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[Graphics Cards] Single HD 7970 or Crossfire 2 HD 7850's?

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September 16, 2012 4:48:43 AM

Hello everyone,

So here I am, contemplating what I should do to improve my gaming performance even further. I currently have a Gigabyte HD 7850 2GB video card, which runs my games beautifully. However, I am hoping to get more performance and willing to spend the money to do so. So my dilemna is this, should I get another 7850 and Crossfire, or buy a single HD 7970? My build is very new (2 months), and my specs are in my signature. I'm currently using a 620w Seasonic Bronze PSU. My only issues arise when I'm capturing games with Bandicam, for example Battlefield 3. I run Battlefield 3 at all ultra settings at 1920x1080, with a stable 90+ FPS, however when I record with Bandicam the frames drastically drop to around 30 FPS. I'm very curious as to why the frame drop is so drastic in this game, because when I capture any other game (Starcraft 2, Dark Souls, League of Legends, etc), my frames aren't nearly effected as much. So this leads me to assume that it's my Graphics card that's creating the bottleneck here, please correct me if i'm wrong.

I'm also debating if I should make the jump over to Nvidia cards, and get a GTX 670 instead of the radeon 7970. Any thoughts? Will my 620w PSU be able to power an HD 7970 or GTX 670? Or will I have to upgrade that as well? Please any thoughts, comments and advice will be greatly appreciated as always.

Thanks!!!
a b U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 5:20:35 AM

I'm not sure how the 670 will do with the Bandicam..but it will give you good fps in Bf3. I would rather stick to one card than do sli or crossfire. When you are rendering or recording video at the same time, your performance will take a hit.

I recommend 7970 since it will do better with the video rendering and recording. Your psu should be ok, minimum for both cards is 500w. Also, the 3gb vram will help with your Bandicam.
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September 16, 2012 5:36:45 AM

selayan said:
I'm not sure how the 670 will do with the Bandicam..but it will give you good fps in Bf3. I would rather stick to one card than do sli or crossfire. When you are rendering or recording video at the same time, your performance will take a hit.

I recommend 7970 since it will do better with the video rendering and recording. Your psu should be ok, minimum for both cards is 500w. Also, the 3gb vram will help with your Bandicam.


Thanks!!! I'm doing a lot of research online, and I'm leaning more and more towards a single HD 7970. There just seems to be so many issues with Crossfire, and with a single card I won't have to upgrade my PSU. Now comes choosing which HD 7970 to buy, as there's so many to choose from. It's really confusing now, any advice or thoughts on which one to purchase? I'm looking on newegg.com.

Thanks!
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a b U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 3:55:14 PM

Well I always reccomend an aftermarket cooled card since it will stay cooler and run usually quieter. If coil whine concerns you, the whining squeeling noise of some of these newer gen cards, then look at the Asus DCII or PowerCooler PCS+ Vortex 2 7970, Saphire 7970 Ghz Vapor X.

Gigabyte is pretty good, Asus is alright too. For Amd I would pick either Saphire, MSI Lightning if price does not concern you. XFX also has good warranty too but your choice is less limited if coil whine does not bother you.
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September 16, 2012 9:34:41 PM

selayan said:
Well I always reccomend an aftermarket cooled card since it will stay cooler and run usually quieter. If coil whine concerns you, the whining squeeling noise of some of these newer gen cards, then look at the Asus DCII or PowerCooler PCS+ Vortex 2 7970, Saphire 7970 Ghz Vapor X.

Gigabyte is pretty good, Asus is alright too. For Amd I would pick either Saphire, MSI Lightning if price does not concern you. XFX also has good warranty too but your choice is less limited if coil whine does not bother you.


I see. Any particular cards better for overclocking? Here are the two that i'm currently looking at -

PowerColor PCS+ AX7970 3GBD5-2DHPPV Radeon HD 7970
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GV-R797TO-3GD Radeon HD 7970
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any thoughts please let me know. Thanks!
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September 16, 2012 9:52:24 PM

BigMack70 said:
Crossfire is a nightmare. Stick to single card - a single 7970 is a great option.

This is the best 7970 right now:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Same price as the ones you listed, but it has a better cooler and a better chance at a huge overclock since it's a GHz edition chip.


It shows the card to be out of stock. I'm trying to find the same card on other websites, but to no avail. Do you know where I can purchase in the US?
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September 16, 2012 11:24:40 PM

Well for 7970's...
- XFX black edition is a great card but voltage locked on the current 3.1 versions so I sold it off as it irritated me they did that without notice. And to voltage lock a card AND call it a black edition is just bean counter stupid. Not a bad overclocker but will not pass much over 1100 on the GPU. Ram was outstanding at 1700 rock stable to note.
- XFX ghz editions are actually SICK. Many reporting 1300/1700 overclocks with the new version of the tahiti. Absolutely beautiful card - work of art compared to the others but runs noticeably warmer as did the xfx black edition vs the gigabyte(s) I had.
- I personally would stay away from the gigabyte GV-R797OC-3GD & GV-R797TO-3GD. First one was bad out of the box (OC version) - fans reported like 49,999 RPM and card ran for a whopping 30 minutes and would not render. Received a replacement and after a day and a half, it started to artifact. Both with zero overclock so I think they may have another issue. Both were new PCB designs / rev 2 that was just released. I did take a look and the rev 2.0's are voltage locked as well but did not dig any further since they died so quickly and without merit.
- Sapphire 7970 vapor x editions are pretty sick. Highly recommended and have seen some great numbers (speaking from reading only and high owner praise - have not owned) The heatsink cover looks like a cheap toy to me. UGLY IMO but again that is just my opinion. They do have it where it counts!
- MSI lightnings hold most all the record spots but never tried one out. Generally I read owners are very happy.

In the end, I went with an XFX ghz edition since it is not voltage locked, visually and performance wise it is outstanding. Can sound like a dust buster lol Have not bothered with overclocking yet as I have not had time but will get to it this week. From what others report, I expect a minimum of 1200/1700 but will see.

Best of luck!!! And per your question, single 7970 all the way!!!
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a b U Graphics card
September 17, 2012 12:24:49 AM

garage1217 said:
Well for 7970's...
- XFX black edition is a great card but voltage locked on the current 3.1 versions so I sold it off as it irritated me they did that without notice. And to voltage lock a card AND call it a black edition is just bean counter stupid. Not a bad overclocker but will not pass much over 1100 on the GPU. Ram was outstanding at 1700 rock stable to note.
- XFX ghz editions are actually SICK. Many reporting 1300/1700 overclocks with the new version of the tahiti. Absolutely beautiful card - work of art compared to the others but runs noticeably warmer as did the xfx black edition vs the gigabyte(s) I had.
- I personally would stay away from the gigabyte GV-R797OC-3GD & GV-R797TO-3GD. First one was bad out of the box (OC version) - fans reported like 49,999 RPM and card ran for a whopping 30 minutes and would not render. Received a replacement and after a day and a half, it started to artifact. Both with zero overclock so I think they may have another issue. Both were new PCB designs / rev 2 that was just released. I did take a look and the rev 2.0's are voltage locked as well but did not dig any further since they died so quickly and without merit.
- Sapphire 7970 vapor x editions are pretty sick. Highly recommended and have seen some great numbers (speaking from reading only and high owner praise - have not owned) The heatsink cover looks like a cheap toy to me. UGLY IMO but again that is just my opinion. They do have it where it counts!
- MSI lightnings hold most all the record spots but never tried one out. Generally I read owners are very happy.

In the end, I went with an XFX ghz edition since it is not voltage locked, visually and performance wise it is outstanding. Can sound like a dust buster lol Have not bothered with overclocking yet as I have not had time but will get to it this week. From what others report, I expect a minimum of 1200/1700 but will see.

Best of luck!!! And per your question, single 7970 all the way!!!


Did you have coil whine with teh xfx Ghz edition?

The Saphire Ghz 7970 is the best one, its really a well known card. Many users like them a lot. Has boost button so you can press that and it will automatically boost the clock to 1050. It's also a great overclocker and known to stay pretty decent at temps.

Its out of stock right now but it should be back in tomorrow or so. I checked superbizz too and it was out there as well. I'm hoping that the price drops on it sometime soon as I heard Amd may drop them on the 7970 series.

I've heard good and bad reviews of the Gigabyte. Personally, saphire is pretty much equivalent in quality to evga.
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September 17, 2012 12:37:49 AM

garage1217 said:
Well for 7970's...
- XFX black edition is a great card but voltage locked on the current 3.1 versions so I sold it off as it irritated me they did that without notice. And to voltage lock a card AND call it a black edition is just bean counter stupid. Not a bad overclocker but will not pass much over 1100 on the GPU. Ram was outstanding at 1700 rock stable to note.
- XFX ghz editions are actually SICK. Many reporting 1300/1700 overclocks with the new version of the tahiti. Absolutely beautiful card - work of art compared to the others but runs noticeably warmer as did the xfx black edition vs the gigabyte(s) I had.
- I personally would stay away from the gigabyte GV-R797OC-3GD & GV-R797TO-3GD. First one was bad out of the box (OC version) - fans reported like 49,999 RPM and card ran for a whopping 30 minutes and would not render. Received a replacement and after a day and a half, it started to artifact. Both with zero overclock so I think they may have another issue. Both were new PCB designs / rev 2 that was just released. I did take a look and the rev 2.0's are voltage locked as well but did not dig any further since they died so quickly and without merit.
- Sapphire 7970 vapor x editions are pretty sick. Highly recommended and have seen some great numbers (speaking from reading only and high owner praise - have not owned) The heatsink cover looks like a cheap toy to me. UGLY IMO but again that is just my opinion. They do have it where it counts!
- MSI lightnings hold most all the record spots but never tried one out. Generally I read owners are very happy.

In the end, I went with an XFX ghz edition since it is not voltage locked, visually and performance wise it is outstanding. Can sound like a dust buster lol Have not bothered with overclocking yet as I have not had time but will get to it this week. From what others report, I expect a minimum of 1200/1700 but will see.

Best of luck!!! And per your question, single 7970 all the way!!!


Wow, thanks for your reply, you've pretty much addressed all my questions! I've definitely come to the conclusion that I will purchase a single HD 7970, especially since I don't want to upgrade my 620w PSU yet. Now i'm trying to decide which HD 7970 to purchse, I've narrowed it down to these -

MSI R7970 Lightning Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX Double D FX797GTDFC Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB 384-bit GDDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7970 OC 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I definitely don't want to spend $600 on the Vapor X. I wish I could :??: 

I put the Sapphire Radeon in there because I'm considering the difference between the 3 cards. The MSI and XFX are $70 more expensive, and the specs are pretty close. I'm just wondering how different will the architectures be between the 3 cards, and if the extra $70 is definitely worth it over the Sapphire Radeon. Thoughts?

Thanks!!!
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September 17, 2012 12:43:28 AM

selayan said:
Did you have coil whine with teh xfx Ghz edition?

The Saphire Ghz 7970 is the best one, its really a well known card. Many users like them a lot. Has boost button so you can press that and it will automatically boost the clock to 1050. It's also a great overclocker and known to stay pretty decent at temps.

Its out of stock right now but it should be back in tomorrow or so. I checked superbizz too and it was out there as well. I'm hoping that the price drops on it sometime soon as I heard Amd may drop them on the 7970 series.

I've heard good and bad reviews of the Gigabyte. Personally, saphire is pretty much equivalent in quality to evga.


This one is in stock on newegg -

SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100351-6GVXSR Radeon HD 7970
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quite expensive, I don't know what the differences are between this one and the $469 out of stock Vapor-x. Thoughts?
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a b U Graphics card
September 17, 2012 12:45:03 AM

Look out for the Ghz 3GB edition 7970 from Saphire. The Lightning is a lot for $499. Not much a difference between that and the Ghz Saphire. But if you had to order now and not wait to see if the other one comes in stock, then I would go with the XFX Ghz.

Yeh the $600 dollar one is 6gb no need.
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September 17, 2012 1:07:52 AM

BigMack70 said:
The Sapphire card at $380 really is an amazing deal. The best card of those 3 is probably the Lightning, but I don't know that it's worth $100 more than the Sapphire.

I'd get the Sapphire and save the extra cash if you can't wait for the Sapphire Vapor-X Ghz edition to come back in stock (should take 1-3 days or so).


You're talking about this one right?

SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100351VXSR Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It looks really good. Does it beat out the MSI and XFX that I listed above? I'm comfortable spending $470 on a new GPU, so at that price point it's going to be between the three. Any thoughts? As I'm sure all PC gamers go, I have a problem with instant gratification :bounce: 

Are you sure that the Sapphire Vapor-X GHz edition will come back in stock soon? I'll do more research on the Sapphire Vapor-X GHz edition. If it is better, then I GUESS i'll wait for it to come back in stock :o 

Thoughts? Thanks!!!!
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September 17, 2012 2:16:52 AM

BigMack70 said:
The reason I'm not a huge fan of the XFX card is that it doesn't have good cooling on the VRMs and memory chips (most of the cards don't). It's not that it's a bad card, it's that I don't think it's worth $440 when there's a card that has good VRM + memory cooling at $10 more (the Sapphire)

The Sapphire is nice because it's one of the few that actually DOES have good PCB cooling as well as good cooling on the chip itself (don't know if it's as good as the lightning at that or not).

The Lightning is a very good card, I just don't think it is worth $470 when the Sapphire Vapor-X GHz edition card is sitting at $450 and is at least as good if not a bit better.

I've kept an eye on 7970 prices and the Sapphire Vapor-X GHz 7970 has sold out a bunch of times at $450 and typically comes back in stock quickly. Can't remember it being absent any longer than 3-4 days.


Ok, so basically the 7970 Ghz edition is definitely worth the extra $70 over the 7970, and 7970 Ghz edition is better than the XFX and MIS versions of the 7970. I'm pretty much sold on the 7970 Ghz edition now, I already put auto-notify on newegg to let me know when it's back in stock. I can't wait!!!! Would there be any other reputable sites that sell computer components? I love newegg, i've bought every single computer compenent from their website. Haha, here goes my instant gratification kicking in, just wondering if there is another website that has the 7970 Ghz edition in stock so I can order it already. Thanks for all your help!
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September 17, 2012 2:50:07 AM

BigMack70 said:
Nothing can match newegg for GPU prices in the USA. There's other reputable places but it's rare that they can match neweggs price on graphics cards.


Ah I see. My case is a mid size, the 7970 Ghz edition will fit right? It's the antec gaming one illusion case.

I'm also wondering if my CPU will create a bottleneck for the HD 7970 GHz edition? I have an i5-3570k. Thoughts?
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a b U Graphics card
September 17, 2012 3:06:04 AM

No bottleneck at all, that is one of the newer cpu's out right now. I don't see why it would be a bottleneck. I have a core i5 2500k and that was all that was recommended for games. Yours is newer than mine so its fine. I need to do the auto notify too so I'll get on that.

It was out of stock starting friday, then I saw one in stock Saturday and then a few hours later it was out again.
Edit: The card in an uboxing review measures 285mm x 135 which is actually 11.28 inches.
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September 17, 2012 3:13:24 AM

selayan said:
No bottleneck at all, that is one of the newer cpu's out right now. I don't see why it would be a bottleneck. I have a core i5 2500k and that was all that was recommended for games. Yours is newer than mine so its fine. I need to do the auto notify too so I'll get on that.

It was out of stock starting friday, then I saw one in stock Saturday and then a few hours later it was out again.
Edit: The card in an uboxing review measures 285mm x 135 which is actually 11.28 inches.


Thanks! Where did find that review? Does it show height as well? I know the card will fit lengthwise in my case, It's the height of it that concerns me. Thanks!!!
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September 17, 2012 3:17:12 AM

BigMack70 said:
The 3570k is pretty much the best gaming CPU out there, so nope you're not going to bottleneck anything.

Can't comment unfortunately on if it will fit as I can't find the dimensions of the card or how much clearance the case has right now and I'm too lazy to go hunting on Google.



No problem, I really appreciate all your help and input, you've really cleared a lot of things up for me. Maybe i'm just looking in the wrong places, but I can't find the specific measurements for the Sapphire 7970 GHz edition anywhere. I can find dimensions for every other 7970, even the sapphire vapor-x but not the 7970 GHz edition. This is worrying now, as I don't want to order the GPU and then come to find out it wont fit in my case...
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September 17, 2012 3:38:39 AM

Best answer selected by Mixolydian.
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December 23, 2012 6:27:43 PM

BigMack70 said:
Nothing can match newegg for GPU prices in the USA. There's other reputable places but it's rare that they can match neweggs price on graphics cards.


I have found better deals on tigerdirect.com many times over newegg. I shop both but I buy from the cheapest and the one with free shipping.
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