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Best HD 7970 card? (thinking XFX DD BE)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 18, 2012 4:05:55 AM

So with the recent news that the 7900 cards are dropping in price from AMD, Newegg just posted a new deal on the XFX DD 7970 BE at $510 with BF3 and Dirt3 free. I was already planning on buying those games so that kind of puts the price tag at $410 for me.

I was planning on spending $350 on a 7870 card but this opens up new options for me.

I know the benchmarks will be about the same with all the 7970 cards and I'm not going to be doing extreme overclocking (if at all). So my decision is down to temp and noise. So my question is, is there any other 7970 card that is better to get than the XFX?

I was trying to find a comparison between XFX and Sapphire's card, but could only find XFX vs ref cards.



Rest of my build
i2500K (or i3500K if IB benchmarks prove worthy or SB price drops)
ASUS Z77-V
Corsair Vengeance 2 x 4gb - already purchsed
Seasonic 620W Modular - already purchased
Corsair 400r or 600t or one I have laying around the house
128 gb SSD/500 gb HDD or 1 tb HDD (haven't decided yet)

More about : 7970 card thinking xfx

April 18, 2012 7:52:09 AM

I'm so glad I looked in here hahaha.
I will be buying my comp items from newegg withing a week and had chosen http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... as a gpu.
Already played DX and love bf3 and would need to get for comp anyways. Main point, both cards are the same price and spec just dif games for free...Anyone have any personal experience or hearsay????

Also just saw the one with free bf3 has a lifetime warranty...and is the same card dd series so i may have been an idiot for my post but oh well...im prob going with the dd
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April 18, 2012 8:01:38 AM

The Gigabyte one with the Windforce 3 runs faster (factory OCed to 1Ghz), cooler and quieter than the XFX DD by FAR. There's a few good reviews
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April 18, 2012 8:04:21 AM

MSi Twinfrozer III is best custom cooler IMO.they have a lot of overclocking potential and they are fairly quiet.
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April 18, 2012 8:06:56 AM

Pinhedd said:
and quieter than the XFX DD by FAR. There's a few good reviews


source? :ange: 
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April 18, 2012 8:32:33 AM

I did find this about the 7950's that compared Sapphire and XFX. XFX loses big time on temp and noise.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5476/amd-radeon-7950-revi...

400 is about the max that I can put into a gpu/s. But with the 2 free games I can justify 500 since having something to play with my new rig will be needed.

Since I know each site/test can have multiple factors, I'm hoping to find some direct comparisons. So if you see some or have personal experiences, please let me know.

(I may even wait a few days to see if any other deals pop up on newegg or somewhere else. Prefer BF3 + another game.)
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Anonymous
April 18, 2012 10:20:51 AM

msi lightning imo.
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April 18, 2012 10:23:25 AM

^+1 msi lightning.
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April 18, 2012 10:40:35 AM

Sapphire or Diamond IMO, both companies produce fantastic AMD cards
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April 18, 2012 10:50:13 AM

From someone who has read every review of every 7970 card out there and who has had both the XFX DD BE and the MSI Lightning...

The MSI Lightning is the best 7970 out there. By far. I believe it's also the only truly custom 7970 out there (though I can't remember if the ASUS DCII also is a custom PCB)... the Gigabyte and XFX DD BE are just reference boards with nice coolers on them.

BTW every custom 7970 has some bad reviews and some good ones... mostly because 7970s don't seem to be "binned" and so your overclocking success will depend more on luck than which model you buy. The Lightning gives you the best chance to break 1200 MHz, though, since it has far better VRMs than any other card.
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April 18, 2012 11:11:19 AM

BigMack70 said:
From someone who has read every review of every 7970 card out there and who has had both the XFX DD BE and the MSI Lightning...

The MSI Lightning is the best 7970 out there. By far. I believe it's also the only truly custom 7970 out there (though I can't remember if the ASUS DCII also is a custom PCB)... the Gigabyte and XFX DD BE are just reference boards with nice coolers on them.

BTW every custom 7970 has some bad reviews and some good ones... mostly because 7970s don't seem to be "binned" and so your overclocking success will depend more on luck than which model you buy. The Lightning gives you the best chance to break 1200 MHz, though, since it has far better VRMs than any other card.


Exactly,lightning cards have beefier VRMs that's why they have more overclocking potential.
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April 18, 2012 12:01:00 PM

Now if only the lightnings were binned... then they'd be absolutely epic :bounce: 

All that said, is the Lightning worth a $60 price premium over a reference card and a $30-40 premium over a card like the XFX DD BE? From a value perspective, probably not. But if you want the best, the Lightning is currently it.

:edit: Probably worth noting too that if value or price/performance is what you're going for, the 7970 has been a bad deal ever since the 7950 was released.... since that card is now around the $400 point, everyone looking simply for value at the high end should pick one of those up.
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April 18, 2012 12:42:57 PM

romowens01 said:
I know the benchmarks will be about the same with all the 7970 cards and I'm not going to be doing extreme overclocking (if at all). So my decision is down to temp and noise.


This is a terrible idea, the 7970 can be OC from 925 MHz to 1100 - 1125 MHz on the core clock with a simple slider change to the power settings and clock settings within CCC. There is very little heat increase at all. If you're not willing to do this you're better off getting a 680 GTX which pulls ahead of stock 7970 due to it's more agressive stock core clock and "turbo boost" style feature.
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April 18, 2012 12:48:27 PM

Hmmm... I should read entire posts more often - didn't see that comment about not overclocking.

If you're not going to overclock at all, get the GTX 680. It's cooler, quieter, and faster at stock. The big advantage of the HD >= 78xx cards is the MASSIVE amount of overclocking headroom available even without any voltage tweaks.
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April 18, 2012 3:28:25 PM

joedjnpc said:
This is a terrible idea, the 7970 can be OC from 925 MHz to 1100 - 1125 MHz on the core clock with a simple slider change to the power settings and clock settings within CCC. There is very little heat increase at all. If you're not willing to do this you're better off getting a 680 GTX which pulls ahead of stock 7970 due to it's more agressive stock core clock and "turbo boost" style feature.


BigMack70 said:
Hmmm... I should read entire posts more often - didn't see that comment about not overclocking.

If you're not going to overclock at all, get the GTX 680. It's cooler, quieter, and faster at stock. The big advantage of the HD >= 78xx cards is the MASSIVE amount of overclocking headroom available even without any voltage tweaks.



I probably will overclock. Just not extreme (like 1200+ MHz). Plus I am wanting to stick with AMD as I am wanting to out Eyefinity and looking for a one card solution over a dual card.
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April 18, 2012 4:03:35 PM

Well, my recommendation stands as the MSI Lightning version for the best 7970. Just be careful with that one though since it doesn't have dual-link DVI so if you want to use monitors > 1080p, you need displayport monitors or an active DP-->dual DVI adapter.

The lightning is cool, quiet, comes with a nice factory OC of 1070 MHz, and has higher CCC limits for overclocking so that you don't have to do any "unofficial" overclocking.
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April 18, 2012 4:22:56 PM

once again i vote for lightning edition because my brother has gtx 580 lightning xtreme edition and it's a great card(not to mention power hungry too)
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April 18, 2012 11:15:14 PM

too bad I can't find these MSi Twinfrozer or lightnings for sale anywhere. All permanently out of stock or have older models for same price...
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April 18, 2012 11:20:03 PM

^^ you're tellin me...

I've had the newegg page auto-refreshing every minute for the past week waiting for them to get back in stock... emailed both MSI and newegg about it and nobody knows when they'll be back in stock :( 

The only one I can find anywhere for any amount of money is on ebay international for like $1k
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April 18, 2012 11:25:57 PM

Also I was just looking at the GeForce GTX 680 and noticed that spec wise it has less speed and power for the same price as the radeons, would you huys say it's still way better? Cause my pc is gona cost 2k already and I want it to last
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April 18, 2012 11:35:25 PM

Less speed and power? It does use less power than the 7970s but it is faster @ stock.

IMO they're the same performance wise, because to me what matters is overclocked performance. A 680 OC trades blows with a 7970 OC.

The 680 wasn't ever "way better" than even a stock 7970. It was just better, and that's if you only consider gaming performance stock vs stock. IMO you can't go wrong with either choice at current price points for gaming.

Also, be careful of your expectations for a $2k PC. A $1k PC now plus a $1k PC in 2 years will last longer than a $2k PC right now.
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April 19, 2012 2:45:35 AM

BigMack70 said:
Less speed and power? It does use less power than the 7970s but it is faster @ stock.

IMO they're the same performance wise, because to me what matters is overclocked performance. A 680 OC trades blows with a 7970 OC.

The 680 wasn't ever "way better" than even a stock 7970. It was just better, and that's if you only consider gaming performance stock vs stock. IMO you can't go wrong with either choice at current price points for gaming.

Also, be careful of your expectations for a $2k PC. A $1k PC now plus a $1k PC in 2 years will last longer than a $2k PC right now.

I highly doubt the 2k pc I'm building will be obsolete in two years, unless this is science fiction or the government finally releases all there top secret processors...Pluss if mine lasts 2-3 years I'll be more than content.
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April 19, 2012 2:54:54 AM

No need to get defensive - I never said your 2k PC will be obsolete in two years. It probably won't be obsolete until a new directX version is released.

However, a $2k PC now is not likely to be better than a $1k PC in 2 years. PC hardware always depreciates very quickly in value on the ultra high end.

There's no such thing as a truly future-proof PC; you should focus on what you want to do NOW and not worry about 2 years out, because the reality is that building a cheaper rig now + cheaper rig in 2 years would probably result in a better experience two years down the line.
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April 19, 2012 4:07:19 AM

I know all that, and when DX11 is out were all screwed lol.
Sadly my 2000$ pc is what i need now. All said and done my pc is 2k but im stuck on gpu atm so im trying to future proof as much as possible...gota be defensive lol d3 is around the corner and my current pc barley runs what I play now at medium...
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April 19, 2012 5:02:54 AM

The only parts that can be some what future proof is monitor (4-5 year time frame???), case and psu (if you are only planning to run 1 gpu, a 750/800W should last for quite some time).
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August 16, 2012 11:03:06 PM

To OP on what to choose:
OverClocking-wise - MSi Lighting (HD7970 R7970).
Stock-wise - Sapphire 11197-01-40G.

Tried both of them and they're just perfect. IMHO, at this current moment there is nothing better than these two.
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April 13, 2013 2:19:10 AM

Definitely the gigabyte 7970. Amazing performance and remains cooler than any stock standard 7970 out
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April 13, 2013 2:33:24 AM

different take:

buy the cheapest one then sell it once the new cards hit the market. as far as fan noise is concerned, get yourself a good pair of headphones, system noise solved.
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