sooo, I've been going back and forth on this question for a month or two now, and have finally decided to upgrade my monitors to the Dell Ultrasharp IPS panel (hopefully getting 3 eventually). anyways, in order to max out all of my games, I recognize that I would need a second 7970 and have been shopping around.
I currently run a sapphire dualx at 1110mhz and 1600mhz memory on stock voltages of 1.17V. after some digging around, I found that TSMC have improved their 28nm process by a lot, and the newer 7970 cards come with a lower stock voltage, but can probably OC higher if I turn them up to 1.17V. which is great. BUT, I've been having a hell of a time finding the right CF partner for my current card.
Out of the four, I believe only the MSI "slow lightning" comes with proper memory and VRM cooling (correct me if I'm wrong). but is it worth the price premium? or am I better off buying say the cheap powercolor one, and buying some memory/VRM heat spreaders and attach them myself?
I thought those Dell monitors had pretty crappy latency - 15ms?? if I remember. Look for quicker response - do a search I know this has been discussed.
something like 8ms. I don't play FPS games competitively so I honestly don't care... I mainly game to relax from long work days (I'm a biochemist/protein sturcutral analyst), and I really enjoy looking at the eye candy in a game, to me, I'd take the higher latency over maybe 1 or 2 extra kills in a FPS game. I play a lot of RPGs too anyway
Slowly figuring this out myself, I shall keep a record here for anyone who's curious, or who wants to chim in
took a very close look at this review article, which offer a nice tear down of the powercolor 7970 vortex II model: http://www.fudzilla.com/home/item/26836-powercolor-pcs%...
It appears that powercolor did not install heat-spreaders onto the memory modules or the VRMs (as a review on newegg suggested). worse, their cooler is extra-thick around the GPU (but doesn't touch the memory...), making it impossible to attach heat spreaders to the memory modules myself. so Powercolor's out
Another Update... this time on the Gigabyte windforce
This card was unfortunately very loud when Tom's reviewed it... judging by TH's most recent review of the 670's windforce cooler, gigabyte may have fixed the noise issue. It's also nice that the card has a brace for support as well as thermal-tape to attach the memory chips to the aluminum plate around the GPU cooler (I'm not sure if this affects GPU cooling at all, could be the reason why the windforce card runs a bit warm on benchmarks). the card seem to also support VRM heatspreaders if I use thermal tape
Great find. some very interesting thermal results there. thought not unexpected (especially for cards I've found tear-down reviews of).
so you think the lightning is worth a $60-70 premium over some other card? (normally I would say yes, but it'll be CFed with my sapphire card, which doesnt have all those extra power phases etc). though the sapphire card has memory and VRM heat-plate, so that helps at least...
I was mainly deciding between the lightning or spending $15-20 on heat-spreaders and thermal tape