instant. Basically the only 670's that Amazon is shipping internationally are the two I listed. Which is why I was considering the 7950. As for $350 I can get an after market cooled and overclocked card which to me is probably slightly better "value".

Of those games you listed I play a fair number from both lists but would probably/possibly spend more on ones which benefit the Nvidia card.
Australia doesn't have any national comp/tech store chains? I wouldn't compromise on getting the card you want, especially if you plan to use it for awhile.
 

3DVagabond

Lifer
Aug 10, 2009
11,951
200
106
Also voting for the 670. Excellent card for the price and Nvidia has a whole has less issues than AMD cards in terms of driver support. There are also some nifty features such as PhysX if you're a gamer and CUDA if you're into the adobe suites.
Sorry, but there is a lot of misinformation here. While I'm not saying that the 670 isn't a good card and it might be better for the OP.

The Having less driver issues is just a catch all. Both company's drivers are very good. Both companies drivers have some issues. Typically these nifty nVidia features aren't even used in reviews. If they were really worth something to even a reasonable sampling of users, they'd be tested more. The only Adobe app that leverages CUDA is Premier. It now uses OpenCL as do other Adobe apps. The 7950 is far superior to Kepler running OpenCL.

I just clicked your links. For those prices get either 7950. I'd probably get the Gigabyte, but I've seen equally good reviews for the HIS. Exhausting heat out of the case might be important to you if you're in one of the hotter places in Australia. Ambient's are much higher than the average forum member will understand.
 
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twjr

Senior member
Jul 5, 2006
627
207
116
Australia doesn't have any national comp/tech store chains? I wouldn't compromise on getting the card you want, especially if you plan to use it for awhile.
We do but I would be paying around $490 for the Gigabyte 670 and $435 for the Gigabyte 7950. Despite having parity with the USD we cop an additional mark up.


Sorry, but there is a lot of misinformation here. While I'm not saying that the 670 isn't a good card and it might be better for the OP.

The Having less driver issues is just a catch all. Both company's drivers are very good. Both companies drivers have some issues. Typically these nifty nVidia features aren't even used in reviews. If they were really worth something to even a reasonable sampling of users, they'd be tested more. The only Adobe app that leverages CUDA is Premier. It now uses OpenCL as do other Adobe apps. The 7950 is far superior to Kepler running OpenCL.
The 670 could be good for me assuming it is the right card for the right price.

I've already said that I'm agnostic to brand and like you accept there are problems with both companies driver sets. Also I'm not really concerned about those nifty features either.

First and foremost I am concerned how well will the card play games.

Secondly whether the performance the card plays those games is worth the cost of the card.

Thirdly that the card doesn't use so much power and produce so much heat to achieve the performance in games as to be objectionable.

Finally that the card isn't so noisy that the missus notices. I don't care directly but it is probably more of a problem for me because it is a problem to her.

At the moment the Gigabyte 7950 for $350 off Amazon is leading most of those categories. IF Amazon decides to change it's shipping policies on the ASUS or Gigabyte GTX 670s in the next couple of days the decision would be harder.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
746
126
You implied that overclocking the 7970 would dramatically increase the fan noise somehow. That's not how video cards work, so no.
Yes, that's exactly how videocards work on air cooling. With additional overclocking, power consumption increases, which adds even more strain on the cooling system. Start with a loud reference design compared to after market versions (MSI TwinFrozr, Sapphire Dual-X, MSI Lightning, Asus DCUII), add 80-100W more power with overclocking (with a possible voltage bump) and you get an even louder reference designed 7970. Please go read some HD7970 GE reviews if you don't believe me. There are about 20-30 on the Internet and everyone says that a 1050mhz HD7970 reference is a jet engine. Even our very own AnandTech has the data:

Maybe you don't consider 60+ dB to be loud?


Here is even a video just for you confirming 60+ dB:
http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/2012/test-amd-radeon-hd-7970-ghz-edition/8/

At 1200mhz, reference HD7970 becomes the 2nd loudest videocard on AT's list:


Power consumption skyrockets which exactly explains why the reference fan has to work that much harder, which directly contributes to additional noise levels:


I guess AnandTech, Computerbase, TechPowerUP, etc. are all wrong.....

This happens a lot actually. All the information that 99% of the world sees is there and you come in and say it's wrong and provide nothing to support your view. Just opinion with no data, but always an implication that your one off example is actually representative and the rest of the world is "testing it wrong" or using "questionable methods", etc. So, yes, HD7970 reference design is a loud videocard in overclocked states, shown by 99% of the world, except you want to ignore this. I even remember you were one of the few who said HD7970's reference blower was improved from HD6970 design and every single review on the Internet has proven that to be incorrect. Also, HD7970 uses up more power than an overclocked 6970/5870. It's just common sense that the blower would be struggling even more than it did on the 5870/6970, which would inevitably make a reference OCed 7970 louder than 5870 or 6970.
 
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RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
746
126
Wow that's awful, way worse than my $40 470 PC on air overclocked to 840Mhz. D:
Reference HD7970 is inadequate for overclocking unless one uses headphones or is partially deaf. Keep in mind the noise level test at Computerbase you listened to is without overclocking the 7970 GE :eek:. Hair dryer. Reminds me of the famous FX5800 Ultra.

At Tom's Hardware, it was even louder than the HD6990.

 
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