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Dual 7950 or Single 7970?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 19, 2012 2:24:18 AM

I'm ordering the parts for a new gaming / XNA development computer on Thursday, and I have a little room left in my budget. Here's the current plan:

i7-3770K
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H
XFX FX-795A-TNBC Radeon HD 7950 Black 3GB
CORSAIR DOMINATOR 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 1600
CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850

Plus the other stuff (Antec Twelve Hundred, Corsair H80, 240GB Corsair SSD and 300GB WD VelociRaptor, LG Blu-Ray Burner).

I can sneak in a second XFX 7950 Black. I could upgrade to a single 7970. I just don't know which is better. Maybe neither is ultimately much benefit and not worth the price. Should I upgrade the motherboard, perhaps? One thing I don't want to do is make the thing really noisy (I don't expect it to be silent, of course).

Any advice is much appreciated.

EDIT: The games I will be playing in the next couple years range from Torchlight 2 to Borderlands 2 to Planetary Annihilation. Also, I do not intend to OC anything, unless it's really easy and reliable (I refuse to debug my hardware ;) )

More about : dual 7950 single 7970

a b U Graphics card
September 19, 2012 3:35:51 AM

Well obviously two 7950's are going to smash a 7970. But having one 7970 is going to do EVERYTHING you want without complaint.
If it were me, i would get the 7970 and upgrade later - if needed...
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September 19, 2012 4:13:55 AM

Much obliged for the response. Do you think this would be a good upgrade?
XFX Double D FX-797A-TDBC Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition 3GB

I'm not sure how much to pay attention to the reviews that cite defective units. Most/all cards have at least some of them. I realize that people who have problems are far, far more likely to post a review than those who have no problems. I just don't want to be one of the unhappy ones :) 
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a b U Graphics card
September 19, 2012 5:37:47 AM

Hell yeah that does! You'll be able to run every game max settings without a hiccup.
And if you overclock it, you'd be seeing results close to 590. :) 

That is, like you said, if the card is not defective. I wouldn't worry about that though, XFX is know for having the best video card warranties out there!
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September 19, 2012 5:38:10 AM

I am using a single 7970 and it runs everything without a hitch.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Been quite happy with the sapphire, its really very quiet, only times I have noticed the coil whine that people talk about is when I did the initial burn in torture tests and the heat was waaaaaay up.

They also have a 7970 GHz edition with the vapor-x cooler which is supposed be a little better, but the premium for the GHz edition is not really worth it, and I believe that you can flash the standard ones to the GHz bios if you want (they have dual bios so if it doesnt work, you have a backup bios, should be standard on all AMD cards now)

I did get a bad card first shot, but sapphire was very quick to handle it. They sent me the new one back the day after recieving the defective one.
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a b U Graphics card
September 19, 2012 6:02:23 AM

kendrose said:
I am using a single 7970 and it runs everything without a hitch.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Been quite happy with the sapphire, its really very quiet, only times I have noticed the coil whine that people talk about is when I did the initial burn in torture tests and the heat was waaaaaay up.

They also have a 7970 GHz edition with the vapor-x cooler which is supposed be a little better, but the premium for the GHz edition is not really worth it, and I believe that you can flash the standard ones to the GHz bios if you want (they have dual bios so if it doesnt work, you have a backup bios, should be standard on all AMD cards now)

I did get a bad card first shot, but sapphire was very quick to handle it. They sent me the new one back the day after recieving the defective one.


I wouldn't get the Ghz edition. IMO, you can overclock it to that amount without paying the extra $$
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September 19, 2012 1:20:48 PM

Djentleman said:
And if you overclock it, you'd be seeing results close to 590. :) 


Is 590 a really high benchmark value, or is it the model of another card? I'm assuming the former.

In any case, thanks to both of you for the replies. Very excited about ordering the new parts tomorrow :) 
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September 19, 2012 1:32:34 PM

Yeah the single 7970 is probably the way to go. If you're thinking of overclocking, avoid the XFX DD BE, though. Newer versions of that card are voltage locked.

Get the OC Sapphire and save some money... it should overclock just as well as most reference 7970s:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want one of the best quality 7970s, wait a couple days for the Sapphire Vapor-X GHz edition to come back in stock at $450:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b U Graphics card
September 19, 2012 1:43:40 PM

If you plan on going EyeFinity (Multiple Monitors) anytime in the future than go with the 2x 7950's in crossfire. If you plan on staying with a single monitor than a 7970 would be a better solution (since you dont want to overclock). The 7970 should keep you near max performance for most games for awhile and not have the issues that having 2 cards in crossfire can have.

If you do plan on going multi-monitor though, you want all the power you can get so 2 7950's would be a better option. Keep in mind even if you got 2 7950's you can always run them independently (crossfire disabled) until you needed the extra power.

As far as the ghz editions of the cards. If you dont want to manually overclock than they are good cards, but for anyone willing to spend 10 minutes reading about how to overclock and applying the necessary settings, they should easily be able to hit the same speed as the ghz editions on any voltage unlocked 7970. This in my opinion makes paying extra for the ghz editions not worth it. Personally I run my Sapphire 7950 at 1100/1450 with no problems at all.
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September 19, 2012 2:11:46 PM

Alright, I'm bumping it up $20 to the XFX 7970 Ghz Double D. It isn't voltage-locked, just in case I ever want to get silly and OC a little. I can't believe I'm buying a top-end GPU, after all these years of being frugal. Of course, this computer is my reward for being 100% debt-free :D 
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September 19, 2012 2:16:59 PM

I never spent more than $250 on a graphics card before I shelled out $1200 on a pair of 7970s a few months ago :o 
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a b U Graphics card
September 19, 2012 2:20:31 PM

I always said I would never go above $300 on a graphics card. It was easy to resist the temptation when the 7950's first came out at $450, but when they dropped to $399 I had to have one...and my reward was that 3 months later they are now $299. Knowing you spent $1200 on 2 7970's makes me feel a bit better though BigMack70 :-)
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September 19, 2012 2:22:06 PM

Heh... I got a $2800 tax return and used it to build my rig just for fun... an absolutely horrible value but I knew that when I built it; this was just a "for fun" build.

I only get to build a new PC every few years so I wanted this one to last (although I'll probably drop to a single card setup in a year or two... I'm sick of crossfire headaches).
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a b U Graphics card
September 19, 2012 2:35:32 PM

You're running 7970's, except for when running EyeFinity a single card should be able to handle everything. Just disable the second card and only activate for games where you know there is a benefit (and no headaches) from Crossfire. I had to do the same thing years back for my 4850's so I setup one crossfire profile and one normal one.
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September 19, 2012 2:46:47 PM

Oh, and just to be sure, am I good with the motherboard and PSU I've selected? No concerns there?
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September 19, 2012 4:25:18 PM

Djentleman said:
I wouldn't get the Ghz edition. IMO, you can overclock it to that amount without paying the extra $$


I agree, just putting out the options I have heard. My OC edition is running at 1100/1550 right now without issue, and thats well over the GHz bios.

I would really really recomend getting the sapphire that we have linked. Flip the bios switch to the OC profile and it runs stock at 1000/1450 (i may be off on the memory) and with 2 min in trixx you can set that to 1050/1500 on stock voltage and save yourself $70 (plus the rebate with the sapphire right now).
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a b U Graphics card
September 19, 2012 5:12:05 PM

pexor said:
Is 590 a really high benchmark value, or is it the model of another card? I'm assuming the former.

In any case, thanks to both of you for the replies. Very excited about ordering the new parts tomorrow :) 


It was the Nvidia's previous generation dual gpu card. Which is replaced with the 690 now, supposedly the fastest gpu on the planet! I think the military probably has something better.

If you look at 3dmark scores, a 7970 is only a few hundred points off. With a nice overclock, i'm pretty sure you'd surmount the 590. :bounce: 
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September 27, 2013 7:58:00 AM

Just bought my second 7950 gigabyte today. Both come with 3 free games which I am selling one of the 3 game voucher. Should make both cards a total of $375 with 3 free games.

Was that a good deal?
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