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Which to choose for upgrading: 670, 680 or 7970.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 27, 2013 2:57:08 PM

Hi everyone
I want to upgrade to a new graphics card. I have had the current one for about 3 years so I am a bit lost regarding the new cards.
-I want to buy a card that will last a bit (I dont want to have to change it in a year).
-I dont mind if it is ATI or NVIDIA but although I currently have an ATI card, I have been having problems (freezing) that I think are driver related so I think I might prefer an NVIDIA.
- I am currently leaning to something between an 670,680 or 6970. I think that 670 might be the more sensible choice cause from various reviews I see that there is small performance difference with 680.

So, my questions are:
-Do you have any suggestions?
-Should I care for more than 2GB cards?
-Are those cards an overkill?
-Is there any particular reason I should choose one brand over another (Palit, Gainward etc) if the cards are identical in specs and extras?
-Finally something that is very important to me: I currently connect my PC to my TV through HDMI and to my monitor by DVI. My card has an embedded sound chip so it sends both sound+image to the TV. When I change from TV<->monitor (using WIN+P) the system automatically detects if it should send sound from the graphics card to the tv or from the mobo to the speakers. Is this now the case for all new cards? I would hate to buy a GTX670 and find out it is problematic in that aspect. (Since this is a very particular question, I hope someone knows the answer)

Some extra info:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:
next 2-3 weeks
USAGE:
Gaming (FPS like upcomig Crysis 3 etc)
CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY:
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4870x2
PSU: Hiper Type RII 880W

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:
CPU: Core 2 Quad Q9550 @2.83Ghz
Memory: 8Gb DDR2 (PC2 6400)
Mobo: Asus P5Q deluxe
Case: PC-A71

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:
I live in Greece, so i use eshop.gr, plaisio.gr and any other european site that sends to Greece
OVERCLOCKING:
Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE:
Maybe but probably not
MONITOR RESOLUTION:
1920x1200
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
At a point I am thinking of buying 3 monitors but for now I am staying with 1
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 3:00:23 PM

the 670 is great and best bang for bucks, overclocks nicely and can get similar performance to the 680 with 80$ less to spend on it.

also if ur not anti-amd id suggest the 7950 as it overclocks well and is cheaper and can rival a 680 :) 

so overall the best bang for bucks here is the 7950.

or 7970 if u can afford it.

a b U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 3:03:59 PM

7970>670>680

if you are dead set on nvidia, i suggest the 670. after overclocking both the 670 and the 680 they perform pretty much even because the 670 overclocks better. it is also 100 dollars cheaper.

i think the 7970 is better than both of them but if you have your heart set on nvidia then i suggest a 670
Related resources
January 27, 2013 3:12:51 PM

@iceclock
@neon

The only reason I seem to prefer Nvidia is because I have this freezes (from when I bought the card, it is not something recent). I am afraid that getting an ATI again might lead to the same problem and i will feel very stupid :) 
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 3:14:06 PM

well with any manufacturer u can get bad cards, they pump out cards in the thounsands+, so yeah doesnt matter if its ati or nvidia. both can land u a bunk card.

thats why u have warranties so when that happens u can replace it without problems.

January 27, 2013 3:34:10 PM

gelon said:
@iceclock
@neon

The only reason I seem to prefer Nvidia is because I have this freezes (from when I bought the card, it is not something recent). I am afraid that getting an ATI again might lead to the same problem and i will feel very stupid :) 


You have a dual-GPU AMD card right now and dual-GPU cards/setups ALWAYS come with more problems than single-GPU ones. It's just how things work.

Both AMD and Nvidia have been very good about single-GPU driver support this round.

That said, I wouldn't make a purchase that's going to leave you wondering in the back of your mind if it's going to crap out from drivers in a year or so. If you think you'll be worried about it, just go with the 670.

Bear in mind that your CPU will bottleneck you in some games.
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 3:44:46 PM

yes, but he can overclock it to close the bottleneck issue as well.

670 is nice but cost more.

so it depends of how much u willing to spend. its either 670 or 7950 my top picks.

January 27, 2013 3:49:50 PM

BigMack70 said:
You have a dual-GPU AMD card right now and dual-GPU cards/setups ALWAYS come with more problems than single-GPU ones. It's just how things work.

Both AMD and Nvidia have been very good about single-GPU driver support this round.

That said, I wouldn't make a purchase that's going to leave you wondering in the back of your mind if it's going to crap out from drivers in a year or so. If you think you'll be worried about it, just go with the 670.

Bear in mind that your CPU will bottleneck you in some games.


Obviously, both you and iceclock are right. But people keep telling me that Nvidia is better in general. I guess this is a bit of an urban legend then?

Also, why would CPU be a bottleneck? It is not that old. Are some type of games more CPU intensive?
a c 180 U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 3:52:48 PM

Yes it will bottleneck in cpu intensive game with gtx 670 or hd 7970.
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 3:57:09 PM

might be a bottleneck, but will run well still until he upgrades his mobo+cpu+ram.

a b U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 3:59:59 PM

not only is that a dual gpu card, but its really getting on in years.

im surprised the fans are still working.
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 4:00:43 PM

youd be surprise how long cards can run :D 

a b U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 4:19:42 PM

Actually the best bang for the buck card in the 7950 and not the 670! Honestly 7950,670,7970 are all capable cards with only synthetic benchmarks able to spot the differences, I suggest you buys which ever one is the cheapest.
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 4:21:31 PM

+1 to redeemer yar.

January 27, 2013 6:53:19 PM

So, just to be clear, it is not possible that my specific PC setup could conflict with ATI cards? Because if that is the case, I would go for the 7970...
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 27, 2013 11:37:01 PM

not that i can think of any logical reason why it would.

January 28, 2013 2:02:28 AM

OK, thanx a lot for all your responses.
After those, I felt a bit more informed and looked a few more reviews under a different perspective. I think you convinced me that it is worth trying an ATI card again. I now feel almost positive that i am going for the 7970 although I understand that 7950 is more power/$.

Additionally, I feel ATI it is more probable that it will fulfill my particular need (in comparison with an nvidia card) that i mention at my original post:

gelon said:

-Finally something that is very important to me: I currently connect my PC to my TV through HDMI and to my monitor by DVI. My card has an embedded sound chip so it sends both sound+image to the TV. When I change from TV<->monitor (using WIN+P) the system automatically detects if it should send sound from the graphics card to the tv or from the mobo to the speakers. Is this now the case for all new cards? I would hate to buy a GTX670 and find out it is problematic in that aspect. (Since this is a very particular question, I hope someone knows the answer)
[/i]

So, to nitpick a little more, I find the sapphire 7970 vaporx to be very appealing. ASUS is a close 2nd, but it has 3 models which is a bit confusing (HD7970-DC2T-3GD5, HD7970-DC2-3GD5,HD7970-3GD5) and on top of that I see many posts that warn against the TOP version of the ASUS cards

Can anyone clarify? Any additional suggestions? Do any of you have (or have not) a 7970 that they would recommend?
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 28, 2013 2:12:59 AM

the vapor-x is one of the best design for cooling in my opinion.

Vapor Chamber Technology is based on the same principles as heatpipe technology. A liquid coolant is vaporised at a hot surface, the resulting vapor is condensed at a cold surface then the liquid is returned to the hot surface. The recirculation process is controlled by a wick system...

quite interesting.

id go with the vapor-x mang

January 28, 2013 10:47:22 AM

+1 to the Vapor-X; it's probably the card I would buy if I were buying today.

As to the ASUS cards, the DC2T has a custom cooler + slight factory overclock (probably to 1000 MHz), the DC2 has a custom cooler, and no the third one is just the vanilla reference card.

Pretty sure that's how they have things designated anyways.
January 28, 2013 3:13:41 PM

7970 VaporX it is then. Just ordered it :) 
(i tried to get the 7950 which is much better value for money but couldnt resist)

Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 28, 2013 3:39:42 PM

alright,. anytime gelon :) 

ive owned a vapor-x 4890 and the thing screamed :p 

January 28, 2013 4:20:04 PM

iceclock said:
alright,. anytime gelon :) 

ive owned a vapor-x 4890 and the thing screamed :p 


And the time is now, iceclock :) 
Last piece to finish the puzzle: Any good overclocking guides (or is it too easy)?
a b U Graphics card
January 28, 2013 4:34:37 PM

it's pretty darn easy, as you do it through software. just read up on limits and what to expect.
January 28, 2013 6:11:42 PM

gelon said:
And the time is now, iceclock :) 
Last piece to finish the puzzle: Any good overclocking guides (or is it too easy)?


It's super easy, but everyone does it a bit differently so it can be hard to find a guide that's 100% reliable/recommendable.

What I did on my 7970s was:
1) Guess an initial OC to set that I was fairly sure my card would hit on stock voltage (1100 or 1125 MHz is a decent place to start on a 7970)
2) Test that clock*
3) Increase clock by 25 MHz
4) Test the new clock
5) Repeat steps 3-4 until testing fails
6) Increase core voltage by 10 mV and retest
7) Repeat step 6 until the new clock passes initial testing
8) Go back to step 3, lowering the increment amount to 5 or 10 MHz if I think I'm near the card's max OC (the point where increasing voltage will no longer allow increasing clock speed stably)
9) With the max stable core OC obtained, OC the memory by guessing a starting clock (1500 MHz is a good place to start) and testing it with a 3dmark 11 P run
10) Increase the memory clock by 25-50 MHz and retest 3DMark's 11 P test each time until the scores start to decrease or it crashes (sometimes a bad memory overclock will not result in crashes or errors but instead with decreasing performance).

* Everyone tests their GPU overclocks differently. Early on in the overclocking process, when I didn't think I was near a max OC, I would just run a clock through a single 3dmark11 run or maybe a single Unigine loop. When I was fine tuning to find the max OC, I would loop 3Dmark11 and Unigine for a while and then game for a while in a few different games to see if it was stable.

So anyways that's the methodology I used more or less. About the only thing you absolutely should NOT do is just throw on the max volts that you can and then see how high of an overclock you can get - that's really ineffective and stupid for long term use but unfortunately it's what a lot of people do.
a c 81 U Graphics card
January 28, 2013 9:38:06 PM

theres people in the overclocking part of toms hardware forum that can help u more than me :)  and theres many guides also.

!