Results: Battlefield 3
Again, a $30 savings seems to be worthwhile, given the performance sacrifice you make going from Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition to R9 280X. Then again, with vanilla 7970s already selling for $300 online, you didn’t exactly need to wait for a re-brand for access to Tahiti at a great price.
Although AMD fails to impress relative to its prior-generation products, it fares better against GeForce GTX 760. The R9 costs $50 extra, but is probably what you’d want in order to play Battlefield 3 smoothly at 2560x1440 using the Ultra detail preset. Really, the GeForce card is more of a match-up to AMD’s older Radeon HD 7950. But that model is going to disappear, and Nvidia doesn’t have anything else short of $400 to go up against the R9 280X at $300.
I’m not sure it’s worth spending an extra $20 for an R9 270X when the Radeon HD 7870 comes as close as it does. But you’ll probably want to choose the 7870 over Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 660, even at the adjusted $180 price point.
R7 260X’s advantage over the Radeon HD 7790 is marginal. Its lead over the GeForce GTX 650 Ti is similarly small. But the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost is quite a bit faster and only $10 pricier. That’s a smarter play for Battlefield 3 using the Ultra detail preset at 1920x1080.
Charting frame rate over time is good for monitoring dips into unplayable territory. At 2560x1440, you can see the R9 270X does keep minimum performance a bit smoother than the Radeon HD 7870 in a handful of passages. That could help make a case for spending the extra $30 on AMD’s higher-clocked board (or for simply overclocking your 7870).
There’s little of interest to report from our frame time variance charts. In single-card configurations, each of these solutions behaves itself.