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660 Ti vs. 7950?

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August 25, 2012 8:09:12 PM

Alright, I'm sure you guys have seen this question a billion times, but I tailored the question to suit my needs rather then just, "which card is better in general?".

So, I run a single monitor, max resolution is 1440 x 900, 75hz max refresh rate, and I plan to run an SLI/CrossFire, with whichever card I wind up getting. I am likely never to upgrade to another/larger monitor. I like this one too much, and when/if it dies on me, I will almost certainly buy another of the same one.

I play BF3, L4D2, Dead Island, some PS2 and N64 emulators, and I would definitely like to play any new games that are coming out for PC like BioShock Infinite, etc...

So, which card should I buy for my situation? The 660 Ti? Even though I hear it's pointless to get if you are doing an SLI setup, or the 7950? Pretty much the same price.

Here's the rest of the computer specs:

Windows 7/XP 64Bit
8GB Kingston HyperX Blu RAM
i3-2120
Asus P8H61
Ultra 550W
Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 250GB HDD

However, I am upgrading to an i5-2500k, a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5h, and an OCZ ZX Series 1000W PSU, in the next month. I also plan on doing serious overclocking on the GPU, among other things lol.

More about : 660 7950

a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 8:10:03 PM

an HD 7950 would be better

Edit: 1000w is way overkill
August 25, 2012 8:14:35 PM

Yeah, once the price points dropped on the AMD and I read that the 660 Ti is crippled by its memory bus while using an SLI config I was kind of turned off by it.

Also, I've been informed by many people here that the 1000W PSU I chose is a good one, and is not overkill for the amount of overclocking I intend to do. Are you saying otherwise?
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 8:15:21 PM

750w is plenty
August 25, 2012 8:19:33 PM

lol, but you have a Corsair 850w...
August 25, 2012 8:24:53 PM

h2l said:
Alright, I'm sure you guys have seen this question a billion times, but I tailored the question to suit my needs rather then just, "which card is better in general?".

So, I run a single monitor, max resolution is 1440 x 900, 75hz max refresh rate, and I plan to run an SLI/CrossFire, with whichever card I wind up getting. I am likely never to upgrade to another/larger monitor. I like this one too much, and when/if it dies on me, I will almost certainly buy another of the same one.

I play BF3, L4D2, Dead Island, some PS2 and N64 emulators, and I would definitely like to play any new games that are coming out for PC like BioShock Infinite, etc...

So, which card should I buy for my situation? The 660 Ti? Even though I hear it's pointless to get if you are doing an SLI setup, or the 7950? Pretty much the same price.

Here's the rest of the computer specs:

Windows 7/XP 64Bit
8GB Kingston HyperX Blu RAM
i3-2120
Asus P8H61
Ultra 550W
Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 250GB HDD

However, I am upgrading to an i5-2500k, a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5h, and an OCZ ZX Series 1000W PSU, in the next month. I also plan on doing serious overclocking on the GPU, among other things lol.


3 important things from your post:
1) At 1440x900, you are absolutely wasting your money by running two graphics cards. You will see zero benefit from it, and in fact it's likely to cause unnecessary problems. It's the technological equivalent of lighting a stack of money on fire and then punching yourself in the face. One of these graphics cards is MORE than enough for that low of a resolution.

2) On a related note, at this resolution the limiting factor in performance is often the CPU. You will want to overclock your 2500k a bit even with just one graphics card at this resolution in order to get the most from it.

3) Since you want to overclock, get yourself a nice 7950 and be done with it. 40% overclocks (from stock 800 MHz) are common on custom 7950s. No Kepler card can even approach that type of overclocking insanity... you can easily push a 7950 beyond stock 680 performance if you get a custom one and have a bit of luck with your overclock.

A single 7950 would be my recommendation based primarily on #3.
a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 8:26:04 PM

yes because i'm adding an 8150 and HD 7970 GHz CFX
August 25, 2012 8:40:40 PM

BigMack70 said:
3 important things from your post:
1) At 1440x900, you are absolutely wasting your money by running two graphics cards. You will see zero benefit from it, and in fact it's likely to cause unnecessary problems. It's the technological equivalent of lighting a stack of money on fire and then punching yourself in the face. One of these graphics cards is MORE than enough for that low of a resolution.

2) On a related note, at this resolution the limiting factor in performance is often the CPU. You will want to overclock your 2500k a bit even with just one graphics card at this resolution in order to get the most from it.

3) Since you want to overclock, get yourself a nice 7950 and be done with it. 40% overclocks (from stock 800 MHz) are common on custom 7950s. No Kepler card can even approach that type of overclocking insanity... you can easily push a 7950 beyond stock 680 performance if you get a custom one and have a bit of luck with your overclock.

A single 7950 would be my recommendation based primarily on #3.


Good info there bro.

For 1) I hear ya about the burning money and punching my own face, but you have to understand, I don't plan on buying two of these cards at the same time. I will buy one, and then a year or MORE down the road, when prices drop, and it seems like a good idea, I will buy a second one. That's how I did it with my 7600GT's. By then, I might have no choice but to upgrade to a different/better monitor. See where I am going with this? I'm just preparing for the future when prices drop, and things change.

For 2) Don't worry, I intend on overclocking my i5-2500k much more then "a little bit".

For 3) A single 7950 is pretty much what I decided on anyways. :) 

Now for the question. What do you mean by a "custom one". I know some GPU's overclock better then others, but in general, my budget is pretty much $300-$315 flat, not including shipping, so I can't run around buying 7950's that are approaching $400. Would you care to rattle off a few brands/names of cards that you would recommend for heavy overclocking?

Thanks! :) 
August 25, 2012 8:43:08 PM

gamerkila57 said:
yes because i'm adding an 8150 and HD 7970 GHz CFX


Those are two different graphics cars right? I think I'm confused because I thought you couldn't SLI/CrossFire two different cards. Or are you not going to CrossFire those? Or are you, and I just have no clue what I am talking about? :p 
August 25, 2012 8:47:34 PM

You want the best 7950 PCB + cooler you can afford e.g. not a reference card and preferably not a reference card that someone just stuck a nice cooler on.

I have not read reviews of each custom model, so don't know with 100% certainty which ones use the nice custom PCBs (I suspect that cards like the XFX DD 7950 and Gigabyte Windforce 7950 are using reference PCBs but don't know for sure). I also don't know what sort of PCB the MSI Twin Frozr 7950 uses - reference or custom.

If I were buying a 7950 to chase down a big overclock, this is what I'd buy (it is a tad more expensive at $330, but it's a fully custom card from the best brand, with good user reviews about overclocking into the 1100-1200MHz range):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 8:54:10 PM

h2l said:
Those are two different graphics cars right? I think I'm confused because I thought you couldn't SLI/CrossFire two different cards. Or are you not going to CrossFire those? Or are you, and I just have no clue what I am talking about? :p 

AMD FX 8150 CPU and 2x HD 7970 GHz Crossfire
a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 8:58:01 PM

Go with a 7950 (you don't need two unless you plan on buying two more of those monitors you love). Here is a good review of the different options.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7950-revi...
I would go with that MSI too. You can chose whether you want the OC or stock one (it says they aren't both sold in the us but they are). Since you plan to OC the card anyways I'd just stick with the normal version.
Normal- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OC- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Lastly the OCZ PSU are good but save yourself some money you only need the 850W even with all the OC you are planning to do.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and if you don't believe me check this out (one of the more accurate PSU calculators)
http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

Edit- other PSU to consider the 750w here is a great deal (all are from what is commonly considered the best PSU company). There isn't that much of a difference between gold and platinum standards just platinum is slightly more efficient (highest rating with gold being second).
750w ($40 off promo code)- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
850w- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
860w- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a c 130 U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 9:05:28 PM

BigMack70 said:
3 important things from your post:
1) At 1440x900, you are absolutely wasting your money by running two graphics cards. You will see zero benefit from it, and in fact it's likely to cause unnecessary problems. It's the technological equivalent of lighting a stack of money on fire and then punching yourself in the face. One of these graphics cards is MORE than enough for that low of a resolution.

2) On a related note, at this resolution the limiting factor in performance is often the CPU. You will want to overclock your 2500k a bit even with just one graphics card at this resolution in order to get the most from it.

3) Since you want to overclock, get yourself a nice 7950 and be done with it. 40% overclocks (from stock 800 MHz) are common on custom 7950s. No Kepler card can even approach that type of overclocking insanity... you can easily push a 7950 beyond stock 680 performance if you get a custom one and have a bit of luck with your overclock.

A single 7950 would be my recommendation based primarily on #3.



This 7950 overclocking you are talking about. I'm not calling you out on it but would love to see some links showing this.
A brief look on techpowerup shows the fastest third party card they have over clocked not even Matching a 680.

I'm not about to put full faith in a single review which is why im asking for any links you may have.

Mactronix :) 
a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 9:12:04 PM

andrewcarr said:
Go with a 7950 (you don't need two unless you plan on buying two more of those monitors you love). Here is a good review of the different options.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7950-revi...
I would go with that MSI too. You can chose whether you want the OC or stock one (it says they aren't both sold in the us but they are). Since you plan to OC the card anyways I'd just stick with the normal version.
Normal- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OC- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Lastly the OCZ PSU are good but save yourself some money you only need the 850W even with all the OC you are planning to do.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and if you don't believe me check this out (one of the more accurate PSU calculators)
http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

Edit- other PSU to consider the 750w here is a great deal (all are from what is commonly considered the best PSU company). There isn't that much of a difference between gold and platinum standards just platinum is slightly more efficient (highest rating with gold being second).
750w ($40 off promo code)- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
850w- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
860w- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

way to over priced this is a great quality psu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 25, 2012 9:13:11 PM

Thanks guys. This is why I really love tomshardware. Always good stuff. I'll definitely be doing my research on which card to get, and I may just pinch my pennies and wait a little longer until I can afford one of the better more powerful 7950's.

As for the PSU, I was looking at this one since it's got really great reviews: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - It isn't fully modular like I would have liked, but all it has connected is the 24-pin and the PCIe power cables, and the rest is modular, so that's pretty much not a problem.

What do you guys think?
a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 9:18:54 PM

h2l said:
Thanks guys. This is why I really love tomshardware. Always good stuff. I'll definitely be doing my research on which card to get, and I may just pinch my pennies and wait a little longer until I can afford one of the better more powerful 7950's.

As for the PSU, I was looking at this one since it's got really great reviews: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - It isn't fully modular like I would have liked, but all it has connected is the 24-pin and the PCIe power cables, and the rest is modular, so that's pretty much not a problem.

What do you guys think?

look at my last post
August 25, 2012 9:24:58 PM

It isn't modular at all, and it's only bronze energy certified, not gold. I need it to be at least somewhat modular, and I definitely need to save money on my electric bill, even if it's only a few dollars haha.
August 25, 2012 9:53:57 PM

Yeah, that is a great price but I won't be able to buy it before the promo ends anyways, so by the time I have to buy a new PSU I will have to choose between that one, and the one I just linked to.
a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 10:09:11 PM

I'd get a Corsair TX 750 v2 + a Gigabyte Windforce 7950. I'm getting these exact parts in three days to complement my OC 965. At 1080p the 7950 will smash any game and Gigabytes version is not only built to last but built to be pushed to the limit. As a bonus the TX is not modular so you don't have to worry about cabling and rail issues.
August 25, 2012 10:23:16 PM

mactronix said:
This 7950 overclocking you are talking about. I'm not calling you out on it but would love to see some links showing this.
A brief look on techpowerup shows the fastest third party card they have over clocked not even Matching a 680.

I'm not about to put full faith in a single review which is why im asking for any links you may have.

Mactronix :) 


For example, notice how it matches and perhaps even slightly beats an OC'd 670:
http://hardocp.com/article/2012/08/23/galaxy_gtx_660_ti...

And especially these reviews, which show how the 7950 can leapfrog a 7970 pretty easily (and hence match or beat a stock 680 depending on how high an OC you actually manage):
Guru3d
Overclock3d
Tweaktown

You can find others (I just found these from 1 minute browsing through TPU's review database), but in general, if you get a card that hits the average OC of the 7950 (which is why I recommend a fully custom card - to increase your chances of this), you can expect GTX 680 caliber performance from the card.

Average OC is currently being reported as 1166/1626

Obviously, if you get a card that doesn't break the 1100 MHz barrier, you won't get quite as much performance. But just pause for a second to consider that 1166 Mhz overclock, which is being reported as the average, is a 45%+ overclock! The 7950 is absolutely the most nuts card out there for overclocking in terms of possible gains over the stock card - even more so than the 7970.
a c 130 U Graphics card
August 26, 2012 8:43:12 AM

I guess a lot of it comes down to pricing where you are and what your budget can afford.
Things really are tight price/perf at the moment.
Its a similar state of affairs we had when the 560Ti was new, get a decent third party card and you are talking seriously more performance than a stock card.

At this point I feel the 670Ti is probably the best of both worlds. That's just my preference at my local price point you understand.

Mactronix :) 
August 26, 2012 6:13:44 PM

Best of both worlds, if you can even afford one. I however, can not. ;) 
August 26, 2012 9:00:41 PM

For someone who wants to overclock, the 660ti is a very poor choice over the 7950, regardless of resolution...
a c 539 U Graphics card
August 26, 2012 10:33:11 PM

My reading of the reviews indicates that the GTX 660 Ti overclocks extremely well.

My summary for the GTX 660 Ti would be: higher performance for the resolution, good overclocking abilities, cheaper, more efficient, better performance in the games in question.
August 27, 2012 1:01:58 AM

Alright, so here's something else I have been thinking of.

Why spend $300+ on a card that I won't even be able to use to its full potential, considering my monitor, right? I mean, if my FPS will be locked at 60 since my refresh rate is only 75hz, why would I get a card like the 660Ti or the 7950?

If I bought one of these high end cards, will it be worth it with regards to any games that come out in the next, 2, 3, years?

Because of my monitor, would I be better off just buying a cheaper card? Something like a 560 Ti? Or maybe something like a GTX 570 Fermi?
August 27, 2012 2:12:09 AM

17seconds said:
My reading of the reviews indicates that the GTX 660 Ti overclocks extremely well.

My summary for the GTX 660 Ti would be: higher performance for the resolution, good overclocking abilities, cheaper, more efficient, better performance in the games in question.


not 45% well, and you have to deal with the boost clock nonsense...

Also, only an overclocked 660ti beats a 7950. Stock 7950 = stock 660ti and overclocked 7950 > overclocked 660ti

The only thing the 660ti has going for it is performance/watt and the typical Nvidia features for a few games (e.g. PhysX)

@OP I wouldn't spend more than $200-ish on a graphics card (570 or 7850 or upcoming 660) to play at your resolution.
a b U Graphics card
August 27, 2012 2:14:36 AM

Your FPS won't be locked unless you enable Vsync which you shouldn't do unless you have to as it hammers performance. Turning on Vsync at 60 FPS per second can drop to around 30FPS. The 7950 will also last for a while yet, especially when Crysis 3 and Metro Last Light come out. By then the 7950 will still be a great option but the 500 series GPU's will have run out of puff.
August 27, 2012 2:57:14 AM

Crysis 3 and BioShock Infinite are pretty much my fuel for a nice high-end gpu.

GAHHH!! Picking a card is such a hard thing to do! I really just don't know what card is best for my monitor and my needs. :/ 

Btw, thanks for the information guys.
a b U Graphics card
August 27, 2012 3:05:08 AM

The 7870 is a fine choice, roughly the equivalent of a GTX 580. If you can't afford the 7950 that is a good choice. If you can afford the 7950 get a good model like Sapphire's OC model or Giagbyte's Windforce model.

More importantly if your PSU is Ultra I'd upgrade that first. It isn't that reliable - how many volts on the 12 volt rails?
August 27, 2012 9:59:51 AM

If you're going to go with a 7870 and want to overclock, I recommend the MSI Hawk model:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It should overclock better than the Gigabyte.

Also, my comment about the $200-250 range was for now/the next year or so. If you're looking at this as a greater than 2 year investment, go ahead and pick up the 7950 - in a couple years the extra graphics power sure couldn't hurt.
August 27, 2012 1:19:59 PM

Well yeah I am definitely considering the 7950, it certainly is still on the table and pretty much the top contender right now.

However, will it really be possible for my monitor to achieve 80-90FPS in BF3 with that card, without my monitor just capping off at 60FPS? I'm assuming 80-90FPS only because for the lowest resolution they had on the benchmarks, in BF3, the card was averaging 104FPS. That's also not even considering the overclocking I will be doing.
August 27, 2012 1:37:49 PM

Well BF3 benchmarks are useless for figuring out precisely what framerates you will get, because they benchmark single player which is considerably less demanding than multiplayer.

You'll get slightly less than that. Your monitor, if you enable vsync, will cap at 75fps and cannot display any more visual information than that (75 Hz refresh rate).

A 7950 should easily be able to get you 75fps in BF3 at that resolution.
a b U Graphics card
August 27, 2012 4:14:44 PM

Waste money (GPU) on a crappy monitor. Awesome dude.
August 27, 2012 5:16:50 PM

The monitor really isn't crappy at all. It's a nice monitor and it displays great colors, and it works for me. I chose not to use a 1080p monitor because visually, it's too large for me. I really like the resolution 1440 x 900. I think it's perfect on my 19" monitor.
a b U Graphics card
August 27, 2012 6:03:27 PM

h2l said:
The monitor really isn't crappy at all. It's a nice monitor and it displays great colors, and it works for me. I chose not to use a 1080p monitor because visually, it's too large for me. I really like the resolution 1440 x 900. I think it's perfect on my 19" monitor.


It's a waste. Can you watch 1080p movies? No. Also, you want a fast GPU. Why? You don't use it to its potential. It's a waste on you.

You can get a good 23/24" monitor for $200. And you will enjoy gaming more. Why not buy one? I went from a 14" laptop screen,
(720p) which I thought was good, to a 23" monitor(1080p)and I realized I missed out on details.
August 27, 2012 6:15:33 PM

Well I never said I was NEVER going to upgrade to a better monitor lol, it's just that right now, I don't have a graphics card AT ALL, and I am looking for a good one. When the money is right, and if I decide I'm no longer happy with my current monitor, it will get upgraded. It's just not possible for me to buy both a monitor and a gpu right now, so I will spend money right now on the most practical of them both.

I won't be able to utilize the better monitor anyways, without a gpu to power it. At least for now, with the 7950, I can play games, get great and smooth gameplay on my current monitor, and then like I said, when the time comes, if I want to, I can upgrade the monitor.
August 28, 2012 12:51:01 AM

In the end, I couldn't keep going back and forth so I went ahead and bought the MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition from newegg, which came with a free Borderlands 2 coupon code. I didn't know about the code at first and just saw it in my cart haha. I'll probably wind up selling it off to try and make some money back from the expense of the card.

I chose the Power Edition over the 7950 because the 7950 was more expensive as a whole, and for my setup, the 660 Ti would have given me better performance. Also, I've been reading that the Power Edition from MSI has something called triple overvoltage which means it can overclock very well.

I also chose the nVidia because I used to have a 6870 and now I just want to try something different then another Radeon.

Anyways, thanks for all the help guys! I'm not going to choose a best answer because you all pretty much gave the best answers!
a b U Graphics card
August 28, 2012 6:29:02 AM

The 192 bit bus of your 660 will choke up faster than the 7950's fatter pipe.
a c 141 U Graphics card
August 28, 2012 7:15:44 AM

Smeg45 said:
The 192 bit bus of your 660 will choke up faster than the 7950's fatter pipe.


the test done here does not agree with that:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/27/nvidia_geforc...

from the summary:

Quote:
The Radeon HD 7950 has a 384-bit memory bus with 240GB/sec of memory bandwidth, while the GALAXY GTX 660 Ti GC has a 192-bit bus with 144GB/sec of memory bandwidth, yet we sometimes see the GALAXY GTX 660 Ti GC video card performing faster, but the 660 Ti does have a GPU clock advantage. We don't see that 66% advantage in memory bandwidth the Radeon HD 7950 has in real-world gaming with high setting AA configurations. This means there are other factors besides the width of the memory bus and the bandwidth that affect performance between these two cards; namely GPU clock and architecture advantages.
a b U Graphics card
August 28, 2012 7:29:10 AM

renz496 said:
the test done here does not agree with that:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/27/nvidia_geforc...

from the summary:

Quote:
The Radeon HD 7950 has a 384-bit memory bus with 240GB/sec of memory bandwidth, while the GALAXY GTX 660 Ti GC has a 192-bit bus with 144GB/sec of memory bandwidth, yet we sometimes see the GALAXY GTX 660 Ti GC video card performing faster, but the 660 Ti does have a GPU clock advantage. We don't see that 66% advantage in memory bandwidth the Radeon HD 7950 has in real-world gaming with high setting AA configurations. This means there are other factors besides the width of the memory bus and the bandwidth that affect performance between these two cards; namely GPU clock and architecture advantages.


Check back in a year or two. The 7950 will outlast the 660.
August 28, 2012 3:59:42 PM

That's okay. It's just something I'll have to live with. At this point though, I'm not really worried about it. I'm looking at the brighter sides of things with this card, rather then what *might* choke its performance years down the road.
August 30, 2012 2:50:25 AM

gamerkila57 said:
750w is plenty

this is random for this post but how do you like your fx series proccesor?
October 1, 2012 7:13:10 PM

1440x900 = anything over a gtx 560 or a radeon 6850 is overkill. period.
a b U Graphics card
October 2, 2012 3:23:18 AM

The 7950 is the better card of those but as we've been saying since your monitor isn't 120Hz then you really don't need to spend the money on either a 660Ti or 7950. I'd get this if I was you. It's an amazing price for a very nice card.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It'll still be a nice improvement and the cooler is one of the best.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7950-revi...
The cooler is the same so the noise should be the same with lower temps because of a lower watt chip. Should be a very good overclocker (although can't match a MSI hawk but at the same time when you're saving $40 it's worth it).
a b U Graphics card
October 2, 2012 3:34:54 AM

IamAutiz said:
this is random for this post but how do you like your fx series proccesor?

i love it does everything i want it to :) 
a c 539 U Graphics card
October 2, 2012 3:47:51 AM

You made a very wise choice. I think you'll find that Bioshock Infinite, using the Unreal Engine, and Crysis 3 will run better on Nvidia cards. I'm also glad you were able to wade through all of the conflicting information during the process and come to your own decision.






By the way, I think you pretty much have to pick a Best Answer so the thread can be closed.
!