I'm thinking of selling my current HD 7870 to my brother and upgrading. Would I be better off with a HD 7970, overclock it a lot, and begin water cooling it OR should I get a GTX 680 and overclock what I can out of it on air.
To buy all the parts to watercool the 7970 and to buy the 7970 costs as much for me as a single 680, so I'm not sure.
Yeah all you guys saying GTX 680 (performance-wise) have had too much green koolaid.
A water cooled 7970 is going to be a much worse value since you'll have to pay for all the water cooling stuff, but it will absolutely dominate a stock 680's performance seeing as how the average OC on a water cooled 7970 is in the 1300-1400 MHz range last I checked on hwbot.
Now, I am not personally a fan of water cooling (I think it's way too expensive for what it is and I don't like doing maintenance on a computer all the time once it's built), so I would just overclock a 7970 on air (which if you get a GHz edition should net you 1200 MHz+ and match an overclocked 680). Both options are plenty of performance for 1080p.
Don't really need to OC the Ghz Editions, they are already faster than the 680 at least on DX11 rendering, perhaps just slightly slower in tessellation but AMD waited for Nvidia to release and show their hand and now are unleashing the untapped performance left on the GCN architecture, to which the already maxed out Keplers cannot match.
A friend that is part of team MSI did a lightning showdown, they got the 7970 to 1550mhz on relatively low voltage tweaks, at little under 1400mhz the 680 practically melted its SOI. Give it a couple months and AMD will start to show off the untapped potential left in the GCN chips, by far the most radical GPU microarchitecture.
Up until GCN I was the biggest team Green fan, due to bad experiences with ATI but now after getting test samples of Kepler early it all changed.