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MSI GTX 670 PE vs. XFX 7970 Ghz Ed, or other?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 5, 2013 7:08:15 AM

As the topic says. I just bought all the other parts for a new system bought during Boxing day sales, but I'm waffling on the card, as many of us do. I've done much reading, but there are so many pros and cons I can't really keep it straight.

Main uses for the computer is gaming, and typical applications.

Games I will be playing:

Batman: AC
Witcher 2 (very important I play this)
Borderlands 2
Shogun 2
Saints Row: the third
ACIII

I will be playing at 1920x1200 for the year or two at least.

Here are the parts I am working with.

System:
Core i5-3570K
Asrock Z77 Extreme4
Samsung SyncMaster 245B (1920x1200)
Kingston KHX 1600C 2x8GB
Corsair Professional HX850W Modular
Antec 1100 case
Crucial M4 256gb SSD
Seagate Barracuda 3TB


Here are the prices of the cards I am presented with:

MSI GTX 670 PE - $369 - $40 MIR + 3 games (Borderlands 2, AC III, Free Fall) - 3 year warranty
XFX 7970 DD Ghz Ed. - $409 - $30 MIR + (no games) - Lifetime Warranty

More recently it seems more people are preferring the 7970 cards because of the new drivers, and the larger Vram and mem bus, and I also just learned about how MSI had burned a lot of trust due to the overvoltage thing, but even then, it seems like a really good deal for that card as is.

I guess I'm just trying to get confirmation on what I am expecting.

Thank you for your help!

Edit: Oh, and noise is a bit of a consideration since my rig is in the same room as the television.
a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 7:38:12 AM

Most Games you listed are Nvidia favored.

GTX 670 is a good card, but 7970 Ghz Ed in Competition is total unfair.
7970 Ghz is fast card.

According to fps, 7970 is a no-brainer. Get the card.
You should get GTX 670 if you'll SLI in future.

But you should have a look here before choosing between Nvidia and AMD
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAfzjTAhpBk&feature=play...

I would personally take the 7970 Ghz Ed. ;) 
It has a Lifetime Warranty too, this is Insane. The warranty beats the crap out of those free Games


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a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 8:07:17 AM

Yup its a no brainer. Get the 7970ghz and avoid the power edition 670 at all costs because MSI secretly overvolts it.
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a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 9:13:43 AM

jaideep1337 said:
Yup its a no brainer. Get the 7970ghz and avoid the power edition 670 at all costs because MSI secretly overvolts it.


That issue was fixed long ago when it was discovered :) 

Also, I would avoid XFX 7970's at ALL COSTS. They have MASSIVE QC issues for their 7970's, there are so many issues with them on these forums, and all over the net. Their coolers are mediocre at best, their "ghost cooling" pretty must just blows air everywhere, like all non reference coolers.

Besides, the 670 PE are beast overclockers, you have bigcyco to tell you that.

Either one is fine, as long as you get a solid 670 or a solid 7970, you are fine.
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a c 185 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 9:35:45 AM

JJ1217 said:
That issue was fixed long ago when it was discovered :) 

Also, I would avoid XFX 7970's at ALL COSTS. They have MASSIVE QC issues for their 7970's, there are so many issues with them on these forums, and all over the net. Their coolers are mediocre at best, their "ghost cooling" pretty must just blows air everywhere, like all non reference coolers.

Besides, the 670 PE are beast overclockers, you have bigcyco to tell you that.

Either one is fine, as long as you get a solid 670 or a solid 7970, you are fine.
:lol:  yeah the MSI PE GTX 670 is a beast!MSI's GTX 670 Power Edition uses the famous Twin Frozr IV cooler from the MSI Lightning and comes with a large clock speed boost out of the box, making its default clock speed even higher than GTX 680 stock clocks.The MSI GeForce GTX 670 has everything we love in a video card - a great price, blazing performance, and it runs cool and quiet. MSI even encourages further overclocking and overvolting with its included software. That is pretty much the definition of Kick Ass. My clocks/results on the 670 PE were:

Max OC
Core: 1316 MHz
Memory: 7406 MHz
Fps: 52.6

Standard OC
Core: 1290 MHz
Memory: 7204 Mhz
Fps: 51.5 MSI GeForce GTX 670 Power edition /OC reviews

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-geforce-gtx-670-power...
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_670_Power_Ed...
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4779/msi_geforce_gtx_6...
MSI's GTX 670 Power Edition in action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnLUJxCBZUg&feature=plcp Crysis 2 Campaign MSI GTX 670 OC Test http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiE_4cz0aDo&feature=plcp Battlefield 3 PC Operation Swordfish Campaign Combat GTX 670
And lastly, there's the Physx thing.I think you know the right choice now lol.


http://physxinfo.com/index.php?p=gam&f=pc [/quotemsg]
[/quotemsg]
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January 5, 2013 3:25:19 PM

Hmm... two people for and two people against. While I heard a lot of people were upset about the MSI overvolt issues, I never did find any posts about the card dying. I guess that won't come to fruition for at least a year or two.

I did find a youtube vid of someone with an XFX in the box with the fan at 60% and higher, and it did sound quite loud.

Regarding PhysX, it's cool, but I heard for at least Borderland 2 that you can enable PhysX even if you have a Radeon card; something about offloading the PhysX calculations to the CPU using willowengine.ini

http://www.reddit.com/r/Borderlands/comments/11e03l/phy...

I'd assume the 3570K could handle it as long as I get a decent OC out of it (I picked up a DH14 for just that reason).

My main temptation for the PE is that first it saves an extra $50, plus whatever I can sell ACIII and Free Fall for), and get just below the same performance of the 7970. The warranty thing is still a bit of a burn though. But if what is said about the horror stories around the XFX are true, then I'm looking at at least a $100 difference or more for the Gigabyte or Asus versions of the 7970. Is the performance difference $100 good?

Assuming I keep it for the life of the warranty, I am really not sure if I am best served in riding out the GTX670 for the term of warranty and take advantage of new stuff then, or getting the 7970 for the 5-6 year long haul of the system.
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a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 8:37:01 PM

Where are you from?

There are Sapphire 7970's, which go for ridiculously cheap anywhere. I'd avoid Gigabyte if your scared about noise, it can get quite loud.
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a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 9:04:53 PM

Offloading PhysX to CPU will cripple performance - that's why people don't do it in practice :-) PhysX is specifically coded to take advantage of SIMD parallel processing (what takes place on GPU) and to perform very poorly with scalar processing (CPU). Some say nVidia did it deliberately (maybe they did) but physics modelling is something that lends itself much more to parallel processing (i.e. running on the GPU).

I'd take the GTX670 without a doubt. 7970 isn't worth the extra. If you do go with the 7970 though, I'd avoid XFX. I'm using one at the moment and fan is screwed (think the bearings are shot). Probably won't last much longer.

I'd also avoid Sapphire, just due to a series of bad experiences with them (I've had three, and all three died within a few months of the warranty expiring). I may have just been unlucky though.
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a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 9:15:57 PM

sam_p_lay said:
Offloading PhysX to CPU will cripple performance - that's why people don't do it in practice :-) PhysX is specifically coded to take advantage of SIMD parallel processing (what takes place on GPU) and to perform very poorly with scalar processing (CPU). Some say nVidia did it deliberately (maybe they did) but physics modelling is something that lends itself much more to parallel processing (i.e. running on the GPU).

I'd take the GTX670 without a doubt. 7970 isn't worth the extra. If you do go with the 7970 though, I'd avoid XFX. I'm using one at the moment and fan is screwed (think the bearings are shot). Probably won't last much longer.

I'd also avoid Sapphire, just due to a series of bad experiences with them (I've had three, and all three died within a few months of the warranty expiring). I may have just been unlucky though.


Borderlands 2 is a little bit different, it has less effects when using the CPU to use Phys X. I've offloaded PhysX to the CPU in Borderlands 2, and I'm not being crippled in any way. Sure it takes a larger performance hit than Nvidia, but its like AMD performing better in higher resolutions and with AA on, and Nvidia cards sometimes taking a bit performance hit.

What I'm saying is, both are good cards, I like the 670 PE, and also the 670 DC2 TOP from Asus, which is BEASTLY factory overclocked, at like 1138 mhz on the core, and boosts to like 1.2 GHZ.
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January 6, 2013 3:31:50 AM

JJ1217 said:
Where are you from?


Vancouver, Canada :) 

sam_p_lay said:
Offloading PhysX to CPU will cripple performance


Warning heeded.


sam_p_lay said:
I'd take the GTX670 without a doubt. 7970 isn't worth the extra. If you do go with the 7970 though, I'd avoid XFX. I'm using one at the moment and fan is screwed (think the bearings are shot). Probably won't last much longer.

I'd also avoid Sapphire, just due to a series of bad experiences with them (I've had three, and all three died within a few months of the warranty expiring). I may have just been unlucky though.


This is the kind of stuff I need to know about how the actual cooling works and quirks. I've loved my Visiontek 4870 for the last several years, but it runs too hot and gets too loud. It's lived this long without issue, so I am not going to complain.

I would love to just bite the bullet and get a top ASUS 7970 card, but none were available at a decent price. Plus, I don't expect to change from the synchmaster 245B for the next 2-3 years (I've already replaced all the caps 8 months ago). When my display set up changes, I'll look much more seriously at whatever happens to be the the best solution for the new monitor, but in the meantime, I'll be sticking to 1920x1200.


JJ1217 said:
Borderlands 2 is a little bit different, it has less effects when using the CPU to use Phys X. I've offloaded PhysX to the CPU in Borderlands 2, and I'm not being crippled in any way. Sure it takes a larger performance hit than Nvidia, but its like AMD performing better in higher resolutions and with AA on, and Nvidia cards sometimes taking a bit performance hit.

What I'm saying is, both are good cards, I like the 670 PE, and also the 670 DC2 TOP from Asus, which is BEASTLY factory overclocked, at like 1138 mhz on the core, and boosts to like 1.2 GHZ.


Right, right, it's one or the other in different areas.

One reason I've had doubts about the 670 is that I've been looking forward to playing Witcher 2 with cranked settings, but any benchmark I've found uses High settings for the GTX670 (as opposed to Ultra for the 7970s and 680s), leading me to believe that I may have a sub-par experience in that game. It's only one game, but I've been holding off playing it for close to a year now.


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a c 185 U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 5:05:47 AM

BigMack70 said:
Good Lord... would people please stop posting that stupid Nvidia PhysX marketing video for borderlands 2? That thing seems to show up in any thread where there's even a whiff of PhysX discussion and it's the most misleading piece of marketing BS ever. :pfff: 

You can play Borderlands 2 with PhysX enabled with little more performance hit on an AMD rig than an Nvidia one. Absolute worst case scenario for an AMD rig on BL2 is that you use PhysX on medium instead of high.

The only recent game I'm aware of where running PhysX on the CPU can "cripple" performance is Batman:AC.

Anyways, OP, the short answer is you're not going to make a wrong choice but from your needs it sounds like the 670 is probably the best card for you.

Long answer: since Batman:AC is on your list of desired games, I'd say just get the 670 so you have the PhysX there. Neither card is going to be powerful enough to use ubersampling comfortably in TW2 and framerate will be fine on ultra minus ubersampling in either case.

If you are planning on doing overclocking, the 7970 will absolutely dominate any Kepler card in that area. Also, I don't know what the deal is with the XFX hate... I had one of their launch 7970 DD BE cards and had a great experience with it, and I don't believe their GHz edition card is voltage locked. The lifetime warranty is a sweet deal too.
i love to bring PhysX up always makes someone lose their mind in threads :kaola: 
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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 5:19:56 AM

i would also second the 670 PE.
normally i would say 7970 but since you will be playing at 1080p for 2 years atleast ghz edition is not necessary and overkill maybe
also you said you wanted to play AC3 and BL2.do you already own the games ? if not then 670 is much better deal even if you do own them you could sell the game codes and make a huge profit. so 670 is a much better choice anyhow you look at it
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January 6, 2013 6:01:32 AM

BigMack70 said:
Good Lord... would people please stop posting that stupid Nvidia PhysX marketing video for borderlands 2? That thing seems to show up in any thread where there's even a whiff of PhysX discussion and it's the most misleading piece of marketing BS ever. :pfff: 


I have seen the video pop up A LOT during my searches, so I can understand the aneurism. :D  PhysX is very a nice to have, but not mandatory, imo.

BigMack70 said:
Anyways, OP, the short answer is you're not going to make a wrong choice but from your needs it sounds like the 670 is probably the best card for you.

Long answer: since Batman:AC is on your list of desired games, I'd say just get the 670 so you have the PhysX there. Neither card is going to be powerful enough to use ubersampling comfortably in TW2 and framerate will be fine on ultra minus ubersampling in either case.


Good to know on TW2. Thank you for helping to manage my expectations!

I guess my big question is whether the price difference between the two warrants the swap up. This is considering I plan on trying to sell the ACIII code for hopefully around $25. I already have that game for my 360. Sadly, I doubt the FireFall code will be worth anything.

I've guess that that after the MIRs from MSI and XFX, I will probably wind up probably paying at least $60-$85 (possibly higher) more for the 7970.

BigMack70 said:

If you are planning on doing overclocking, the 7970 will absolutely dominate any Kepler card in that area. Also, I don't know what the deal is with the XFX hate... I had one of their launch 7970 DD BE cards and had a great experience with it, and I don't believe their GHz edition card is voltage locked. The lifetime warranty is a sweet deal too.


I would love to do some overclocking, but it has been difficult to confirm whether the XFX, or other 7970 GHzs are voltage locked or not. Discounting the lightning edition cards, I have found many posts that contradict on this front. Also, I read that you can flash the bios on the MSI card to allow voltage changes (and void the warranty, I know), but I haven't found any posts that declare someone was actually successful with this, so I am leery of the idea.

Regarding the XFX hate, I did check out a couple of youtube videos to see how loud the XFX cards are, and even though I can't put 100% trust into those, it seemed to be VERY apparent at 60% and higher. I hate that noise is a factor in my decision, but that is only because I am sharing space with my wife and TV. As I mentioned, I've used a Visiontek 4870 for the past 5+ years and have been very satisfied with game performance, but annoyed that it runs very hot on load, and the fan turns into a jet turbine on anything higher than 50% fan speed.


mohit9206 said:
i would also second the 670 PE.
normally i would say 7970 but since you will be playing at 1080p for 2 years atleast ghz edition is not necessary and overkill maybe
also you said you wanted to play AC3 and BL2.do you already own the games ? if not then 670 is much better deal even if you do own them you could sell the game codes and make a huge profit. so 670 is a much better choice anyhow you look at it


If I wanted to sell those codes, what do you think would be a decent asking price? More is better obviously, but I am realistic and definitely don't expect close to retail, nor do I want to sit on them for very long.

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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 6:04:34 AM

you could sell them for $30 each. thats a fair price
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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 12:20:47 PM

BigMack70 said:
Good Lord... would people please stop posting that stupid Nvidia PhysX marketing video for borderlands 2? That thing seems to show up in any thread where there's even a whiff of PhysX discussion and it's the most misleading piece of marketing BS ever. :pfff: 

You can play Borderlands 2 with PhysX enabled with little more performance hit on an AMD rig than an Nvidia one. Absolute worst case scenario for an AMD rig on BL2 is that you use PhysX on medium instead of high.


Haha yeah AMD fanboys don't like being proved wrong. It's kinda hard to argue with video evidence isn't it? You can claim there's no noticeable difference, but all people have to do is play the video and then they'll see for themselves.

As for playing BL2 with medium PhysX on CPU, see JJ's post above. You can do that without a big performance hit because you're using a cut-down implementation of PhysX with half the eye candy removed so that it can run on CPU without too much performance hit.
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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 12:52:04 PM

Are you running an i7-3960X like they are? That's a pretty pricey CPU. And save your childish 'green koolaid' comments. I've seen that from you before, along with that AMD setup in your signature. I'd make a 'red koolaid' comment but I'd rather not embarrass myself with that kind of thing. If I'm an nVidia fanboy, then I'm one of those very rare NV fanboys running a Radeon 4870. It was a 5970, but since that died I've fallen back to my old card until I get a proper upgrade.
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January 6, 2013 12:55:07 PM

No doubt you'll want to go with the 7970 since you're willing to put down the money for it. That extra 1GB of VRAM and higher memory bandwidth will future proof you for a longer period of time and then perhaps you could crossfire later on. Those new 12.11 drivers are beasts right now so no without a doubt, go for the 7970.
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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 1:01:00 PM

Just because you decide it's not, doesn't make it so. And it doesn't mean 99% of people think the way you do (a fact for which I'm extremely grateful). Back up your 99% claim with some stats. Besides, even if 99% is true, who says people reading the thread don't belong to the group you claim is 1%?
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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 1:07:56 PM

There's not a couple. Off the top of my head, Borderlands 2, Metro 2033, Batman Arkham Asylum, Batman Arkham City and Bulletstorm. I think those are the main ones. And it's also relevant to a purchasing decision for people who MIGHT be playing future games that use it. Stop pretending you can see the future, because you can't. I don't know if 2014's games will use it, but I'd rather have it incase they do than not have it. Like I've said all along, it's obviously a smaller feature than adaptive v-sync, but it's still well-worth having.
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a c 185 U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 6:29:59 PM

jaideep1337 said:
Yup its a no brainer. Get the 7970ghz and avoid the power edition 670 at all costs because MSI secretly overvolts it.
because MSI blah blah blah :lol: 
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January 6, 2013 7:22:04 PM

My apologies. It was not my intention to start an argument over PhysX. As I stated earlier, I consider it a "nice to have", but definitely not a reason to make a decision over.

You mentioned the adaptive Vsync. I saw articles that implied it was only available on the 680s, which I found odd, but did not dig deeper into. I confess that I am addicted to Vsnyc. I have gladly traded frame rate to eliminate tearing in 90%+ of the games I've played over the last several years. I was not able to find any direct information regarding how superior the adaptive vsynch is to regular vsynch.

Also about the whole MSI overvolt thing, I've seen a lot of people upset about it, but no stories regarding how it has actually ruined cards. Though I accept that it may still take time before those issues become prevalent. But I'd like to play devil's advocate and suggest that there might also be something to say for a company willing to take risks in order to maximize the true performance of their products.

To me, the voltage locking stinks of Nvidia either having less confidence in their chips, or trying to manufacture a reason to buy a 680 over a 670. Either way, it is stupid since doing that only really helps their competitor. Case in point, the voltage locking is one of the major factors I've found difficult in making my decision. I am probably getting a better $-to-performance ratio on the 670 (in this specific instance), at least in the short term (2yrs), but I will still feel like I am not getting the true performance of what I paid for.

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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 8:32:52 PM

Re adaptive v-sync, I just explained this in another thread, hopefully it'll be helpful:

V-sync (as in basic v-sync) is a technique used to manage framerates, so that if your framerate exceeds your monitor's refresh rate (typically 60Hz), you won't experience screen tearing. All cards support basic v-sync, including Radeons. The drawback is that if your card drops below 60fps, even just slightly, the framerate will be significantly reduced by v-sync.

To sync with the monitor's refresh rate, the frame has to either be rendered in 16ms or less (for 60fps) or it's held over to the next refresh cycle. One frame over two refresh cycles (on 60Hz monitor) results in 30fps. So even if your card would be capable of 50-55fps, you drop to 30fps! So v-sync is really bad for performance if your GPU can't stay above 60fps, but v-sync is needed if you sometimes go over 60fps and so need to prevent tearing.

Adaptive v-sync will deliver smooth, fluid performance, since it won't restrict your framerate like basic v-sync does. With adaptive v-sync, when you drop below 60fps, v-sync just switches itself off so you get 55fps instead of 30fps. As soon as you reach 60fps again, adaptive v-sync switches itself back on. Sounds like a very simple solution, but it must be hard to build into the drivers because AMD still hasn't done it (and it's taken nVidia years to do aswell).

You can read about it in detail at http://hardocp.com/article/2012/04/16/nvidia_adaptive_v...

"With Adaptive VSync turned on, the feeling of the game felt smoother compared to regular VSync turned on. The performance felt much like the game felt with VSync turned off. This is the kind of technology we like to see which has improved the innate nature of the gameplay experience. If all you need is 60 FPS in a game for it to be playable, then why not just go ahead and cap the game there so it doesn't exceed your refresh rate. Then, if the game has to fall below that, allow the game to perform at its real-time actual framerate, and Adaptive VSync allows that. It really is the best of all worlds, with no drawbacks. We didn't find any negatives to using Adaptive VSync, and we tried it out in a handful of games."

EDIT: And it's on all GTX600 models :-)
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a c 144 U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 9:21:48 PM

if i'm not mistaken adaptive v-sync is applicable to 8000 series gpu and above. the same goes with FXAA. the only feature exclusive to 600 series is TXAA.
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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 9:37:42 PM

Yeah FXAA was made available to older models, not sure how old but my brother's GTX560 Ti supports it. Not sure about adaptive v-sync, possibly!
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a c 144 U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 10:11:01 PM

^both were available in nvidia control panel with my 460. adaptive v-sync sounds nice but personally i prefered the usual v-sync. i dont know, they say you will not seeing screen tearing when the frame rates are below your monitor refresh rates but from my personal experience i can still see screen tearing even the fram rates are well below 60fps. i really hate screen tearing so v-sync is a must me. the only game that i play without v-sync in the past is crysis because the frame rates will be even lower with v-sync enabled. and i'm really glad that nvidia integrate the FXAA function into the control panel. i'm no AA freak so i'm fine with FXAA.
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January 7, 2013 2:46:28 AM

Thank you very much for all the help. I think I'll go with the MSI.

I know that the 7970 is a better card, but for my needs over the next couple of years, I probably won't be taking full advantage of the extra power. I do expect that I will probably have to replace the 670 in 3 years as opposed to 5-6 for the 7970, which I am OK with since there will probably be something else shiny and awesome by then.

If I can sell the ACIII code then I'll have pushed it's overall cost before tax to under $300. So, I will save close to $100 on the MSI over the XFX 7970.

Plus I am eager to see if the Adaptive Vsync is all that it is cracked up to be.
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a b U Graphics card
January 7, 2013 7:11:23 AM

Good choice, have fun with it :-) (and I don't think either card will be doing great in 5-6 years ;-))
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!