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N680GTX Lightning vs R7970 Lightning BE

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N680GTX Lightning or R7970 Lightning BE??

Total: 22 votes (5 blank votes)

  • N680GTX Lightning
  • 30 %
  • R7970 Lightning BE
  • 71 %
January 1, 2013 11:08:32 AM

G'day there!
I'm in quite a problem, I am not able to decide between the two cards, at all! I'm currently in the process of building a new PC, due to my ex-PC sparking up yesterday.

I'm looking for a card that has great performance for 1080p gaming, that wil be able to run all games at max settings with no stuttering at all and will also have great potential for overclocking!

I'm not sure if such specs of my new pc will be of any relevance to the choice of the card, but here goes:

i7 3770k
Asus P877-V-Deluxe
Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD
WD Black SATA3 1TB FAEX
16GB or 32GB KIT 24000 G.Skill Trident X
Antec HCG 900
N680GTX Lightning/R7970 Lightning BE

Feel free to also suggest different suggestions for my new build above too!

Thank you!
a b U Graphics card
January 1, 2013 11:20:11 AM

My vote goes to the 7970 since they are better priced, higher overclocking headroom (in case you need it since you're buying a lightning card) and more VRAM
January 1, 2013 11:23:00 AM

The 680 Lightning is a waste of money because it's voltage locked... Nvidia basically neutered it. If you're going to get a Lightning card, the 7970 is the better version.
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January 1, 2013 11:26:25 AM

GTX 680 all the way.But also 7970 is also decent..Just take your pick.None will disappoint you.Also keep in mind Crysis3 coming out in march will be a showcase nvidia game.So if you plans to play crysis3 you might consider which brand to pick..
January 1, 2013 11:32:05 AM

cooldudesubho said:
GTX 680 all the way.But also 7970 is also awesome.Just take your pick.None will disappoint you.Also keep in mind Crysis3 coming out in march will be a showcase nvidia game.So if you plans to play crysis3 you might consider which brand to pick.


680 vs 7970 in general isn't really relevant to OP's particular question of which Lightning to get. The Lightning is a card designed for overclocking, and Nvidia neutered 680 overclocking so all that beefy power circuitry on the 680 Lightning doesn't do anything and all MSI's goals of things like "triple overvoltage" are not there in practice.

Also, I have no idea what you're talking about with Crysis 3 being a "showcase nvidia game"... the alpha ran about the same on a 7970 as on a 680 and it's not a PhysX game...

If you want to go the 680 route, get something other than the Lightning and save your money. I'd recommend the ASUS Matrix or Sapphire Vapor-X Ghz edition 7970s over the Lightning at this point as well, but they're both out of stock.
January 1, 2013 11:34:08 AM

BigMack70 said:
680 vs 7970 in general isn't really relevant to OP's particular question of which Lightning to get. The Lightning is a card designed for overclocking, and Nvidia neutered 680 overclocking so all that beefy power circuitry on the 680 Lightning doesn't do anything and all MSI's goals of things like "triple overvoltage" are not there in practice.

Also, I have no idea what you're talking about with Crysis 3 being a "showcase nvidia game"... the alpha ran about the same on a 7970 as on a 680 and it's not a PhysX game...

If you want to go the 680 route, get something other than the Lightning and save your money. I'd recommend the ASUS Matrix or Sapphire Vapor-X Ghz edition 7970s over the Lightning at this point as well, but they're both out of stock.

Even BF3 is not an physx game and it ran like horse sh!it on ati card for 1 year.So your point genious?
a b U Graphics card
January 1, 2013 11:39:46 AM

cooldudesubho said:
Even BF3 was not an physx game and it ran like horse sh!it on ati card for 1 year.So your point genious?


AMD did fix the BF3 (or more specific Frosbite 2 engine) after the 12.11 drivers, performance is quite similar. In almost any games right now, the 7970 is just slightly slower if not the similar or even faster some times (makes sense since it's price lower too), and it can be faster than any 680 with some mild overclock (and lightning cards OC even better than average)
January 1, 2013 11:43:40 AM

EzioAs said:
AMD did fix the BF3 (or more specific Frosbite 2 engine) after the 12.11 drivers, performance is quite similar. In almost any games right now, the 7970 is just slightly slower if not the similar or even faster some times (makes sense since it's price lower too), and it can be faster than any 680 with some mild overclock (and lightning cards OC even better than average)

It took them 1 year to fix BF3 performance. That shows there creditibilty. Also C3 will come out when kepler V2 hits market.Its a nvidia game.It will run better on nviida card.Get over it.Just like hitman absolution and sleeping dogs which are AMD games and run better on AMD cards.
a b U Graphics card
January 1, 2013 11:55:40 AM

cooldudesubho said:
It took them 1 year to fix BF3 performance. That shows there creditibilty. Also C3 will come out when kepler V2 hits market.Its a nvidia game.It will run better on nviida card.Get over it.Just like hitman absolution and sleeping dogs which are AMD games and run better on AMD cards.


Even if Nvidia has the lead on crysis 3, the performance difference won't be too huge (an assumption since difference between flagship cards are always small). Also, remember that the 7970 Lightning is made for overclocking and the 7970 is already an OC beast. Those difference can be minimized or even removed entirely by a simple OC. Look at what BigMack70 posted before, 680 is pointless to overclock since Nvidia locked the voltage.

In this case, it's not entirely wrong to assume OP will be overclocking the card because he clearly state lightning cards. If OP is not into OC, then there's really no point in getting a Lightning card
January 1, 2013 11:59:55 AM

As if gtx 680 can't be OC at all.You can also reach easy 200mhz OC with gtx 680 without any voltage.
January 1, 2013 12:00:12 PM

cooldudesubho said:
It took them 1 year to fix BF3 performance. That shows there creditibilty. Also C3 will come out when kepler V2 hits market.Its a nvidia game.It will run better on nviida card.Get over it.Just like hitman absolution and sleeping dogs which are AMD games and run better on AMD cards.


For one thing, the 12.7 beta came out after 6 months, not a year. For another, AMD spent 3 months of the year with no competition. So, there were 3 months where AMD was getting embarrassed in BF3 by Nvidia's cards. And even that was sort of in name only and not really in terms of gameplay experience. It's not like AMD's performance was ever objectively bad, it was just bad relative to Nvidia's offerings.

I understand that this forum needs its token green troll, but you really should at least check your grammar and your facts before spewing your green koolaid everywhere. It might even lend some credibility to your posts if you did those two things...
January 1, 2013 12:02:52 PM

BigMack70 said:
For one thing, the 12.7 beta came out after 6 months, not a year. For another, AMD spent 3 months of the year with no competition. So, there were 3 months where AMD was getting embarrassed in BF3 by Nvidia's cards. And even that was sort of in name only and not really in terms of gameplay experience. It's not like AMD's performance was ever objectively bad, it was just bad relative to Nvidia's offerings.

I understand that this forum needs its token green troll, but you really should at least check your grammar and your facts before spewing your green koolaid everywhere. It might even lend some credibility to your posts if you did those two things...

English is not the native language of every person on earth.So buzz off grammar nazi.
a b U Graphics card
January 1, 2013 12:05:59 PM

Considered a 670? :D 
January 1, 2013 12:45:09 PM

Jesus! I did not expect so many replies! Thank you all for you're input!
Well regarding overclocking, I really want to overclock the cards as much as possible, to squeeze every little bit of juice out of it!

@BigMac70 By the way, what do you mean by nVidia locked the voltage on the gtx 680? I thought that these lightning cards allowed you to overclock to you're hearts content? If this is true, then I'm assuming the 7970 can presumably get better performance then the GTX 680 with greater overclocks due to the unlocked voltage?

@trumpeter1994
Nah mate, I spend high on a PC every 5-7 years, don't want to go below 680 :) 

Overall, I just want a card which is best for over clocking and will allow me to get the best performance, price of the card doesn't matter at all, because I only spend big once every 7 years on a new PC.

The one thing that worries me about ATI is of their drivers, I always seem to hear everyone saying that due to nVidia's more polished drivers, the GPU's seem to provide better frame rates and performance compared to ATI.
Not complaining against ATI though, I have a 5770 for 6+ years that has served me very well!

Thanks so much for all the help so far!
January 1, 2013 12:54:21 PM

ddavij said:
@BigMac70 By the way, what do you mean by nVidia locked the voltage on the gtx 680? I thought that these lightning cards allowed you to overclock to you're hearts content? If this is true, then I'm assuming the 7970 can presumably get better performance then the GTX 680 with greater overclocks due to the unlocked voltage?


MSI designed the 680 Lightning to be overvolted via software, and the initial run of those cards was able to do that and achieve some crazy OC results. However, Nvidia got their panties in a bunch about overvolting on all their 6xx cards and made MSI shut that down, so all cards since the initial run of 680 Lightnings have not been able to really be overvolted anymore.

The 680 still overclocks OK, but there's just no reason to spend the extra money on the Lightning 680 unless you just want a Lightning 680 card. Other 680s will overclock just as well.

The 7970 can technically get better performance than an overclocked 680 when overclocked, but it's really splitting hairs. For all intents and purposes, an overclocked 680 and an overclocked 7970 are the same in terms of performance.

The 7970 overclocks better than the 680, but a stock 7970 is also a bit slower than a stock 680 at 1080p. If you're into overclocking your GPU, though, the 7970 is probably the way to go.

AMD's drivers have been good for single 7970 setups since launch and absolutely excellent since midway through the year. The 7970 has actually gained more than the 680 from driver updates. Outside of some iffy launch crossfire support, AMD's drivers have been at least as good as Nvidia's if not better this round.
January 2, 2013 6:56:25 AM

BigMack70 said:
MSI designed the 680 Lightning to be overvolted via software, and the initial run of those cards was able to do that and achieve some crazy OC results. However, Nvidia got their panties in a bunch about overvolting on all their 6xx cards and made MSI shut that down, so all cards since the initial run of 680 Lightnings have not been able to really be overvolted anymore.

The 680 still overclocks OK, but there's just no reason to spend the extra money on the Lightning 680 unless you just want a Lightning 680 card. Other 680s will overclock just as well.

The 7970 can technically get better performance than an overclocked 680 when overclocked, but it's really splitting hairs. For all intents and purposes, an overclocked 680 and an overclocked 7970 are the same in terms of performance.

The 7970 overclocks better than the 680, but a stock 7970 is also a bit slower than a stock 680 at 1080p. If you're into overclocking your GPU, though, the 7970 is probably the way to go.

AMD's drivers have been good for single 7970 setups since launch and absolutely excellent since midway through the year. The 7970 has actually gained more than the 680 from driver updates. Outside of some iffy launch crossfire support, AMD's drivers have been at least as good as Nvidia's if not better this round.


Oh that is so gay! Is their any gtx 680 cards that are available for purchase that allows you to adjust voltages and over clock highly? If this is so, definitely will be going for the 7970! I'm just keen on nvidia since I've had the 5770 for 6 years and want to try nvidia I guess.
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2013 9:33:14 AM

lol 5770 has only been around for 3 years.
and the OP should get a 7970 coz its better value than 680 assuming similar performance as 7970 is cheaper
January 2, 2013 9:40:46 AM

ddavij said:
Oh that is so gay! Is their any gtx 680 cards that are available for purchase that allows you to adjust voltages and over clock highly? If this is so, definitely will be going for the 7970! I'm just keen on nvidia since I've had the 5770 for 6 years and want to try nvidia I guess.


Nope. The only way to have true voltage control on the 680 is to physically mod the card yourself. You can still overclock it a bit, and as I said an OC'd 680 and OC'd 7970 will perform very similarly, but the 7970 is and has always been the better card for overclockers.

If you don't mind that it's a triple slot card, I do think that the ASUS Matrix 7970 Platinum is a better option than the MSI 7970 Lightning if you're wanting to OC right now.
January 2, 2013 12:30:22 PM

mohit9206 said:
lol 5770 has only been around for 3 years.
and the OP should get a 7970 coz its better value than 680 assuming similar performance as 7970 is cheaper


Nope, I brought it a long long time ago, I got it from amazon :) 

Yeah I'm thinking 7970 now, way to go.
January 2, 2013 12:33:55 PM

BigMack70 said:
Nope. The only way to have true voltage control on the 680 is to physically mod the card yourself. You can still overclock it a bit, and as I said an OC'd 680 and OC'd 7970 will perform very similarly, but the 7970 is and has always been the better card for overclockers.

If you don't mind that it's a triple slot card, I do think that the ASUS Matrix 7970 Platinum is a better option than the MSI 7970 Lightning if you're wanting to OC right now.


Yeah that thing is massive!!!!!!!!!!
I looked at it but I didn't think it was as good as the MSI seeing it's stock speeds out of the box are considerably worse then the MSI?

msi: 1070/1150
asus: 1059/1100

really think the asus would be better card? I see it would be far superior for overclocking tho
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2013 12:41:59 PM

Both are flagship 7970s from MSI and Asus. I usually prefer MSI though since Asus cards tend to be overpriced. Plus, their triple slot coolers aren't necessarily better than MSI's Twin Frozr
January 2, 2013 1:24:47 PM

The Matrix 7970 will be quieter and, unless binning has gotten better on the Lightnings since launch, will also give you a better shot at approaching a 1300 MHz max OC. I've not checked around the past few months, but at launch of the Lightning 7970, it was really rare to see a card pass the 1250 MHz mark. One of mine tops out at 1205 and the other tops out at 1240 (though my 1800 MHz memory clock is awful sexy...).

You're not going to go wrong either way - as said, both are flagship cards. I personally don't like the triple slot design either. Just thought I'd mention it as an option.
January 2, 2013 1:44:58 PM

BigMack70 said:
The Matrix 7970 will be quieter and, unless binning has gotten better on the Lightnings since launch, will also give you a better shot at approaching a 1300 MHz max OC. I've not checked around the past few months, but at launch of the Lightning 7970, it was really rare to see a card pass the 1250 MHz mark. One of mine tops out at 1205 and the other tops out at 1240 (though my 1800 MHz memory clock is awful sexy...).

You're not going to go wrong either way - as said, both are flagship cards. I personally don't like the triple slot design either. Just thought I'd mention it as an option.


1.205 Ghz is beast! That's a massive step up from the stock speeds, I would be extremely happy if I even just get 1.2Ghz!
Yeah I'm not too keen on the 3-slot usage by the Asus, I do plan to do a crossfire within the next 6 months of building the rig.
I'm not fused about noise anyways, when gaming and such, I manually set CPU + GPU fans to max anyways.
Fingers crossed I can get you're beasty memory clock too! Haha!
MSI 7970 Lightning BE it is!!!!
Thank you so much everyone!
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2013 1:48:17 PM

You're welcome. Glad to see you finally made your choice. Good luck with you purchase and happy gaming. ;) 
January 2, 2013 1:50:41 PM

EzioAs said:
You're welcome. Glad to see you finally made your choice. Good luck with you purchase and happy gaming. ;) 


Thank you very much!! :D  :D 
January 2, 2013 2:18:13 PM

ddavij said:
1.205 Ghz is beast! That's a massive step up from the stock speeds, I would be extremely happy if I even just get 1.2Ghz!
Yeah I'm not too keen on the 3-slot usage by the Asus, I do plan to do a crossfire within the next 6 months of building the rig.
I'm not fused about noise anyways, when gaming and such, I manually set CPU + GPU fans to max anyways.
Fingers crossed I can get you're beasty memory clock too! Haha!
MSI 7970 Lightning BE it is!!!!
Thank you so much everyone!


Ahhhhhhhh didn't know you were planning to crossfire. Yeah for crossfire I think the Lightnings are the best option so long as you can handle a little noise.
January 5, 2013 1:26:22 AM

im a fan of nvidia before but when i change my rig i take the best video card on maket and it was amd 7970 ,when nvidia gtx680 arrive the difference are
a little best but when i try the driver 12.11 version 8 with cap2 install, Boom!!!
10600pts 3dmark 2011,all in all the 7970 goes faster than the gtx680!!!
But serious,1-3fps more for a game is not important it's the price too.for that i
call a second card Msi7970oc not Ghz but the card give me 1125/1575 oc stable and was less than 500$ cost only 460$!!never had problem with this one card i cannot tell in crossfire because i don t receive my second card!!
if you look more in detail,the min fps are greather with amd 7970 than 7970
but sometime the max is better with nvidia,but whos care about the max fps when it is more important for me to see min fps and average best for maximun playability!!!

And bigmack70 ?? how do you reach 4.8ghz on your cpu

mine is a I7-2600k @4.6ghz stable but more than that crashh!!!!
Asus maximux GeneZ Rog,Corsair H100 Hydro Cpu cooler
16g gskill Ripjaws 1600mhz 4x4g
I put the target Cpu to 4.6ghz in bios and it was good cpuvcore 1.35v
24-30 degres on idle windows7 64bit pro
January 5, 2013 1:34:13 AM

hey bro give a look at HIS amd7970 X2 turbo boost clock set at 1180mhz
factory clock it is the fastest one to date and overclock like a charm!!!!
January 5, 2013 1:53:20 AM

perso in 1080p i never had a lag in game with single 7970 ,always put
maximun settings in game and constent fps!!!Crysis 2 ultra setting,BF3 ultra,
Farcry 3 ultra with 2xmssa HDAO and the rest at ultra!!!!and for Crysis 3 nvidia guy???if a 7970 can't run the game who are able because the gtx680 and amd7970 are the 2 top graphic cards!!!a second card in cossfire extend
the gameplay life of the rig and for sure never slow down too for another 2 years!!!!

But just for peaple who don't know,choosing a good CPU too made difference
in fps and constant stability ,cpu botleneck are seen in amd CPU like phenomII x4,x3 etc.you need a very good quad core more intel like I5-I7 series don't go for the 39xx series yeah 6 cores but not more powerfull for dual card just best in, tri xfire or quad xfire card rig,here you can see nice difference between 4 and 6 cores!!
when in the other hand,the AMD 8 cores are very slower than intel I7
March 2, 2013 1:27:04 AM

Every last person in here stating the 680 Lightning can no longer overvolt is not true. Technically, they come from factory with a BIOS that restricts this. However, it is super easy to flash to an earlier BIOS that does not interfere with the overvolting of the card. Brand new 680 Lightnings are being flashed back to previous BIOS's and they're achieving serious overclocks. Many in the 1400+.
!