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Sapphire Radeon 7870 XT vs Radeon 7950 Sapphire or Gigabyte

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February 22, 2013 5:59:51 AM

Hi!

First my rig:

CPU: Core i5 3570K OC to 4,5 GHz (able to go for 4,9-5 GHz on air, not exceeding 85 degrees - but not needed now)
GPU: GTX 560 Ti DC II @950/2150 MHz
Mobo: MSI Z77-GD55
CPU Cooler: Enermax ETS T40-TA (1 fan config)
Case: CM HAF 912 PLUS (2 fans for now, getting upper 200mm soon)
PSU: Corsair 750W
Screen: 24 inch Iiyama (1920x1080)

Now i feel the urgent need to change my GPU.

I checked lot of tests and what I've noticed is that because I love to play on high AA and AF I'm loosing performance mainly cause of 1 GB 256 bit memory but also my core isn't now as strong as it was before.

I don't consider SLI as an option.

I have three choices which I can afford (Prices in Poland but I will give it in $)

1. New Sapphire Radeon 7870 XT - 300$ + shipment
2. Used Sapphire Radeon 7950 Vapor-X (20 month warranty left ) - 300$ + shipment
3. Used Gigabyte 7950 OC 1 GHz (34 month warranty left) - 302$ + shipment

New 7950 with decent cooler is minimum 370$ and I'm low on budget since I bought my rig month ago.

I'm playing 1920x1080, I like to use AA/AF and I want to be able to run most games on Ultra settings. I'm also a bit affraid of buying used cards because there is OC mania now in POland and lot of people squeeze their cards to maximum so I'm affraid that those used cards may have hidden flaws.

Is it worth it to risk? Considering my config will 7950 give me that much of extra boost?
February 22, 2013 6:13:18 AM

dont buy second hand cards. the 7870xt is barely behind the 7950, just get the 7870xt.
February 22, 2013 6:41:27 AM

Avoid the 7950 Vapor-X. its VRM cooling is almost as worse as the XFX DD cooler, not to mention the newer models are voltage locked, really defeating the purpose of the 7950 as an overclocking beast (Sapphire provide 2 years warranty, so 20 months warranty left indicates to me its 4 months old, which is around 2 months after the voltage lock in the cards bios)

I disagree about not buying used cards, the 7950 is a good card.

However, if you can get a nearly identical performing card brand new for the same price, I would definitely go for that. Imo a 7950 is good, but a brand new 7870 XT is better. After all, put it this way. If the 7950 they were selling was an overclocking beast, they probably wouldn't sell it.
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February 22, 2013 7:17:33 AM

Someone gave You negreps without saying why he disagrees, I decided to fix it with pluses :)  Besides - to the person who negrepped, for me it's more useful to see an answer or solution to my problem and not to see negreps on answers without givin the reason.

Back to the topic: I see You use a 7950 so I guess You know a lot about this GPU. In fact the only thing which worries me in 7870 XT is 1 GB of VRAM less and as far as I remember worse bandwidth. So what You say is it won't affect performance that much?

I'm really close to get this Sapphire 7870XT. Link to the card (polish review) http://www.frazpc.pl/aktualnosci/923135,sapphire-radeon...

So i guess it will be my choice... Nothing in "green team" to compare right?
February 23, 2013 7:05:10 PM

Mephic said:
Someone gave You negreps without saying why he disagrees, I decided to fix it with pluses :)  Besides - to the person who negrepped, for me it's more useful to see an answer or solution to my problem and not to see negreps on answers without givin the reason.

Back to the topic: I see You use a 7950 so I guess You know a lot about this GPU. In fact the only thing which worries me in 7870 XT is 1 GB of VRAM less and as far as I remember worse bandwidth. So what You say is it won't affect performance that much?

I'm really close to get this Sapphire 7870XT. Link to the card (polish review) http://www.frazpc.pl/aktualnosci/923135,sapphire-radeon...

So i guess it will be my choice... Nothing in "green team" to compare right?

well the extra 1gb of ram on the 7950 deosnt affect any game i can think of unless your playing with multi-monitors to use that vram, except skyrim with rediculous mods to fill up the vram. the bandwidth makes minimal difference, the gtx660ti keeps up pretty well with a stock 7950 and has much lower memory bandwidth > http://techreport.com/review/23419/nvidia-geforce-gtx-6... .
The only place the lower memory bandwidth will fall short a bit will be with 8xAA and maybe triple monitor resolutions or in situations that are using a LOT of texture memory. but even the 7870xt has higher bandwidth than the 660ti, and like i said, the660ti is a great performer with much lower bandwidth 192bit memory. so your answer to the green team is the 660ti compares, but the 7870xt is better performance for your $$.
February 23, 2013 7:39:38 PM

Meh, the only time I see a more than 2GB usage is Crysis 2 with MaldoHD 4.0 in 1440p.

On 1080p, I was seeing something like 1.6 GB Used.
February 25, 2013 7:15:34 AM

OK than - thank You for Your replies. I'm quite lucky cause now I have a choice - 300 bucks for 7870XT from Sapphire or 340 bucks for 7950 from Gigabyte with Windforce cooler... If I will gather 40 extra bucks I'll go for 7950 but if not I'll stay with 7870 XT. Thanks!
March 7, 2013 11:53:58 AM

Well... just wanted to say that after long thinking and sudden raise of budget I went for 7950 Windforce 3x (unlocked voltage) - after reading the reviews it seems that it was best bang for buck.

I'm receiving it tommorow so I will let You know how it performs although I think it will be enough for what I need :)  Hope it fits my 912 PLUS without problems, but I have demounted the cage so there shouldn't be any
March 8, 2013 4:45:06 AM

Cool. I didn't get a notification about you responding, so sorry about that. The 7950 is a great overclocker, hope you get a good overclock and you'll be set for a little while. Especially overclock the memory, the 7950 is really good in that department.
March 9, 2013 12:00:25 PM

So I'm back to square one - I received the Gigabyte WF3 rev 2.0 (although ordered 1.0) with bollocks FZ0 BIOS which has voltage locked in hardware, not in software.

Also the card was not stable at its stock 1,25v voltage and stock clocks (1000 MHz core) - so I returned it faster than I got it.

Now I don't know what to buy - WF3 cooler is awesome but I see I can't dream about having it because the new Gigabyte revisions are crap (this card actually had this bs boost function).

Now I'm affraid that manufacturers are so low that they all decided to release Boost version of their cards and now shops in Poland sell boost versions much cheaper than normal ones because of problems with them.

So now I have to decide - Twin Frozr III vs Dual-X from Sapphire - any Chance I can get locked card again? Which cooler is better and quieter? cause WF was so quiet I thought it's passive card ;) 
March 9, 2013 8:07:53 PM

Both are fantastic coolers and I believe both are voltage unlocked.

The advantage of TF3 for the avid overclocker.... the newer revisions have 8+6 pin with a 7970 PCB, giving you better overclocking abilities. Much better overclocking abilities, most people I've seen with 7970 PCB 7950's get around 1150.

Go for that one, and make sure you get the newest revision with 8+6 pins. You could still get a 6+6 Pin if you get an old one.
March 9, 2013 9:24:23 PM

Well because of the TIM problems and informations that most of the TFIII in my country come locked now, decided to take DualX Boost on 7950 PCB (2x6 pin) - it is mainly caused by the fact, that some people reported that 2x8 pin version which is available here is also locked which is really sick.

Well... I couldn't get my WF3 stable at 1,1 GHz 1,25v (which was locked voltage) so I hope this one can at least make it. Besides don't like the looks of TFIII :) 
March 9, 2013 9:39:01 PM

Yeah. If you want guaranteed unlocking, get an asus 7950. I've owned both the v1 and v2 models (Make sure you get the v2 if you do get it, its the 7970 cooler), and they've both been unlocked. No one I have seen who has owned on it on forums has ever had locked voltage on it. Its two and a half slots though.
March 11, 2013 11:56:06 PM

Well... I decided to listen to You. I switched Sapphire 7950to Asus 7950 DCuII TOP V2.

And I must say this is the best card which I ever had!

I can do 1075 MHz Core and 5400 MHz vram on stock voltage. (1,093v)
Than also the voltages are unlocked so I had no problems with 1200 MHz on core -> 1,21v

The card has also possibility to set vram voltage and all the sensors which I need (vrm temp, vram temp, core temp) - I love it! And the cooling system is the best I've ever seen. During idle it never goes over 10% and card is under 30 degrees. During load, after OC the fans go 25% max (!!!) and the card stays below 63 degrees. It's just crazy! The card itself is huge but the fact that the cooler is metal not plastic makes me feel much more confident that it will stay alive for long time :)  It looks and performs awesome. No problem getting past 7970 performance - so thank You! This was the most expensive 7950 in my country, but now I know why.
March 12, 2013 12:24:20 AM

Glad you enjoy it. I have the same card too, absolutely love it. Planning to get a second one soon.
March 12, 2013 12:34:25 AM

Yup, CFX those cards... My dream :)  still a bit affraid of microstutters. And my 750W PSU wouldn't handle it. It's just a TX version.
Anonymous
March 12, 2013 1:13:48 AM

Good choice if you got the money i would never reccomend a 7870 of any sort over the 7950.The extra gig of memory will help sooner then later.By the way modded skyrim uses over 2 gb vram and id guess more games over the next year will use more then that to.Not going to suprize me if gta 5 uses more then that.I would have gotten the sapphire dual x much better overclocker then the asus.comes with a much higher voltage which means it will overclock quite alot higher.I got 2 of them in crossfire 1 goes to 1175 mhz and the other 1200 mhz no voltage tweak at all
March 12, 2013 1:17:04 AM

Mephic said:
Yup, CFX those cards... My dream :)  still a bit affraid of microstutters. And my 750W PSU wouldn't handle it. It's just a TX version.


LOL a TX650 is enough with bit of room to spare. Not recommend for 650W, but your 750 W is perfect, not overkill but not underkill.
March 13, 2013 10:59:50 AM

And the GPU is DEAD! After 48 hours it started to artifact EVERYWHERE. 2D/3D mode, tried changing drivers, checked other components - probably memory down. It is the second 7950 I RMA'd in one week, besides two different service centers confirmed that last 7950/7970 series in Poland are a disaster - lot of RMA's and problems with dying VRAM. I decided to go MSI GTX 660Ti Power Edition TFIV (yes I read about overvolting and to be honest - I love this idea) - and I'm confident that it was a wrong decision giving AMD a chance.

March 13, 2013 12:22:37 PM

Sorry you feel that way. Enjoy your new 660ti, they are both good cards. You just must be unlucky.
March 14, 2013 5:19:02 AM

Yep - maybe it was lack of luck, still for 1080p I guess it's a good choice. Read loads of reviews, checked performance on newest drivers and it seems that lack of bus doesn't influence performance much, especially considering the fact that Power Edition can overclock really well. I really liked 7950 performance but two broken cards from two different manufacturers... come on :)  This can't be just a coincidence. I guess we don't receive best cards in Poland... and we pay a lot for them so that's ridiculous. I decided not to go over 1080p ever so I guess that in approximately 2-3 years I will just change to 760Ti or whatever similar. :) 
March 14, 2013 5:58:13 AM

Mephic said:
So I'm back to square one - I received the Gigabyte WF3 rev 2.0 (although ordered 1.0) with bollocks FZ0 BIOS which has voltage locked in hardware, not in software.

Also the card was not stable at its stock 1,25v voltage and stock clocks (1000 MHz core) - so I returned it faster than I got it.

Now I don't know what to buy - WF3 cooler is awesome but I see I can't dream about having it because the new Gigabyte revisions are crap (this card actually had this bs boost function).

Now I'm affraid that manufacturers are so low that they all decided to release Boost version of their cards and now shops in Poland sell boost versions much cheaper than normal ones because of problems with them.

So now I have to decide - Twin Frozr III vs Dual-X from Sapphire - any Chance I can get locked card again? Which cooler is better and quieter? cause WF was so quiet I thought it's passive card ;) 


i find it hard to believe that the 7950 isnt stable at 1000/1250 at 1.25 volts
by the way, its not locked, its only your afterburner doing that, the voltage is unlocked in trixx , which you should have looked at before returning it
source: I have a Gigabyte 7950 Rev 2.0
March 14, 2013 7:11:32 AM

Wrong. I tried the trixx and nothing. It mostly depends on bios You have. Cards with Fz0 came with hardware voltage lock - period. And no it wasn't stable. Know what I saw :) 
March 15, 2013 12:24:18 AM

Got my MSI 660Ti PE OC Edition

Yesterday after long overclocking session i finally got myself:

@1280 MHz Core (1,175v) and @6600 MHz memory (stock v)

Over 9300 PScore in 3dmark11, almost 10000 GPU score.

I'm really pleased :) 
Anonymous
March 15, 2013 12:43:19 AM

Ya thats crazy ive owned now 5 7950's and never had one that wouldnt do atleast 1125 mhz core stable with no volt tweaks.seems maybe the 7950's are getting crappy now maybe there just selling all the leftovers
March 15, 2013 2:40:57 AM

Anonymous said:
Ya thats crazy ive owned now 5 7950's and never had one that wouldnt do atleast 1125 mhz core stable with no volt tweaks.seems maybe the 7950's are getting crappy now maybe there just selling all the leftovers


Uhm.. you rarely get 1100 mhz with no voltage tweak, 99% of the 7950's get around 1000-1040 at stock. You are obviously doing something wrong.
Anonymous
March 15, 2013 3:09:22 AM

JJ1217 said:
Anonymous said:
Ya thats crazy ive owned now 5 7950's and never had one that wouldnt do atleast 1125 mhz core stable with no volt tweaks.seems maybe the 7950's are getting crappy now maybe there just selling all the leftovers


Uhm.. you rarely get 1100 mhz with no voltage tweak, 99% of the 7950's get around 1000-1040 at stock. You are obviously doing something wrong.

See its people like you that really irritate me.What you think i just make this stuff up or something?Ive been building computers for 15 years i know what im doing.I must be doing something right that i hit these clocks.I rarely touch voltage if i do its a one time thing to run a bench or two then i run max stable overclocks with no voltage tweaks for gaming.I can tell you exact clocks of all my 7950's stable.Keep in mind this is with no voltage tweaks.Right now i have 2 sapphire dual x cards in crossfire my top card hits 1190 mhz my bottom card does 1170 mhz.I game with both set to 1160/1500 no tweak.My first 7950 was an iceQ the first one that came out i hit 1160 mhz.Then i had 2 twin frozr's both would hit 1125-1140mhz no tweak.Actually my weakest overclocker was an xfx 7970 reference i could hit about 1120 on that one.You also have to remember the sapphire dual x comes with a higher stock voltage so they can usually match a good 7970 at stock voltage.I blame the lower stock voltage for the twin frozr's not getting higher.Maybe im just getting lucky but im pretty sure the majority of 7950's will do 1100 mhz stock volts.believe what you will ive become more of a bencher then a gamer the last few years so im not new at this.
March 15, 2013 3:25:43 AM

Come on I didn't want to start an argument :)  Anyone knows if my 660Ti OC is OK? I can't seem to raise memory more but I didn't adjust memory voltage, so will do some tweaking when needed.

I know that You can get a shi**y card and a golden gpu. It's the same as with my CPU - I can do 4,5 GHz on 1,18v keeping temps in games below 60. So yeah, You can get lucky :) 

I'm actually quite sad, because Asus (before it died) 7950 was doing nice 1100 overclock (or at least it survived the benchmark) and I got +150 score in comparison with 660ti, but still I think over 9300 points is decent for such a low TDP card.
March 19, 2013 5:17:22 PM

Mephic said:
Come on I didn't want to start an argument :)  Anyone knows if my 660Ti OC is OK? I can't seem to raise memory more but I didn't adjust memory voltage, so will do some tweaking when needed.

I know that You can get a shi**y card and a golden gpu. It's the same as with my CPU - I can do 4,5 GHz on 1,18v keeping temps in games below 60. So yeah, You can get lucky :) 

I'm actually quite sad, because Asus (before it died) 7950 was doing nice 1100 overclock (or at least it survived the benchmark) and I got +150 score in comparison with 660ti, but still I think over 9300 points is decent for such a low TDP card.


How does the 660ti compare to your old 7950 from asus for gaming?
March 19, 2013 10:20:10 PM

Well - its quite the same with msAAx4. My final OC is 1333 core and 7400 memory:
In far cry 3 1080p 4xaa, everything on ultra and maximum view range I get stable 45 FPS which is kind of great :) 
March 21, 2013 12:32:06 PM

Mephic said:
Well - its quite the same with msAAx4. My final OC is 1333 core and 7400 memory:
In far cry 3 1080p 4xaa, everything on ultra and maximum view range I get stable 45 FPS which is kind of great :) 


If you were to suggest the 660ti OR the Sapphire 7950, which one would you recommend? I'm thinking about buying the Radeon as it comes with 2 games and is comparable to the 660ti and in some cases better. I am planning on overclocking it as well.
March 21, 2013 1:41:21 PM

ultra_blue said:
Mephic said:
Come on I didn't want to start an argument :)  Anyone knows if my 660Ti OC is OK? I can't seem to raise memory more but I didn't adjust memory voltage, so will do some tweaking when needed.

I know that You can get a shi**y card and a golden gpu. It's the same as with my CPU - I can do 4,5 GHz on 1,18v keeping temps in games below 60. So yeah, You can get lucky :) 

I'm actually quite sad, because Asus (before it died) 7950 was doing nice 1100 overclock (or at least it survived the benchmark) and I got +150 score in comparison with 660ti, but still I think over 9300 points is decent for such a low TDP card.


How does the 660ti compare to your old 7950 from asus for gaming?


ultra_blue said:
Mephic said:
Well - its quite the same with msAAx4. My final OC is 1333 core and 7400 memory:
In far cry 3 1080p 4xaa, everything on ultra and maximum view range I get stable 45 FPS which is kind of great :) 


If you were to suggest the 660ti OR the Sapphire 7950, which one would you recommend? I'm thinking about buying the Radeon as it comes with 2 games and is comparable to the 660ti and in some cases better. I am planning on overclocking it as well.


A 7950 can easily overclock to 1.1 GHZ (99 % of all 7950's can do this without trouble, maybe a slight overvolt). 1.2 GHZ is also extremely easy but maybe only 60% of all 7950's can get there. I can get there, but for me it takes a 100 mv boost from 1.175V to 1.275V to get from 1.1 to 1.2, which isn't worth it. Sometimes you'll hear cards getting 1150-1170 at stock, this is because the default bios is loaded with a default of 1.25V, so it doesn't crash because of the boost.
March 21, 2013 1:58:17 PM

Everything depends on chip :)  I got a bit better 3dmark score with my 660ti after oc than 7950 1150 MHz. But my 660ti asics is 85% so i was quite lucky and it oc like crazy. In games... Well it's a choice between better drivers or wider mem bandwidth. 7950 is cool but if I would have to choose again I'd take same exact card I own now. Power edition is awesome.
March 21, 2013 2:35:02 PM

Mephic said:
Everything depends on chip :)  I got a bit better 3dmark score with my 660ti after oc than 7950 1150 MHz. But my 660ti asics is 85% so i was quite lucky and it oc like crazy. In games... Well it's a choice between better drivers or wider mem bandwidth. 7950 is cool but if I would have to choose again I'd take same exact card I own now. Power edition is awesome.


Interesting. I want to see how a heavily overclocked 7950 stacks up to a heavily overclocked 660ti. You don't see a 660TI overclocked as you have too often.

Can you try running Unigine Valley Benchmark, at 1080p maxed settings (8xAA, Ultra Quality, DX11, Stereo 3D disabled, single monitor. Make sure its full screen too).

I want to see how this stacks up. Just start up the program with those settings and click on benchmark, and save it once its done.
March 21, 2013 2:38:28 PM

JJ1217 said:
Mephic said:
Everything depends on chip :)  I got a bit better 3dmark score with my 660ti after oc than 7950 1150 MHz. But my 660ti asics is 85% so i was quite lucky and it oc like crazy. In games... Well it's a choice between better drivers or wider mem bandwidth. 7950 is cool but if I would have to choose again I'd take same exact card I own now. Power edition is awesome.


Interesting. I want to see how it does stack up to a heavily overclocked 660ti. You don't see a 660TI overclocked as you have too often.

Can you try running Unigine Valley Benchmark, at maxed settings (8xAA, Ultra Quality, DX11, Stereo 3D disabled, single monitor. Make sure its full screen too).

I want to see how this stacks up. Just start up the program with those settings and click on benchmark, and save it once its done.


Yes, please reply with the results when you do this. I'd also like to see this.
March 22, 2013 2:06:49 PM

OK

So basically I got two results:

First is Ultra, 1920x1080, 8xMSAA






Second is Ultra 1920x1080, 4x MSAA (this setting is what I use in most games)
Now tell me is it good :)  Cause I have no idea (never used valley before)

March 22, 2013 2:49:24 PM

Its pretty decent, but I beat your 660TI by a considerable amount.


March 22, 2013 2:58:49 PM

Yep - that's probably the memory comin into play. Can You try with AAx4?
March 22, 2013 3:27:29 PM

I can't be bothered cropping a picture again, but the results are basically the same this time:

AVG: 55.4 FPS
Score: 2320
Min: 27.1
Max: 105.0
March 22, 2013 4:12:25 PM

Nice...

One thing which seems interesting is Your first score - ppl on board who posted their scores (not this forum) seemed to have this (or a bit higher) score with 1250 on core, not 1100. You run it on default CCC settings?
March 22, 2013 4:46:39 PM

Mephic said:
Nice...

One thing which seems interesting is Your first score - ppl on board who posted their scores (not this forum) seemed to have this (or a bit higher) score with 1250 on core, not 1100. You run it on default CCC settings?


hmm? Sorry I had it clocked at 1200 only when I need the FPS. For this scenario it was at 1200/1600, I normally run it at 900/1250 downvolted to .993 V instead of 1.094V. If I need the extra frames, I'll have a second profile at 1.175 volts at 1100/1600. I have multiple profiles for different needs.

This particular instance with the Valley benchmark it was at 1200/1600.

March 23, 2013 12:49:08 AM

ah so i get it :) 
March 23, 2013 10:16:22 AM

thanks for sharing your test results guys. appreciate it.
March 25, 2013 12:31:47 AM

Well I reran my test with almost 1350 MHz on core and 7700 MHz on memory - got myself 41,5 FPS, quite nice boost, but the card isn't 100% stable.

Tried to mess with voltage, but I guess 1333/7200 will be my maximum for 24/7. Yesterday tried Skyrim with 89 mods (including over 20 graphical mods) - game is ultra fluent, everything on maximum. So memory is not a problem here again.

!