Different ATI 7970 versions and which one to get


since there seem to be great price differences on the cards with that chipset, I wanted to ask for your oppinions. I am set on going for an ATI 7970 card, the vanilla version not OCed. I understand the OCed versions cost a bit more. However, there seem to be different no OC versions within the same manufacturer and I cant figure out the difference.

Example (taken from alphacity.co.nz):

Sapphire HD7970 3G PCI-E 3.0 GDDR5 PCI-E Video Card , 925MHz / 1375MHz , 384bit , HDMI+DVI-I+DUAL MINI Display Port, The Latest AMD Gaming Card - 650 NZ$

Sapphire Radeon HD7970 3GB GDDR5 PCI-E HDMI / DVI / Dual Mini DP - 610 NZ$

MSI R7970 Lightning 5.6Ghz3GB GDDR5 PCIe Card - 696 NZ$

MSI R7970 Quad CrossFireX GDDR5 3072MB DX11 - 605 NZ$

I would naturally just go for the cheapes, the MSI one, but only if there are no major drawbacks...

Thanks for the help!

edit, build:

MoBo: ASRock H77M-M
CPU: i5 3570
RAM: Kingston 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L Non-ECC CL9 Kit of 2
HDD: Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA3 7200RPM 6Gb/s 64MB Internal HDD
9 answers Last reply
More about different 7970 versions
  1. The major difference between the MSI brands, is the reference (original) card versus the lightning (non-reference) meaning that it has a custom cooler. I am also thinking it would be the same for the sapphire's. You can't go wrong with MSI though, I like their quality.
  2. The extra money usually gets you one of two things (or both).

    A better cooler

    A factory overclock

    Both are desirable, especially the cooler
  3. Could you be a bit more specific on why the better cooler is desirable? I am not planning on OCing the graphicscard and I am not bothered if it is a bit noisy.
  4. Compared to reference coolers that only has a 1 fan design, the better coolers usually have 2-3 fans and the manufactuer's heatsink dissipates heat much better from the GPU.
  5. The MSI Lightning is the best one that list and its one of the most popular on the forums here. It's got a very well deserved reputation because its factory clock settings are very nice and the cooler is very good. Out of the box it will beat the GTX 680 quite handily due to the factory settings (1070 OC on the core vs 925 reference, a nice 16% overclock). The chips used are also of higher quality, most lightnings will easily hit 1100, or even 1150 with some hitting 1200 or above. It's definitely worth the extra money.

    I personally have two Gigabyte 7970s with the Windforce 3 coolers:

  6. Oh so it is overclocked! The question is, do I need that for my gaming rig or is it more of a "look how much power my machine has!"
  7. You're computer setup looks to be a gaming rig. The clocks definitely help with higher graphic settings. Pinhedd has a strong setup.
  8. I'll definitely contemplate it than. I could also go for the:
    Gigabyte GV-R797OC-3GD Overclocked HD 7970 3GB DDR5 PCI-E 3.0 Video Card HDTV DVI HDMI Displayport - 665NZ$

    I'll have to upgrade the PSU from 500Watts, though :).
  9. Most of the 7970's overclock very well. You will be able to achieve high core clock even with a reference board. The quiet and more effective cooling is really what you're paying for. As well as reducing the chances of getting a board that doesn't OC well since they are factory tested prior to your purchase.
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