Asus AMD 7950 Direct CU II 3GB TOP - £ 260 <-- current favorite
Various AMD GHz 7970 3GB - £320-£340
Asus GTX 670 Direct CU II 4GB - £380
Asus GTX 670 Direct CU II 2GB TOP - £370
Asus GTX 660ti Direct CU II 2GB TOP - £268
Okay first of all I'm not an Asus fanboy like most of you might think, I just love the Direct CU cooling technology, I'm trying to build as quiet PC as possible!
I will be OC'ing the card I choose!
Now here's the real debate I want to run Crysis 3 on max settings at 1080p ( soon 1440p ), and for that I do not think 2GB Vram is enough, I want my build to last a couple years as well so doubt that 2GB is going to be enough for much longer.
Said that I believe the 660ti is out of the question.
It seems that GTX 670 was rated the best card on the marked at this time. But is it really worth a £110 Jump of a 7950? I don't think so... So the 670s are out as well?
Lastly is the 7970 editions, for example XFX Radeon HD 7970 GHz which comes for £320 with Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite.
Let me know your experiences/suggestions! Remember My goal is running Crysis 3 at max setting with 1080p and soon to be 1440p as well as maintaining a quiet PC. ( To be honest I much more prefer the silence rather than performance )
7970 is the best choice it overclocks like a beast and is the best performer of all the cards + you don't even have to pay for a few games.
The lesser performance form the 670s or 660s at the price of getting a better cooling is simply not worth it, a pc being quiet really is not "that" important because in the heat of battle when your headphones are blasting noise in your ears that is the only you will here.
I personally did enjoy the DCU II series its quiet yes, but i prefer the greater performance from my Gigabyte card.
See the problem is I play in quite a hot room so temps get high ( doesn't help with PC cooling and noise reduction. Also, the problem isn't just me not minding the noise. Other people around me should feel comfortable as well. Me playing a game on max settings and making my PC buzz like a tractor doesn't help my wife read her books ^_^
I have the ASUS GTX 670 as in my sig. I got it on Amazon for about £310. I wouldn't recommend going with the TOP version, the extra £60 is not worth a 150 Mhz or so overclock. I understand the need for silence as well completely, and I must say this card is whisper quiet. I had an XFX 7950 before which made the most horrible noise even in the least demanding games such as League of Legends. Friends were saying it was making such a racket, it made it hard to hear me over Skype. It wasn't faulty, just very loud unfortunately. I would have gone the 7950 again (exactly the model you linked) but I didn't like the fact that it is triple slot (I've heard it can put quite a bit of strain on the motherboard, though I'm sure this is just me being overcautious) and AMDs driver support is not stellar for one of my favorite titles; GTA IV (admittedly a very badly optimized game all around). I might have been willing to make these sacrifices for a 7970, but as I only buy from Amazon (the return policy is insanely good, it's worth the often tiny premium) they don't have them available yet.
If you want silence again I reiterate don't go with XFX.
I can recommend the 7950 and the 670, they are both very capable for my resolution of 1080p. Again the ASUS card has a fantastic cooler, and the build quality is terrific.
The 4 gb version is meant for SLI setups, so the frame buffer is big enough for two cards. Unless you're seriously considering going that way in the future stick to the 2 gb. 2 gb should last you plenty of time, I think people tend to overestimate the amount of Vram needed in the same way they do computer RAM. 1 gb is still plenty sufficient for even 1080p in 99% of games, as shown by the 7850s.
I recently got a sapphire 7970 and its dead silent up until about 50-55% fan speed. Usually only runs at 40-45% during games and stays cool too! Very happy with it. I was looking at Asus as well but heard it was voltage locked so i went with the sapphire.