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Feedback on HD 7950 Crossfire(?)

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January 6, 2013 3:11:24 PM

Greetings:

I built my first rig last summer and went with an HD 7950. It seemed a very fair compromise between performance and price given the budget I was working with. I'm now getting ready to do some upgrades and am considering a second 7950 in crossfire. The card has not disappointed. I use an XFX HD 7950 Black at 950/1250. It runs everything maxed out with the irritating exception of Far Cry 3 wherein I have to dial MSAA down to x4 or else the frames take a too noticeable hit. I just wanted to get a sense as to whether people have been happy with Crossfiring 7950's and whether after doing so they are confident 7950 x 2 will give them some mileage on maxing out games. The other option is to throw in a 7970 when the price drops a bit. I know initially the 7970's performance will "drop" to match the 7950 but I would then later get another 7970 to replace the first 7950. I'm hesitant to go that route as it appears unnecessarily costly. Anyone have thoughts on that strategy as well?

Many thanks in advance.

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a c 90 U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 3:22:21 PM

CF brings more problem than additional performance you would expect....

be happy with your current build and save money for upcoming AMD 8000 series :) 
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a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 3:25:44 PM

AMD Radeon is right. You have a pretty high end card already. Save it at least until the next gen. If you want some more performance from your card, you always overclock. 1150MHz+ on the core is pretty normal OC for a 7950
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a c 144 U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 3:29:59 PM

if you think you're satisfied with your current card's performance then there is no need to go for CF.
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January 6, 2013 3:52:02 PM

EzioAs said:
AMD Radeon is right. You have a pretty high end card already. Save it at least until the next gen. If you want some more performance from your card, you always overclock. 1150MHz+ on the core is pretty normal OC for a 7950


This sounds reasonable but a funny thing is happening. As I noted, Far Cry 3 is the only game I have to dial back a setting on. The stock OC on my XFX is 900. I can push it to 950 for Far Cry 3. I push it any farther and the shuts down on the loading screen - I can't seem to figure out why this is happening. In any case, my concern isn't FC3 only. I'd like to be able to max Crysis 3 as well as Metro: Last Light (M:LL especially given the games' [likely] high dependence on ambience, lighting, and atmosphere). The issue with FC3 is making me question whether I'll be able to max C3 as well as M:LL. I you have thoughts on my FC3 issue, they are very welcome :D 
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January 6, 2013 6:34:20 PM

BigMack70 said:
You can't OC any higher than 950 MHz? That surprises me... have you tried bumping up voltages in MSI Afterburner a bit to increase your OC?

You got a major dud 7950 if you can't even push to 1000 MHz.

Anyways, what is the rest of your system? As others have said, crossfire introduces hassles and finnicky things that you don't have to deal with in a single card setup.

You're most likely going to be happiest just saving the $300 you'd spend on another 7950 and using it towards the purchase of a HD 8970/GTX 780 when they come out, if future games like Crysis 3 are your concern.

7950 CF is a solid setup, but if one of your 7950s is a dud overclocker then I wouldn't recommend it, really.


I can't say for certain if it's a dud OCer overall - Far Cry 3 is the first game I even tried to do an OC since the card maxes everything else with little effort at 1080 res. I ought to push the clock and play something else - i attributed the trouble to FC3 since the game was brand new and there were some driver issues, but now I'm a bit concerned... And I haven't played with the voltage - when I researched how far I could push the OC, the consensus seemed to be that one could push the XFX to 1GhZ without playing with the voltage.

Rest of system: G. Skill 8gb 1600; i5-2500k (oc'd to 4.5), MSI Z77A-GD80 mobo: a Samsung 120GB SSD Boot Drive, 2 Samsung 1TB drives and a third WD 3TB drive; Seasonic X series 650W PSU
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January 6, 2013 7:33:00 PM

BigMack70 said:
Well I'd encourage you to spend some good time playing around with overclocking and seeing what you can get out of your card comfortably before you decide to crossfire it.

To me it's kind of a catch-22... if you can get your 7950 up to probably around 1100 MHz or beyond, you'll probably be OK with your performance. But if you can't get it that high, it's also probably not worth spending the money to crossfire it.

Once you find a max. core OC that you're comfortable with (that will take you a decent amount of time, most likely), you should overclock the GPU memory as well; 7950s/7970s scale performance surprisingly well with memory overclocking.

Oh and you're probably pushing it by thinking of crossfiring 7950s on that PSU... you should probably bump up to a 750 or 850W unit for CF 7950s. I think that most likely your best option is to work with overclocking for now and then just sell the 7950 & upgrade to an 8970/780 when they come out.


Thanks for all of that - and on the PSU I'm actually one step ahead of you: requested and received a Seasonic X series 850 PSU for Xmas ;) 
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 6, 2013 7:34:26 PM

mmm 80 plug goldness :)  Yea that will go quite nicely with your system maybe overkill but its a good psu.
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January 6, 2013 7:46:00 PM

BigMack70 said:
Well I'd encourage you to spend some good time playing around with overclocking and seeing what you can get out of your card comfortably before you decide to crossfire it.

To me it's kind of a catch-22... if you can get your 7950 up to probably around 1100 MHz or beyond, you'll probably be OK with your performance. But if you can't get it that high, it's also probably not worth spending the money to crossfire it.

Once you find a max. core OC that you're comfortable with (that will take you a decent amount of time, most likely), you should overclock the GPU memory as well; 7950s/7970s scale performance surprisingly well with memory overclocking.

Oh and you're probably pushing it by thinking of crossfiring 7950s on that PSU... you should probably bump up to a 750 or 850W unit for CF 7950s. I think that most likely your best option is to work with overclocking for now and then just sell the 7950 & upgrade to an 8970/780 when they come out.


So I came home and pushed my XFX 7950 to 1000/1450. Ran Assassin's Creed 3, Arkham City, and Borderlands 2 - all maxed out - and they all ran just fine. Started Far Cry 3 and it wouldn't even make it to the menu screen. Moreover, the card remained fairly cool at about 56c for the above titles. I left Afterburner running so I could get temps, and the while on the FC3 black screen, the card inched up slowly but steadily. I killed the game at 65c. So, one thing seems clear - it's not the GPU per se. Something is going wrong with FC3. I've heard some people have better performance launching the game outside of Steam using an alternate executable. I haven't experimented with this, but the result is distressing nevertheless. At least the GPU doesn't seem to be a dud. Any ideas here?
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January 15, 2013 7:32:16 AM

claptrap22 said:
So I came home and pushed my XFX 7950 to 1000/1450. Ran Assassin's Creed 3, Arkham City, and Borderlands 2 - all maxed out - and they all ran just fine. Started Far Cry 3 and it wouldn't even make it to the menu screen. Moreover, the card remained fairly cool at about 56c for the above titles. I left Afterburner running so I could get temps, and the while on the FC3 black screen, the card inched up slowly but steadily. I killed the game at 65c. So, one thing seems clear - it's not the GPU per se. Something is going wrong with FC3. I've heard some people have better performance launching the game outside of Steam using an alternate executable. I haven't experimented with this, but the result is distressing nevertheless. At least the GPU doesn't seem to be a dud. Any ideas here?

Im having the same problems as you mate. Ive got an xfx 7950 but its the 800 ghz one. I can get 950 out of it but any more and farcry 3 crashes!?! I too was worried about the card but thank you for posting this question as I know know my card is ok. I too am looking to crossfire in the soon future. Hoe it works good for you. Im having to get a new cpu before I buy another 7950 as im not sure if a phenom 975 will be good enough. Im switching to intel from now on, better gaming performance. Im gona get a 2500k.
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February 23, 2013 6:15:34 PM

I had the same problem with Far Cry 3. Turns out it was MSI Afterburners on screen display that was making far cry crash on me. Disabled it and havent had a game crash on me since then. Running an MSI TFIII 7950 @ 1220/1600
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February 23, 2013 6:53:35 PM

XFX cards have terrible cooling, especially the DD models that actually cool worse than reference, additionally, their VRM cooling is some of the worst I've ever seen.

Also you may as well add a 7970, contrary to popular belief the 7970 will not lower itself to 7950 level, you'll have performance somewhere between 7950 CF and 7970 CF. A good one is the Sapphire Dual-X(Great VRM cooling for overclocking) or the MSi Lightning if you're willing to spend.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5476/amd-radeon-7950-revi...
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