As the title says, I'm having doubts between the MSI Lightning 6970 and a 7850.
If anyone knows if the prices of the 660 or 7870 would drop for a little bit anywhere soon, they would become an option too.
The 6970 Lightning is the most cheap and has a higher standard speed than the 7850, but the 7850 is newer and it's known for its crazy OC capabilities, so I'm kinda in a dilemma here. I hoped some of you could help me picking one.
It depends on if you're going to actually overclock.
First though what PSU do you have as the 6970 will perform similar to the 7850 but will use more power (and quite a bit more).
The 7870 was for quite a while being sold for $200 after rebate (if you don't live in the US I apologize but I don't know the foreign prices). So don't expect to find them for a lower price unless NVidia lowers their GPU a significant amount.
So it comes down to two main things, do you have to upgrade the PSU and if so do you have to upgrade it for both the 7850 and the 6970 or just the 6970. With that what is the price difference between the 6970 you're talking about compared to a 7850 (1 or 2 GB). If you have to upgrade the PSU for both the 6970 could cost you more in the end as the PSU it needs costs more.
If its a straight choice between a 6970 and 7850 i would say get the 7850. Theyre getting cheaper but we all know this game where "Im thinking about this card, but for $30 bucks more I can get a better one, and for $25 more than that I can get an even etc etc etc..."
How much are you looking at for a GTX660? There's no noticeable difference in performance between it and the 7870 unless you're using v-sync, in which case the GTX660's adaptive v-sync makes it a lot smoother and more responsive.
the 660 cards start at € 230. But the 7870 and the 660 are a tiny bit out of my budget, so unless the 7870 drops in price (nvidia never drops prices apparently so I won't bother waiting for the 660) anywhere soon, the choice lies between the 7850 and the 6970 Lightning. I read some feedback about the 6970 Lightning and it appears to have quite a few problems running Skyrim on some PC's. The feedback, however, is quite dated so maybe new drivers fixed that problem. What do you guys think? Has anyone experience with the 6970 Lightning (or the 6970 at all).
Well nVidia often drop their prices, they just wait until AMD forces them to :-) Difference is, AMD undercuts nVidia in the first place (usually) and then nVidia responds with their own price cuts. This current generation actually nVidia forced AMD to drop prices on their 7900 cards because nVidia's 2nd top model was faster than AMD's top model (they're near enough the same now though after driver updates on both sides).
As for the 6970, it really is pretty much identical to the 7850 speed-wise. But as andrewcarr points out, it'll use a lot more power. I didn't used to care about power consumption (figured it surely can't add up to that much per year!) but I did the math on it, and moving from a 130 watt CPU to a 77 watt would save me close to £40 a year. Performance graphics cards use more power than the CPUs I was looking at, so the difference in cost would add up. Other than that though, I can't think of a reason to spend more on a 7850 over a 6970.
But they say that a 7850 can be OC'ed like crazy? Is that difficult and what are the main conditions for OC'ing? When it isn't too difficult, and if it doesn't shorten the lifespan too much, I would prefer the 7850. Because I'm planning on playing with my GPU for at least 2-3 years and the €50 of power consumption less would make a better deal than the 6970. Another thing to think about: the 6970 Lightning is the OC version of MSI and has a higher base clock speed than a regular 6970: 940 Mhz.
When you take all these things into account, which card would be the most beneficial and future-proof?
Thanks for the response btw, it's really appreciated!
Ok, the 7850 is clearly a winner when you OC it, but my greatest concern is the lifespan. If you OC the 7850, will it reduce the lifespan? Because, as I said before, I'd like to use my PC for at least 3 years.
Overclocking does indeed reduce the lifespan. It may be worth looking for a card with a long warranty. Overclocking also voids the warranty, though it's debatable as to whether they can actually prove a card has been overclocked when it's returned. Manufacturers say they can determine if it's been overclocked, but of course they would say that!
Will overclocking reduce the lifespan, YES it will
Your card will still last pretty long even after overclocking as long as you don't touch the voltage too much. 3 years with overclocking is possible an I would say you should only overclock if your card isn't delivering the performance you want from it.