USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Video editing (64 bit After Effects and Premiere); Gaming (Skyrim, the next thing I buy on Steam)
CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: 460GTX, 700W PSU
OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: i7 (ordered this through Microcenter and I can't seem to pull up that info at the moment [out of town so not at my computer anytime soon]. It's a first or second generation i7), 12 GB ram, ASUS P6X58D-E LGA Motherboard
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg, tigerdirect, amazon, your recommendations
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US
PARTS PREFERENCE: Not really - I've had an nVidia 460gtx for the last 2 years so I'm interested in trying the AMD 79XX cards out for a new experience.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 2 at 1920x1080
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: With the assumption that there will be giant sales on video cards at newegg and tigerdirect leading up to New Years (I think they normally have blow-out type sales around this time...), I plan on finally updating my 2.5 year old graphics card.
The "full time" use of the card will be gaming, but it's more important that the card handle video editing at a high performance level. I'd like to spend ~$300 but I'm willing to go up to $400 if the bang for the buck value is there. I've been looking at the 79XX series as my most likely card, so would I see a huge performance difference between the 7950 and the 7970? Is there a better nVidia option out there at a comparable price? For what it's worth, I use the dual monitors only when video editing.
You might want to visit your software support pages and see if those cards are even supported. Those cards can scream with opengl processing but you might need to upgrade your adobe products to see any benefit.
What I'm getting from that post is the 7950/7970 is the way to go. (If anyone has any different opinions/resources I'd love to hear those too.) If staying with 79XX, would a 7950 over clocked to 7970 speeds need any special cooling requirements? If so, would I just be better off getting a 7970 to begin with? Another site I read earlier today mentioned they have nearly the same processing power but the 7950 is obviously cheaper.
If video editing is your top most priority then you need a good processor and ram speeds (not amount of ram) as long a games such as Skyrim is concerned HD 7950 will be the best for you. (yes 7950 $320 is a better option than 7970 $420 if price is taken under consideration)
Your i7 is a first generation processor.