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Help me choose: 660 (non ti) vs. 7870

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November 6, 2012 7:30:17 AM

Hi all,

I am new to this forum, and I am sure this question has been asked many times, but here we go anyway.

But either tonight or tomorrow I am looking to purchase a new GPU for my system. Right now my specs are:

i5 2500k
TZ77B Biostar motherboard
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB DDR3 1600
650watt Rosewill 80+ certified power supply
A single 1920x1080 21" monitor.
Windows 7/ Linux dual boot

I am running off of the intel HD3000 integrated graphics, and while this is OK for simple desktop web browsing and low end gaming. I want something better.

My two choices are as followed:

ASUS Radeon HD 7870 1.0GHZ 2GB 4.8GHZ GDDR5

and the

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 OC 1033MHZ 2GB 6.0GHZ GDDR5

Both cards are about the same price with the 660 being $10.00 cheaper. The both come to about 230-240 dollars Canadian. This is with the 12% provincial sales tax and shipping/ insurance charges and after 20 dollar mail in rebates (Both cards have 20$ rebates.). My budget limit is about $270.00 dollars Canadian.

This here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

Suggests that they are both good buys for this price, but the 7870 may run better at higher resolutions, but the 660 has PhysX and have generally better driver support. Also, I generally do a lot of dual booting in Linux, so the NVidia Linux drivers look more appealing. But I do generally boot into windows 7 to play games anyway.

My Nvidia fanboy sensibilities make me almost want to go with the 660, but with the reports of the latest 12.11 drivers getting almost 10% better performance in most games on the 7870 and the current never settle bundle, it is hard to ignore the 7870.


What do you guys think? Should I just flip a coin and pick one. What would some of you recommend.

Thanks.

More about : choose 660 7870

November 6, 2012 10:52:16 AM

Sorry about the bump. But maybe I should flip a coin on this one. :D 

Though my motherboard does support crossfire (but not SLi for some reason), si I could get a 7870 and double dip on a second one later. But ehh... I really just want a decent mid-ranged graphics card that can get me nice performance on most of the current generation games (XCom, Borderlands 2, battlefield 3, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Dead Island and etc...)
Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
November 6, 2012 11:17:54 AM

i am in the same debate myself, the biggest difference to me is the memory bandwidth.

i ought to hold out for cyrsis3 and see which is better; that might be an indication of which one will perform better over the course of time since it will be a year or so before i upgrade.
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November 6, 2012 11:28:34 AM

Anonymous said:
i am in the same debate myself, the biggest difference to me is the memory bandwidth.

i ought to hold out for cyrsis3 and see which is better; that might be an indication of which one will perform better over the course of time since it will be a year or so before i upgrade.


Well in my case, the 660 is $199.99 Canadian after rebate, and the 7870 is $209.99 CND after rebate with a free game. I want to jump in now while the prices are still good. I don't really want to wait next year and continue playing games on an intel HD3000, so this is a bit of a tough choice for me. The 660ti is a bit out of my price range and it doesn't seem worth forking out the extra money for something that has a minimal performance increase. I am a little weary on buying another ATI/AMD card after my previous issues with one. but I really do hear good things about the 7000 series from a few friends who own them, so a 7870 might end up surprising me.

The Gigabyte GTX 660 OC seems like a safe bet, but the lower memory bandwidth makes it seem a bit limited at higher AA/ resolution settings.
November 6, 2012 11:29:39 AM

Get the 7870 you can get Far Cry 3 for free with your purchase also new AMD drivers will def give you the edge over 660.

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
November 6, 2012 11:54:29 AM
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williamjuly2003 said:
Get the 7870 you can get Far Cry 3 for free with your purchase also new AMD drivers will def give you the edge over 660.

Maybe.

Techreport found that the GTX 660 gives a much smoother experience than the HD 7870 - even though the average framerate may not be quite as high, the minimum framerate and smoothness matched the HD 7950 in games.

I'd go for the GTX 660 - also gives you access to Nvidia's great drivers, FXAA and SSAO injectors, TXAA support, Adaptive Vsync, and PhysX.
a b U Graphics card
November 6, 2012 12:03:04 PM

If it was me, I'd definitely go for the 7870, you just get more performance for the price. You also now get one or 2 games with it to sweeten the deal. I am not a fanboy of anything and I've been using Nvidia for the last 4-5 years and just recently switched to AMD (2 7950s) and am not regretting it. It takes a little time to get used to the CCC but it does the job just fine.
November 6, 2012 12:50:17 PM

jessterman21 said:
Maybe.

Techreport found that the GTX 660 gives a much smoother experience than the HD 7870 - even though the average framerate may not be quite as high, the minimum framerate and smoothness matched the HD 7950 in games.

I'd go for the GTX 660 - also gives you access to Nvidia's great drivers, FXAA and SSAO injectors, TXAA support, Adaptive Vsync, and PhysX.



It almost seems like trying to pick between a car that has slightly more horsepower under the hood and gets a higher top speed, over a car that has a smoother ride and has a bit more luxurious features. The 660 also does have a lower idle/ power and runs cooler, which is nice. But the 7870 does counter that with zero core when your monitor is in sleep mode. Maybe I am just splitting hairs, but after comparing these two cards more thoroughly , it appears that both will end up being good purchases for their respective prices.

rene13cross said:
If it was me, I'd definitely go for the 7870, you just get more performance for the price. You also now get one or 2 games with it to sweeten the deal. I am not a fanboy of anything and I've been using Nvidia for the last 4-5 years and just recently switched to AMD (2 7950s) and am not regretting it. It takes a little time to get used to the CCC but it does the job just fine.


The bundle deal comes with Far Cry 3 and a 20% off for some MOH game. I am not exactly a fan of Far Cry 2, but you never know part three could be better. But, I would probably trade off the FC3 voucher on some web forum or sell it for money and get a different game with it. The possibility of Crossfire does interest me though.

I still haven't come any closer to my discussion. But I am sure I will decide on something :lol: 

Thanks for the replies though. Good to get some insight.
a b U Graphics card
November 6, 2012 12:55:08 PM

Mister-K81 said:

The bundle deal comes with Far Cry 3 and a 20% off for some MOH game. I am not exactly a fan of Far Cry 2, but you never know part three could be better. But, I would probably trade off the FC3 voucher on some web forum or sell it for money and get a different game with it.

I still haven't come any closer to my discussion. But I am sure I will decide on something :lol: 


I would do the same, probably wouldn't play that game either.

Looks like you'll just have to do an eenie miney moe :p 
a b U Graphics card
November 6, 2012 1:01:21 PM

Mister-K81 said:
It almost seems like trying to pick between a car that has slightly more horsepower under the hood and gets a higher top speed, over a car that has a smoother ride and has a bit more luxurious features. The 660 also does have a lower idle/ power and runs cooler, which is nice. But the 7870 does counter that with zero core when your monitor is in sleep mode. Maybe I am just splitting hairs, but after comparing these two cards more thoroughly , it appears that both will end up being good purchases for their respective prices.

Exactly - like choosing between a Viper or an Audi R8. You'll get a great gaming experience out of both, but for my part, I'd rather have the one with more features and refinement.
November 6, 2012 1:13:14 PM

I would go for the 7870.

I have 2x 6xxx AMD card's and love it.

I don't think you will be disappointed with the 7000 cards
November 6, 2012 1:20:07 PM

I would go for the 7870 as well between those two options..
November 6, 2012 1:26:34 PM

Yeah. nVidia wins this one. I think the same as K81... Wait till Crysis 3. Or if you're gonna overclock I suggest the 7870. Good luck!
a b U Graphics card
November 6, 2012 3:47:41 PM

If you don't mind spending a little more the 7870 is a great card, especially when you factor in overclocking. That being said, I would say GTX 660. I have the Gigabyte one that you are considering and it is a great card. The battle is really close when I was doing research between the two. I just enjoy the fact that I don't need a displayport adapter to use 3 monitors and have had smoother experiences with Nvidia drivers. Cheers.
November 6, 2012 11:56:28 PM

ohyouknow said:
If you don't mind spending a little more the 7870 is a great card, especially when you factor in overclocking. That being said, I would say GTX 660. I have the Gigabyte one that you are considering and it is a great card. The battle is really close when I was doing research between the two. I just enjoy the fact that I don't need a displayport adapter to use 3 monitors and have had smoother experiences with Nvidia drivers. Cheers.


Even though I am running a K series Intel processor and a Z77 motherboard, I haven't actually tried to overclock it yet. I don't have any experience in overclocking, so I am a little worried to try. Even though it is generally known that the 2500k can overclock on air up to 4.5ghz, I would have to do a little research first at how to do it. I also think I would need to swap my stock cooler for an after market one just to play it safe.

But I probably wouldn't overclock the 7870 right off the bat, but it would probably be something I would experiment with later.

I found a few videos on youtube comparing these two cards side by side:

Crysis 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BroW431o8RU

Battlefield 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVEoGa69TUI

In Battlefield 3 the performance is so close that it hurts. In Crysis 2, the 660 dips in a few spots while the 7870 stays more consistent. But both are still pretty close though overall. Though these videos lack additional details like driver versions, resolution/ AA settings and if these are OC/ GHz editions cards or not. So it is hard to say. The 660 OC gets about 6-8% better performance than the stock 660 model, and I would imagine the performance gain is about the same for the 7870 GHz edition over the stock 7870.

But I am almost leaning towards the 660 for cushier drivers. Even though I am a bit on the fence for the 7870 just because it has "more power" and more have suggested it in this thread.

Thanks for the replies again.
Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
November 7, 2012 12:12:53 AM

seriously, avoid basing a decision based on youtube videos for the reasons you stated with the soecs not being posted but also the transcoding of the video can throw off the actual experience.

that techreports that is linked was/is a good review . .now if i can wrap my head around that 99th percentile frame time :pt1cable: 

btw, as far as a 7870, i am looking at the hawk . . .
November 7, 2012 12:29:26 AM

Anonymous said:
seriously, avoid basing a decision based on youtube videos for the reasons you stated with the soecs not being posted but also the transcoding of the video can throw off the actual experience.

that techreports that is linked was/is a good review . .now if i can wrap my head around that 99th percentile frame time :pt1cable: 

btw, as far as a 7870, i am looking at the hawk . . .



yeah, I know what you're saying. I would never use that as my final decision either. But it does still give a good rough estimation on what the performance differences would be like for both cards. Both videos do graph the FPS performance which still helps a bit.

The Techreports review does seem to be the most thorough review I have come across though. The MSI Hawks look nice BTW, there is even 660 Hawk model that almost hits 660ti speeds. But they are both out of my price range, sadly... and I haven't actually seen a 660 hawk available anywhere even though reviews exist for it :heink:  . The 7870 Hawk is 50 dollars out of my price range. Looks like a nice card though. Those MSI coolers look so nice.
November 8, 2012 6:46:10 PM

Should be noted that there are issues with 7000 series drivers in some peoples systems and much more prevalent in the 7800s. Nobody knows what causes it or if/when it'll be fixed though there are some workarounds. I'm having other issues with my pc atm so I can't say that I'm not one of them but when my 7850 has been running I've been really impressed with it and it has a lot of overclocking potential, some people getting 40-50% increases in core clock speeds.
November 10, 2012 12:05:55 PM

Headbomb said:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/548?vs=660
this could help.

I would get an OC edition Gigabyte 7870. Faster, 240$, 4 free games with purchase, runs cooler.

Cheers


The 7870 only comes with one free game and a 20% off coupon for another. The only way to get the 4 free game deal is if you but two 7870 cards or purchase a 7970 (I think?) Those benchmarks are OK, but they don't take into account the latest driver into account, which can make a difference. Plus the 660 I was looking at is an OC'd version.

But anyway, it was a tough call. Even though the 7870 was the popular choice here I ended up buying the 660, anyway. I may end up regretting it later on down the road when I want a little more performance. But I bought the 660 because generally draws less power than the 7870 and this card stays rather chilly in my system. I also dual boot a lot with Linux as well, and right now Nvidia still has the better Linux support, so that was a selling point for me too. :p 

But anyway, after only two days of waiting, my GPU did arrive and I have it running in my PC now....

Couple photos I took:

Unboxing: http://i.imgur.com/gyIgQ.jpg
Running in my system: http://i.imgur.com/Xj4Gh.jpg

My cable management is a bit of a mess right now, sadly I don't have a modular PSU as you all can see... But so far so good. The system idles at about 30-35 closed case when running, and in games I haven't seen it climb past 60 yet. fans are pretty silent as well. But all in all it is a big leap over the Intel integrated graphics chip I was using before.

So far I am pretty happy with the performance I am getting in all games. I've tested Deus EX Human Revolution with all settings maxed out at 1080 resolution and it plays rather smoothly, Alan Wake is actually playable now with all settings maxed out. When I was running the intel graphics chip the framerate was terrible and the game suffered from weird black textures. GTA IV can be maxed out really easily on this system too and I also tested Dead Island as well, which looks great.

So far I am pretty happy with my purchase, even though it doesn't quite get the same performance as the 7870.

Thanks for the responses guys.
Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
November 10, 2012 1:17:14 PM

as long as you're happy with your purchase.

cheers.
!