3 x GTX 680 or 3 x HD 7970

I've decided to build a new computer and while I normally avoid Radeon cards for a host of reasons, three-way Crossfire seems to largely overcome them -- bar less than ideal driver support. Given that the 7970 is arguably a more powerful card than the 680 and this overcoming of issues, I'm tempted to pick up AMD cards for the first time in quite a while. But I'm not sure.

This is what I'll be picking up:

Case: Corsair Obsidian 800D - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139001
PSU: Corsair AX1200i - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139039
Motherboard: ASUS Rampage IV Extreme - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131802
CPU: Intel i7 3930K - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116492
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 680 Lightning x 3 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127693
OR
GPU: MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning x 3 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127670
RAM: Corsair Domnator GT 16GB @ 2133Mhz CL9 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233230
HDD: Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236243
SSD: Intel 520 Series 240GB x 2 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167086
OS: Windows 8 64x

Obviously I chose the case so I could fit two radiators in -- a 360 up top for the CPU and a 240 down the bottom for the GPUs. Probably going to go with the Black Ice GTX's from Hardware Labs.

What would you go with - the three 680's or the three 7970's?

The 680's are the safe option, as Nvidia have been reliable driver wise for as long as I've used them and I've never had more than the rare and brief second of microstutter. The cards are solid and give smooth images. There's a lot to love.

The 7970's are perhaps more powerful in sheer grunt and can be overclocked to confirm that slight edge. But Radeon is less reliable for drivers and I've had seen their cards consistently inconsistent in their rendering -- the graphs I've spent a week or so searching for all show AMD GPUs much more prone to stutter. Then again, three-way Crossfire (like SLI) renders very smooth visuals, perhaps better than even a single card and miles better than dual cards.

I'm torn. Part of me wants to give the 7970's a go. The other half wants to go with the tried and true choice.

Any thoughts? Experiences? Things I've not thought of?
19 answers Last reply
More about 7970
  1. I think you should wait for the new graphics cards to come out
  2. what displays do you plan to use for those beasts? i was told by a respected guy that rule of thumb is one 7970/680 per 1 1920x1080 monitor

    and yes 770/780 and 8970 are just few months away, as well as haswell cpu
    if you want to pull trigger on such expensive machine, please wait it out. its liek 2-5 months at most

    best
    revro
  3. revro said:
    what displays do you plan to use for those beasts? i was told by a respected guy that rule of thumb is one 7970/680 per 1 1920x1080 monitor

    and yes 770/780 and 8970 are just few months away, as well as haswell cpu
    if you want to pull trigger on such expensive machine, please wait it out. its liek 2-5 months at most

    best
    revro

    Eh. I can upgrade again when they come out if they are any good. Really I'm just itching to pull the trigger on this build lol
  4. Since you seem to have plenty of money, why not buy three of each?
    Test out each configuration and sell the one you don't like as well.
  5. geofelt said:
    Since you seem to have plenty of money, why not buy three of each?
    Test out each configuration and sell the one you don't like as well.

    I can afford it, but don't want to be that reckless with money. Upgrading again in a year is alright. Having to resell three GPUs is a bit of a hassle and a bit of a waste (imo).

    The 7970's are pretty sexy in terms of power. I kinda wanna give them a go. But I can see myself regretting it. :/
  6. i wanted to pull trigger on something like that for 3.4k eur
    3x120hz 1080 lcds+haswell+3x8970 but then i decided just to upgrade my c2d e7500+radeon5750+4gbram into c2q q9550+gtx660ftw 3gb+8gb ram and it costed me 355eur.
    but i will go and buy 2560x1440 lcd hp zr2740w and trade 660 for 770 once it comes out :)

    best
    revro
  7. Go with 3X GTX 680 as it will be less painful for you.
  8. Do not wait. There won't be any new video cards till 2014. There will be a refresh/name change, but those GPU's will be based on the same 28nm technology used today.

    The only wait exception would be for the Asus Ares II or the nVidia Titian. The GK110 based Titan was likely suppose to be the GTX 680. But with problems - causing delays, nVidia hacked the compute power out of the GK104 and got the GTX 680/670 out to compete with the Radeon 79XX's.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Titan-Nvidia-GK110-gpu-tesla,20614.html
    http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/ARES26GD5/
  9. Uhhhh, the new Haswells and 700 series are slated to release in like 3 months... you could wait 3 months and be set for 2 years, or buy now, have to sell crap in 3 months, and buy more stuff...


    Wait for the new hardware to release THIS YEAR!!!
    You'll probably regret it otherwise...


    Getting the new hardware will mean getting a new mobo, CPU, GPU's, and maybe RAM...
  10. redeemer said:
    Go with 3X GTX 680 as it will be less painful for you.

    Yeah, I'm thinking you might be right. Which is a shame, because the 7970's were a bit of a change of pace lol
  11. ittimjones said:
    Uhhhh, the new Haswells and 700 series are slated to release in like 3 months... you could wait 3 months and be set for 2 years, or buy now, have to sell crap in 3 months, and buy more stuff...


    Wait for the new hardware to release THIS YEAR!!!
    You'll probably regret it otherwise...


    Getting the new hardware will mean getting a new mobo, CPU, GPU's, and maybe RAM...

    It's still months away at best. Delays, bad launches, poor support - could easily be a year before you want to upgrade.
  12. Haswell CPU's will be a lateral move, minimal performance gain. Intel is going to double the power of the integrated graphics. So all those extra transistors are going to be doing nothing for us enthusiasts running dedicated graphics cards.

    anyway,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb6X-2qWQFI
  13. I have always had the opinion that if you have the money now and are willing to spend what is out there now and for what you get then spend it. There will always be new stuff every 6 months to a year and if you wait for the new stuff then you will always wait. You have also made it clear that you are willing to upgrade later anyways and no one really knows the cos of the new stuff anyways. Maybe it is more than we expect. but as far as which 3 cards to get. I am partial to the 3 X 7970's but it is only my opinion. I don't think you can go wrong with either. Good Luck.
  14. A nice 4k monitor would go great with your system.
  15. well haswell will have like 10-15% more cpu power, like what you need to not bottleneck 3 gpus. also i would say probably to go with nvidia as they have much lower power consumption

    best
    revro
  16. maxinexus said:
    A nice 4k monitor would go great with your system.

    I'm not sure what to get in regard to a monitor. I was thinking of going with three, but even at 1920 x 1080, that'd drop my frames a fair bit in the more demanding games, like Metro. Then again, 2560 x 1440 on one monitor will do the same. I like me a hiiiiigh FPS.

    Hm. Not sure.
  17. You do realize that any fps over 60 may not actually be displayed anyway; it's a function of how monitors work. Plus your never see it anyway. So you need to push as many pixels as possible or it's a waste.
  18. microstudder doesnt occur with 3 card setups. (well it does, but at about the same frequency as single card setups.)

    dual card setups is where microstudder occurs, but nvidia is better for it than amd is.
  19. Microstudder... hopefully that doesn't have to be addressed.

    I was just thinking of the fps waste.
    A triple SLI/Crossfire settup resulting in fps in the many 100's are basically cancelled away on 60 or 120 Hz monitor.
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