Pinching pennies on the 7000 series cards?

Hello! I'm looking to upgrade from my oldie goldie 4870. It's run very solid over the last ~2-3 years i've owned it but i've got into ARMA 2 and am looking to upgrade the settings. (For a 2 year old game, it kicks your PC's ass, and never mind the hi res texture packs.) Noticed some other games like Arkham City and even the older Just Cause 2 would lag a bit at higher settings

Here's my case. I've done some comparisons between the 7850, 7870, 7950 and 7970. I'm looking for a good value in the card and it seems like this is the first time in recent memory where the highest card of the series is actually WORTH the upgrade over one of the lower cards, money wise (IE the extra cost seems to scale appropriately with extra performance.)

Now, as i'm looking to buy, i'll be factoring in a few things

Performance- Duh, this is why you buy big, right? You want to crank up those settings and let the eye candy bleed all over your desk. Picking up a lower cost card would hurt this by a bit, but it's not a deal breaker, i'm not an absolute GFX whore, I just want something that will match up with my current i5 2500k (Stock speeds) build.

Longevity- Would the more expensive cards be worth it for the extra bucks if it stays relevant for an extra year or so over the other cards? I think this is something many don't consider when purchasing a card. Future upgrade costs. To upgrade to a 7850 or something on the low end seems like a short term gain, long term loss situation.

Deals- This means Instant savings off MSRP, Rebates, Package deals with swag, anything you can muster. If you can find a deal that is cutting a lot off a mid range card, that would sweeten the pot considerably for that card. Disinclude the AMD 3 For Free deal, because there is no way those 3 games are worth 99 bucks (should ask AMD if i can just trade the 3 games for 100 bucks off my card, as if that would fly lol)

Competition- Both current and up-coming. Of course, there will always be the people who say that i'd be a fool to even consider the 7000 series for gaming when the 680 mops the floor at stock with the 7000 series, and although there are some footnotes to that statement, I haven't totally disregarded Nvidia's offerings in this. If enough of a case can be made as for why one should go that route, I'm open to hear them. The rumored upcoming 6GB version of the 7970 is said to clean up comparatively, and the 670 is said to be an expected contender for price/performance. Flip side is if you wait forever you end up never upgrading at all waiting for the next best thing.

Current machine i'm running is a

Fractal Design R3 (Generation 1 with the USB2.0 headers on front, but looking at the upgrade kit to USB 3.0, not that this matters)
ASUS P8Z68-V motherboard
8GB RAM (can't remember the exact brand/timings but could check if necessary)
Core i5 2500k, currently at stock, but willing to OC when i have a free afternoon.
HD4870 2GB version
No sound card

23" LG s-IPS panel capable of 1920x1080 (and probably what i'll be attempting to run)

TL;DR: What 7000 series is the best bang for the buck while still being able to crank out "Very High/Ultra" performance on all applicable levels

What do you guys think? Input is appreciated. If i'm missing any info in my post that would help, let me know.
11 answers Last reply
More about pinching pennies 7000 series cards
  1. Well, the GTX 670 launches tomorrow so I'd watch prices. I've read that the 7870 can be overclocked to 7970 performance. The 7870 is sitting around ~370 on Newegg.
  2. look around for good deals i snagged a 7970 from ebay for 400, thats a price of 7950 for a 7970 :D
  3. I wouldnt say 7970 performance, more like 7950. on some cases, at least from what I've read.
  4. Regarding ARMA 2, here's a page with the benchmarks of each graphics card. Comparing the 7850 vs the 7970 you're seeing a ~50% increase in FPS on average. Assuming an average cost of 470 for the ~7970 and a 7850 for ~250.

    $470 / 75 fps = $6.27/fps

    $250 / 49 fps = $5.10/fps

    Prices from Newegg


    It terms of dollar/fps the 7850 is the best buy, but if you're looking for sheer performance with a "future proof" capability I personally went with the 7970.

    Other Thoughts:
    $360 / 59 fps = 6.1

    The 7870 would be slightly more, about $110 depending on which you purchase. The one I linked below is the GHZ OC edition which will perform better than the standard 7870. It'll still cost you about 6.10 per fps but you'll feel a significant difference in performance going from 49 to 59, at least I typically do. Also, there are other 7870 GHZ OC edition cards that are cheaper than 360, I'm just partial to Sapphire.

  5. alvine said:
    look around for good deals i snagged a 7970 from ebay for 400, thats a price of 7950 for a 7970 :D

    Was that new or used?

    Also Zephids, I do regard the extra performance to factor into it somewhat. If I can ride this card out for 3-4 years (depending what I play/what comes out) vs 2-3 years for the lower end card. As you say it's a lot more relevant when you factor the futureproofing in.
  6. internetlad said:
    Was that new or used?

    Also Zephids, I do regard the extra performance to factor into it somewhat. If I can ride this card out for 3-4 years (depending what I play/what comes out) vs 2-3 years for the lower end card. As you say it's a lot more relevant when you factor the futureproofing in.

    Under condition it said new, unopened
  7. Running 1 monitor at 1080? You should probably look at the 7800 series. Although, since the price was adjusted on the 7900 series, this leaves a little bit of a dilemma. As of right this minute I would recommend trying to find a deal on a 7950 since its close in price to a 7870. If the release of the 670 tomorrow causes ati to adjust the prices on the 7800 (only time will tell obviously) I would recommend the 7870. At your resolution there is really no need for you to spend the extra cash on the 7900 series. I'm kind of in your boat, I have a 5870 but I'm trying to hang with it a little longer, maybe I can make it to the holidays.
  8. It really comes down to your budget. If you purchase the high end 7970 @ ~480 then you're set for a few years at the highest performance you can get. If you get a 7870, which is still a good card just doesn't perform as well. However, the 7870 is the OC GHZ edition. Also, there's supposedly to be a GHZ 7970 coming soon too.
  9. I just recently upgraded from 4870 to a 7870 and I'm quite happy with the purchase. My guess is that if you go for 7850 or better you'll get plenty of longevity from it as this generation is the first on the new process. If you buy low, you'll always be able to look back and wish you had gone for the high; if you buy high, you may end up over future proofing but if you've got the cash to not regret it too much then it's no biggy :)

    I second waiting a few days to see what the prices on the 78xx series do with the next nVidia release, since AMD may need to react to their pricing in the coming weeks (if they price the 670 competitively).

    Be sure to get a card with a 3+ year warranty if you want to go the future proof route, since longevity is as important as performance. My 4870 bit the dust last summer but since I had a visiontek (lifetime warranty) I had a refurb to get me through until the 7xxx release :) (would have been a shame being forced into the 6 series a few months before the next major process improvement)
  10. Overall Conclusion: 7850 or 7870 depending on your price range.

    According to the consensus of everyone's posts.
  11. Thank you for the input, all. Wish i could give out more than one best answer.
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