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GTX 680 vs Radeon 7970 (liquid cooled, specific questions)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 27, 2013 2:08:59 AM

Hello everyone, I've probably spent hours searching the internet and reading forum posts here comparing these two graphics cards, and I know the 7970 is considered a better buy for the price overall, but I have a specific situation and I'm wondering if you guys could help me decide which of these two cards would be better for me.

I am building a computer and here are the specs I'm looking at so far.

intel i7 3770k
ASRock Z77 Extreme6 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Corsair Enthusiast 850W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (can upgrade if needed)
Custom liquid cooling (for both CPU and GPU)

Now to my specific situation
I have seen numerous benchmarks and performance comparisons of the two cards, but they are for top of the line games at top highest settings.
I on the other hand, am looking for a card that will best let me multi-box world of warcraft. I'm looking to be able to run 25 (or more) copies at the same time, so I can raid enemy cities by myself.
Do you guys think one of these cards is better than the other for this? I was thinking maybe the Radeon because it has more vram and higher memory bandwidth, but the GTX 480 is also sold in a 4gb form.
Price isn't really a problem, so you can ignore the price difference, i just want to know which you guys think will be better. I'd also appreciate if you could explain why you think one is better, i'm trying to learn more about this kind of thing and any information would be appreciated!

edit* forgot to mention that both the CPU and GPU will be part of a custom liquid cooling loop I am making, so overclocking is a definite possibility.

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a b U Graphics card
February 27, 2013 2:39:52 AM

Radeon HD7970 is better because, you said it, wider bus and more vRAM, and you can get it for way cheaper compared to GTX 680. So grab yourself one from either Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI or Sapphire. I would personally say Sapphire since I have them and they are awesome at cooling, overclocking, and staying quiet. You can overclock both cards without an issue, but make sure you buy one that is not voltage locked.

Watercooling is good if you need it. Some of us are doing that right at the moment to get even better cooling but I am having second thoughts on watercooling my cards due to their ability to run cooler and quieter even under heavy load.

So go with AMD Radeon 7970 and try to avoid XFX due to their intense jet engine-like coil whine even at 40% fan speed. Cheers!
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a b U Graphics card
February 27, 2013 2:45:04 AM

The 7970 is stronger and cheaper. I think the decision is pretty simple lol.


P.S. The 4GB 680 and 6GB 7970 GHz are for people that don't understand more=/=better. (No offense btw)
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February 27, 2013 2:55:41 AM

For your build, get an i5 3570k as its just as fast as the i7 (hyperthreads do not help games anyway) and spend the money saved on a better motherboard for overclocking. Also, make sure to get a 7970 GHz edition, since it has a higher clock at stock than the regular 7970, allowing for a bigger overclock.
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February 27, 2013 3:09:54 AM

Ghz or not, the 7970 will be fine for overclocking. I like a regular 7970 though when it comes to high to extreme over clocks. The powerboost or whatever it is that jumps the clocks is useless when ur overclocking it hard. I think more control over the card is better when your clocking the 7970 so high. U either turn off the boost or account for it in ur overclock. No matter what a 7970 is a nice card to go with.
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February 27, 2013 3:42:06 AM

hero1 said:
Radeon HD7970 is better because, you said it, wider bus and more vRAM, and you can get it for way cheaper compared to GTX 680. So grab yourself one from either Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI or Sapphire. I would personally say Sapphire since I have them and they are awesome at cooling, overclocking, and staying quiet. You can overclock both cards without an issue, but make sure you buy one that is not voltage locked.

So go with AMD Radeon 7970 and try to avoid XFX due to their intense jet engine-like coil whine even at 40% fan speed. Cheers!


is XFX fine if I'm going to be removing the stock cooler and using liquid cooling? I only ask because this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is only $370 after rebate. The MSI I was looking at is $400 - If one is higher quality than the other I don't mind paying more though


CaptainTom said:
The 7970 is stronger and cheaper. I think the decision is pretty simple lol.


P.S. The 4GB 680 and 6GB 7970 GHz are for people that don't understand more=/=better. (No offense btw)


None taken, I'm here to learn :) 

plasmaj12345 said:
For your build, get an i5 3570k as its just as fast as the i7 (hyperthreads do not help games anyway) and spend the money saved on a better motherboard for overclocking. Also, make sure to get a 7970 GHz edition, since it has a higher clock at stock than the regular 7970, allowing for a bigger overclock.


I was under the impression that while hyperthreading does not help for running a single game at high settings, it would provide a performance increase while running multiple applications. I'll be running numerous copies of world of warcraft at the same time.

Also, what is wrong with the motherboard I linked? I thought it looked like a decent one for OCing :( 

aznplayer213 said:
Ghz or not, the 7970 will be fine for overclocking. I like a regular 7970 though when it comes to high to extreme over clocks. The powerboost or whatever it is that jumps the clocks is useless when ur overclocking it hard. I think more control over the card is better when your clocking the 7970 so high. U either turn off the boost or account for it in ur overclock. No matter what a 7970 is a nice card to go with.


Like I asked earlier, does base clock (or GHZ vs. non-GHZ) matter when I'll be overclocking anyway? Do the GHZ versions have better screened parts or something, or is there no point spending more if I'm just going to be watercooling and overclocking anyway?

Thanks for all the answers so far btw!

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a c 91 U Graphics card
February 27, 2013 3:46:52 AM

devious21 said:

Like I asked earlier, does base clock (or GHZ vs. non-GHZ) matter when I'll be overclocking anyway? Do the GHZ versions have better screened parts or something, or is there no point spending more if I'm just going to be watercooling and overclocking anyway?

Thanks for all the answers so far btw!


Base clock does not actually matter, the GHZ editions are a bit of a gimick AMD did back in the day because the 680s were performing better than the stock 7970 original cards, and the GHz edition was released with a higher stock clock so AMD can take back the single GPU performance crown (which Nvidia is now snatching with the Titan).

It is however notable that the GHz editions are made later than the regular versions, where they have better perfected the manufacturing process and MAY overclock higher. however, the overclockability of each unit is independent and almost completely random without prior testing, so cross your fingers and hope you get lucky!
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February 27, 2013 8:22:11 AM

Looks like the radeon 7970 is winning this battle so far, so the tricky part is to find a radeon 7970 that isn't super expensive and also has a GPU block designed for it. Reference cards would probably be the best...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... looks like it's got the AMD reference pcb design

any more thoughts/answers to my other random questions? :) 
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a c 91 U Graphics card
February 27, 2013 2:15:57 PM

the sapphire dual X 7970 also has reference PCB
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a b U Graphics card
February 27, 2013 4:17:36 PM

devious21 said:
Looks like the radeon 7970 is winning this battle so far, so the tricky part is to find a radeon 7970 that isn't super expensive and also has a GPU block designed for it. Reference cards would probably be the best...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... looks like it's got the AMD reference pcb design

any more thoughts/answers to my other random questions? :) 


The GHz is slightly faster than the standard one clock for clock. It also tends to have higher binned parts which = higher max overclock. It is pretty standard to get a GHz to 1300/1850.
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