I am planning on building a new computer for gamming and the choice of GPUs has been giving me the most trouble. With the close performances of the 7870, the 660 ti, and the 7950, it is very hard to choose. I decided to go with the 660 ti because the 7870 usually has a slightly inferior performance to it and the 7950, although a better card, is just too expensive. I found these 2: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
for both cheap prices and don't know which one I should go with, if I even decide on one of these. The low price is also concerning because I know the good 660 ti's usually go for more.
When I look into its performance I will come back to this thread and comment on whether I am satisfied with it or not. Personally, being in for the same market segment as you, I too found it hard to decide which card to get. What got me over to the red team is the 3x game bundle, price, overclocked performance reaching GTX 670/680, the great cooling solution from Gigabyte on this one, better AA and hi-res performance for the future and this being a really well engineered card architecturally. I'd say more moolah for this card is worth it, but I can say more after I get it tomorrow. Noise & heat & power consumption will be similar, albeit slightly better on the 660Ti.
Go for which ever you find suits your needs best. If you play PhysX games and Battlefield 3 a lot, any nVidia card will be better. Out of those two, I'd say that the PNY one looks great and very inexpensive for its performance. Perhaps there is some hidden flaw with it but I'm not seeing it. Bear in mind that Borderlands 2 comes with the 660Ti, while with the HD 7950 you get Far Cry 3, Sleeping Dogs and Hitman: Absolution. If you overclock, the HD 7950 is a beast.
Thanks for the replies! I keep seeing 7950s and such on ebay and find out on newegg that they are discontinued cards. How do these compare to today's cards? If I can get them at a lower price than today's is it worth it?
I am not quite sure I understood you, but 7xx0s are far from being discontinued. They are the same generation as the GTX 6xx series from nVidia, and the new generation cards are coming out in the first months of 2013. That being said, it will be at least another year until they are completely discontinued. Heck, you can even find 5xxx and 6xxx series cards on Newegg, no hassle. The 7xx0 series ARE today's cards.
If there is a discontinued 7950 card it is probably an old revision. There are simply too many models of this card, Boost/without boost, some of them have 8/6 power connectors and 7970 reference boards while others have 6/6 pin power connectors and are based on a unique 7950 PCB design. Considering the fact that these are not really brand new cards, I guess they are filtering out the bad stuff and bad models, perhaps some early ones for which they used low-quality capacitors, you can never now.
That said, if you can find a reasonably priced 7950, if you overclock it you can basically have the highest performing single-GPU card on the market for now. If you get the 660Ti, the OC potential is not so great, but it is an excellent little card which can kick a 7950's ass in certain games which are well optimized for nVidia and its specific features. It comes down to your preferences, as I had previously stated:
1) Resolution - >1920x1080 - GTX 660Ti, <1920x1080 - HD 7950
2) Anti Aliasing - >4 - GTX 660Ti, <4 - HD 7950
3) Compute and raw performance - HD 7950
4) Physx & CUDA - GTX 660Ti
5) Overclocking - HD 7950
The HD 7950 is a beast of a card and its 3GB of VRAM will enable you to play on super high resolutions, also future-proofing you and being able to handle newer games better because of its 384-bit memory bus (huge!). The GTX 660Ti is also a beast with very bogged down technical characteristics but with great real-world and gaming performance.
Just picked up a GTX 660Ti to replace two Radeon HD 6950 in Crossfire. I am a fan of AMD, but nVidia drivers are definitely more refined. Micro-stuttering (among other things) on the Crossfire setup was driving me nuts. With all the downsizing going on at AMD, I cannot imagine their drivers getting that much better compared to nVidia.