7870 ghz vs. 7950 vs. 670

Happs

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First thing's first, here's what I have so far (well, the PSU is actually the x750, but it isn't listed on pcpartpicker at the moment):

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/spTv

For the motherboard, I'm basically waiting until either the Gigabyte UD3H or the Asrock Extreme 4 drops down a little bit.

So, of course, that leaves me with the GPU, which I'm having a hard time deciding on. I originally planned on buying the 670 FTW, but with the current 7870/7950 prices, I'm having a hard time believing that it's worth $100-150+ more as far as performance/future proofing goes...

So, here I am, essentially begging for unbiased opinions and/or advice at this point, heh... which is the best buy, is the 7950 really worth the extra $$$ over the 7870 ghz (same for the 7950 to the 670), and which specific (brand/model) card would you recommend? Help me quit second guessing so I can start building, please! :D

Also, figured I'd link a few of each that I've been looking at, but by all means, I'm not set on any of this particular group:

670:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130787

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814162107

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125423

7950:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202006

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202003

7870:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125418

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161404

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202010



Thanks.
 
It depends on which games you are playing, and at what resolution you wish to run them . If you want to try and max out Far Cry 3 or try to play Metro 2033 on ultra at 1080p, it might be worth it to spend more for the GTX 670, if you don't mind buying Far Cry 3 on top of the price of the card. If you are only playing older titles or less demanding games, or are playing at a lower resolution, you'll probably get better value out of a 7870.

The big problem with buying the high end cards is that they all carry a large price premium, and in a year's time they are often matched or exceeded by the new midrange cards that sell in the $200 to 300 range. For example the best single GPU card of 2011, the GTX 580, which sold for $500 is now matched (sometimes exceeded) by the Radeon HD 7870 which is available for half the price. Whether it's worth spending more comes down to whether you feel the need to have the latest and greatest card, and whether you are okay with upgrading your graphics card more frequently say every 1 to 2 years rather than every 3 to 4 years.

All that said, the 7950 does come with one more free game than the 7870, which I believe is Far Cry 3. If you really want a free copy of that game, spending more for the 7950 would be worth it.

As for the 670, it really isn't fast enough over the 7950 to justify the additional expense if you are looking to maximize value, especially when you factor in the 7950's overclocking potential. The 670 is only really a good deal compared to Nvidia's flagship single GPU, the GTX 680 and AMD's flagship, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. I'd say only get the 670 if you are looking to burn some money, or you are playing or planning to play very graphically demanding games eg. Metro 2033, the upcoming Crysis 3, the upcoming Metro Last Light, or Far Cry 3 if you don't mind purchasing a copy of that game (it's not offered for free with the 670).
 

Happs

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I plan on playing at 1080p/60hz for the next year or so at least and Metro/Crysis honestly aren't must-plays for me at this point, but I'm sure there will be games similarly demanding in the next 2-3 years that I possibly could be interested in.

My problem honestly is that I'm pushing my budget that I originally set, but would also like to future-proof as much as possible... but as I said, the diminishing returns past say, a MSI Hawk 7870 ghz are a bit of a turn off, not to mention the new reports of the 7950's supposed framerate spikes. Then again, I've also heard that the 78xx line has problems with WoW/Rift, which would be a deal-breaker for me if true as I spend more time combined on those two games than anything else. :|, ha.

If I were to go with any of the three, do you have a recommendation on which specific model(s) that I should look at? For example, is the Vapor-X worth ~$30 more than the other Sapphire 7950?
 

bigcyco1

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wow favors 670 however since your on a budget i suggest the Vapor X 7950
 

Tom Burnqest

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I think 7950,670,660ti,7970 are all in the triple digits when playing WoW if I am not mistaken.
 

bigcyco1

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The HD 7950 Vapor-X offers a Dual BIOS which can be changed at the press of a button. The primary BIOS carries a clock speed of 850MHz on the GPU and 1250MHz (5000MHz effective) on the memory. Pressing the button then posting the system enables the 2nd or “Boost” BIOS which is quite higher clocked at 950MHz on the GPU and 1250MHz (5000MHz effective) on the memory. This allows for a nice kick of performance or free performance as a 100MHz GPU clock increase should net at the least a few FPS.
 

Tom Burnqest

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Uhm . I never was sold on OCing for a scant 1-5fps increase as I rather just get a faster card all together for a min 10fps increase constantly. The Radeon HD 7850 seemed like one of the very few legendary OCing cards with 10fps gains in some titles.
 

bigcyco1

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He would half to buy a 670 or 7970 to ensure any faster though
 
Here is something you might find an interesting read: http://techreport.com/review/23981/radeon-hd-7950-vs-geforce-gtx-660-ti-revisited

It looks at FPS from a different perspective than normal. Rather than looking at the raw FPS count, it measures the consistency of those FPS to see what delivers the smoothest experience. It is actually measuring a 660ti vs a 7950, which you can figure more performance from the 670.

Anyways, one thing you will notice is the Nvidia cards tend to have much more consistent rendering times from a frame by frame comparison, which results in a smoother experience, regardless of whether or not the total FPS are higher.
 

Happs

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Alright, let's say I go with the 7950 Vapor-X... obviously we can't look into the future, but do I regret not waiting and grabbing a 8xxx line GPU in the 300 price range 2-3 months (tops) from now, iyo?
 

Happs

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This^ is what has me concerned over the 7950 :/
 

Happs

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Ha, based on previous generation leaps... more or less was a should I wait or not, lol.
 

bigcyco1

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Well i think waiting could pay off but how much is the question ? If it's only 10 to 15 percent better that's not worth waiting for imo :p
 

Tom Burnqest

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That article is bogus as they both looked like crap. At any rate Skyrim runs smooth even on modest hardware let alone some hi performance gear like those tested.
 

killerhurtalot

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the article isn't bogus... the average/high/low fps system does have its drawbacks... and i seriously would rather have a stable frame rate rather than once in a while spike... especially when it comes to games...
 
http://techreport.com/review/24051/geforce-versus-radeon-captured-on-high-speed-video
Get someone who has no idea about the brands and get them to choose watch the video and ask them which side of the video has the better video quality/less stuttering.
Or get someone who is computer knowledgeable but cover up the names of the cards. That way no chance of bias. Honestly I can't really tell the difference but that might be my bias or just plain crappy eyes.
 

hyamzy

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I just bought the Sapphire 7870 and I'm not looking back! The card is awesome, super cool. I've never seen a GPU run so cool in my system and it plays everything I've thrown at it so far. I've also heard it overclocks really well and when it's done successfully it rivals the performance of the 7950 so I'd say go for the Sapphire. It's cheap (especially in America) and just gives great performance for the price.
 
I personally haven't seen any stuttering with my 7870. I think the whole frametime issue that has come up is largely a theoretical problem, something that isn't going to effect your real world experience. It doesn't really make for a compelling reason to go with Nvidia unless you are going to obsessively stare at frametime graphs or are obsessed with "winning" every benchmark, even if it makes no real difference to your experience.
 


I think it's an important consideration for longevity / 'future-proofing'. A 7950 will probably look absolutely fine in today's games, but the frame latency problems will become much more noticeable as games become more demanding and framerates on these cards get lower with future games. To illustrate:

Today's games
- GeForce is rendering frames consistency at 12.5ms (equivalent to 80fps).
- Radeon is rendering frames inconsistently, varying from 10ms to 15ms (average is still 80fps, range is 66fps to 100fps).
- Both cards are fine.

Tomorrow's games*
- GeForce is rendering frames consistently at 25ms (equivalent to a consistently smooth 40fps).
- Radeon is rendering frames at between 20ms and 30ms (equivalent to fluctuations between 30fps and 50fps).
- GeForce delivers a much smoother, more consistently responsive experience.

* obviously nobody can predict the rate at which hardware requirements in games will increase, only that they will increase. Maybe the most demanding games of next year require double the muscle, or maybe that happens the year after. We know from history it's not a smooth progression anyway - look at the sudden jump in requirements when Crysis 1 was released!

EDIT: Made titles bold... so it looks good :)
 

regina_49

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I agree with bigcyco1 7950 SAPPHIRE Vapor-X would be a good choice. (the extra money seems to get enough performance per dollar). From what I'm reading the Vapor- x is easier to OC.The card's Vapor-Chamber cooler does a great job keeping the card cool and improves noise levels greatly compared to the AMD reference design.
 

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