7970 & 680 - Has anyone owned both?

That's_Corporate

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I'm looking to get a single 7970 or 680 for my next rig, but it's been very tough to choose because I game at a resolution between "normal" and "large" (2560 x 1600). It seems that if my resolution was a bit lower, a 680 would be the recommended choice. If I was running multiple monitors, it seems the 7970 VRAM advantage would be the selling point. The benchmarks at my resolution seem to point to the two cards being almost identical.

I'm coming from a 4870x2 and the stutter and driver issues have been a real pain. I'm looking for a "smoother" and easier gaming experience, that's for sure. I've heard that SLI is smoother than CFX, but does that also hold true with the single cards? Will a single 680 feel "smoother" than a 7970?

I'd like actual owners to chime in because the benchmarks don't seem to speak to these small nuances - and I'd like to make the smartest choice possible!
 

Eshelmen

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Think of it this way.
In one year you will ask the same question about the next gen....

Pick one and get your use of your money with either one.
 

Forceman

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The VRAM issue is overblown, testing has shown no limitations with 2GB even at Eyefinity resolutions, particularly for single cards.
 

extide

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IMO the 7970 provides a better value, regardless of which card is actually FASTER.
 

DJ Big T

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7970, only because you said you want to game at higher res or have the option to - the 7970 does higher resolutions better.
 

DooKey

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I went from 7970 CF to 680 SLI and I'm much happier. The 680s seem much smoother. Also, I haven't had game problems like I did with the 7970s. I had lockups, and other issues, that I haven't had with the 680s. I'm glad I switched.
 

wadec22

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i've owned both. big differences for me:

7970: can play with volts for ocing, drivers had some trouble but bothered me a little less than 680 drivers, tearing across multiple screens bothered me (doens't affect u)

680: MUCH quieter, going from gaming to desktop drivers are bothersome, works with a lot more titles out of the box, no tearing.

you can't go wrong. if i were to go back, i probably would have kept my 7970 b/c it oc'ed like a boss. both great cards. pick a company you like and enjoy your purchase.

btw, neither felt "smoother" than the other in single card configs. tested sli briefly, i'm still too sensitive to multiple gpu setups.
 

WillC310

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A few people have owned both and posted about it in some other threads.. Seems like a tossup but I'd say that there might be a few more people that kept Green and sold Red. FWIW I've owned both a 7950 and 670 and kept my 670 but I game @1900x1200. My previous card was a reference 5850 that I loved when it came out and had no big issues with.

My reference 7950 was a good deal cheaper than the 670 but it idled at 50 c (dual monitors, which apparently causes AMD to generate more heat), and then when I started gaming, it got hotter and the fans were loud. My reference 670 idles at 37 c and the fan is noticeably quieter @the same fan % that the AMD card would ramp to - the hottest I've seen it was 80c @50% fan speed. OC wise, I only got my 7950 to 1100MHz before I started having stability problems, my 670 autoboosts to 1050 without me tweaking anything.

Hopefully more people will chime in with their own personal experience and this won't turn into a shit thread.
 

AndreRio

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amd has an updated version of the 7970. they call it the 7970 "ghz". make sure you get that if u decide to go with ati.
the 7970 ghz seem to be faster than the 680 when playing at very high resolutions.
 
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heatlesssun

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I've not owned top line AMD GPU since before they bought ATi. In terms of performance not much separates the cards. Where I think NVidia won this round in the hearts of gamers is that that look at GPUs from top to bottom and instead of just trying to out muscle AMD that simply outsmarted them. And any one that wants to deny AMD's driver problems is going to have a tough time explaining why they now have adopted the same driver philosophy that nVidia dissed AMD five years ago, We'll release drivers when they are READY and not on some artificial schedule.

Kudos though to AMD for admitting that it's stroke of genius was just a stroke. For me, AMD and nVidia both make great hardware, and the balance does go back and forth, AMD has done very well in GPUs for that last three years and has bested nVidia. I don't own an 7970 but my 3 680s are awesome.
 

MacLeod

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Id go with the 7970 simply because its $50-60 cheaper than the GTX680 and overclocks like crazy ad I enjoy overclocking. Biggest reason I want to upgrade my 5870 - it wont hardly overclock passed stock clocks because Im a moron and bought the reference model with locked voltage.
 
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The 7970 is a beast. Should be a better choice for high resolution gaming too. The only issue with the 7900 series has been drivers but AMD has finally seemed to fix that with the 12.7 drivers.
 

heatlesssun

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The 7970 is a beast. Should be a better choice for high resolution gaming too. The only issue with the 7900 series has been drivers but AMD has finally seemed to fix that with the 12.7 drivers.

You don't fix all the driver issues that AMD has had with a single driver release especially in light of the fact that they have changed their driver release strategy that's EXACTLY like the driver release strategy that nVidia countered AMD with when AMD announced this completely artificial schedule of monthly driver releases about six years ago.

I am not slamming AMD, I'd be happy to own 3 7970s as long as they didn't degrade my sig rig's performance. AMD has dug itself into a deep driver hole that one driver release will not fix.

That said, I may get an 7850 for my main Windows 8 rig until hardware that's been developed with Windows 8 in mind comes out.
 

extide

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You don't fix all the driver issues that AMD has had with a single driver release especially in light of the fact that they have changed their driver release strategy that's EXACTLY like the driver release strategy that nVidia countered AMD with when AMD announced this completely artificial schedule of monthly driver releases about six years ago.

I am not slamming AMD, I'd be happy to own 3 7970s as long as they didn't degrade my sig rig's performance. AMD has dug itself into a deep driver hole that one driver release will not fix.

That said, I may get an 7850 for my main Windows 8 rig until hardware that's been developed with Windows 8 in mind comes out.

With just a single card the 7970's run basically perfect these days. 12.7 drivers improve performance a bunch as well.
 

kinjo

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Speaking as someone who has owned both at 2560x1400 (I Imagine 2560x1600 would be very similar) the performance is almost identical. Usually the 680 is a little faster but nothing that you would notice if you were not staring at a fraps counter.

The only real difference between the two tbh has been sound, the reference cooler on the 680 is way quieter; but once you get into non reference coolers they are both extremely quiet and cool.

That being said I also had xfire 7970 and that was not a set up I enjoyed lots of very noticeable microstutter.

So in the end my advice would be get whatever card is cheapest unless want to go multi gpu at some point then the 680 wins hands down.
 

Podadam

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Speaking as someone who has owned both at 2560x1400 (I Imagine 2560x1600 would be very similar) the performance is almost identical. Usually the 680 is a little faster but nothing that you would notice if you were not staring at a fraps counter.


So in the end my advice would be get whatever card is cheapest unless want to go multi gpu at some point then the 680 wins hands down.

This man knows what hes talking about
 

rudy

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If you are having a hard time deciding go with nVidia, I purchased a 7950 which is pretty close to a 7970 and the performance is good and all but the drivers are not. So for me the lower risk would be going with nVidia.

nVidia cards just seem to be more flexible out of the box too.

It is pretty sad but I am not happy with the 7950 and there is nothing I can do about it without spending more money which kinda kills the value of the card. AMD has had HDMI audio issues with their drivers for months now and been unable to fix them. The card cant run powerful monitors in multiple configurations unless they are all DP monitors. Its the kind of stuff I dont think I need to look up on a high end card and I paid for it, with nVidias offering even in the mid range I never had a problem.

The only other option would be to break the tie on price, this is where AMD usually takes its wins, but they price break is what you get for crap drivers.
 
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You don't fix all the driver issues that AMD has had with a single driver release especially in light of the fact that they have changed their driver release strategy that's EXACTLY like the driver release strategy that nVidia countered AMD with when AMD announced this completely artificial schedule of monthly driver releases about six years ago.

I am not slamming AMD, I'd be happy to own 3 7970s as long as they didn't degrade my sig rig's performance. AMD has dug itself into a deep driver hole that one driver release will not fix.

That said, I may get an 7850 for my main Windows 8 rig until hardware that's been developed with Windows 8 in mind comes out.

Of course even the 12.7 drivers are not perfect, they still have some issues in more complex setups like triple cards running eyefinity, etc. But they are a huge improvement, and they are pretty much perfect for a single card solution. Indeed AMD should not have messed up this badly with the drivers.
 

BababooeyHTJ

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Of course even the 12.7 drivers are not perfect, they still have some issues in more complex setups like triple cards running eyefinity, etc. But they are a huge improvement, and they are pretty much perfect for a single card solution. Indeed AMD should not have messed up this badly with the drivers.

If you think that Nvidia's kepler drivers are perfect you haven't tried a GTX 670.
 

sk3tch

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The VRAM issue is overblown, testing has shown no limitations with 2GB even at Eyefinity resolutions, particularly for single cards.

Oh really?

5760x1080, BF3 MP, all maxed (motion blur: off),


(click for original source image - warning - HUGE file)
 

psyside

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12.5,12.6,12.7 are all good drivers generally, (and 12.7 being great) and they are huge improvement from 12.2, 12.3, 12.4 etc!

AMD atm is actually better with drivers then Nvidia!
 

Toonie

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Owned both, kept the 680 at the end. Its less of a problem for the games i play. The 7970 is a good card also but with the 680, I don't have to worry much about the next driver destroying my game time + its cooler/quieter ;)
 

sk3tch

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My experience (I have owned 7970 CFX and obviously I own multiple 680 SLI rigs) is that if you want a single card solution - the 7970 is great. If you want a (potential) multi-card solution, nothing beats SLI. The only reason I kept one of my 7970s is because the market for the cards took a dump. They're going for ~$400. Whereas I was able to get $450-$500 easy for my 680. So - if you're like me and re-sell/upgrade every 3 months or so - NVIDIA is a better choice, as well. :)

Both are great cards. If I were to only buy one, it'd be a souped-up 680 like the MSI Lightning 680. They're ridiculously good cards and MSI has the BIOS switch so you can switch to the "LN2 BIOS" which removes many of the barriers NVIDIA put in this generation (i.e. 70 C thermal wall for throttling).

If you want to join the multi-GPU team - the 670 4GB is a great value, as is the vanilla 670.
 

doug_7506

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ive owned the 670ftw and asus directcuII top 7970 and run a single card on a 2560*1440

The hardware imho is better on the 7970 and has more potential; however, the 670/680 just work. The overall "experience" with my 670ftw has been much more enjoyable and even runs as fast as my 7970 since it oc'ed a lot better than the 7970.
 

NukeDukem

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AMD did a great job with the 12.6 & 12.7's.... 7970 CFX absolutely screams now.
 

LEVESQUE

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Yep.

All those user ''experiences'' prior to 12.7 are pretty useless IMHO.

People hesitating between the 7970 vs 680 should discard all those comments about ''bad drivers'', ''smoother'' etc comments based on drivers older then 12.7, since those drivers are MAJOR game-changers for AMD users.

4X7970 Quad-Fire user with 3X30'', playing at 7680X1600 reporting in. Flawless and ''smooth'' experience for me with 12.7.
 

Forceman

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sk3tch

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Seriously, how many times does it have to be said? Just because a game uses more than 2GB doesn't mean it needs more than 2GB. BF3 is known to cache (for want of a better term) VRAM - VRAM numbers in BF3 mean nothing for performance. For example:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/05/29/galaxy_geforce_gtx_680_gc_sli_video_card_review/4

Caching/using/whatever - it's being utilized. If a game released in 2011 uses more than 2GB it stands to reason that having more than 2GB is beneficial (especially for multi-monitor gaming) - 5760x1080/120hz.

I'm not sure what that article proves? Can you point it out specifically? 7970 versus 680? Two different cards. Yes, there's a VRAM difference...but I've had 4x680 2GB and now I have 4x680 4GB. The experience is better with the latter. I'm aiming for 120 FPS here. Not 60.
 
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-Sn1PeR-

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The VRAM issue is overblown, testing has shown no limitations with 2GB even at Eyefinity resolutions, particularly for single cards.

I'm vram limited in Arma 2 at 5760x1080 with my 6950 crossfire setup when I enable MSAA on top of very high graphics. I'm using SMAA as a work around, but still, it does happen. I've also ran into my 2GB vram limit in modded Skyrim. It's crazy to me that on [H] forums people are arguing against getting more vram. It's very similar to when quad cores came out and everyone told me that they were useless for games. 4GB 680's exist.
 

GoldenTiger

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I'm looking to get a single 7970 or 680 for my next rig, but it's been very tough to choose because I game at a resolution between "normal" and "large" (2560 x 1600). It seems that if my resolution was a bit lower, a 680 would be the recommended choice. If I was running multiple monitors, it seems the 7970 VRAM advantage would be the selling point. The benchmarks at my resolution seem to point to the two cards being almost identical.

I'm coming from a 4870x2 and the stutter and driver issues have been a real pain. I'm looking for a "smoother" and easier gaming experience, that's for sure. I've heard that SLI is smoother than CFX, but does that also hold true with the single cards? Will a single 680 feel "smoother" than a 7970?

I'd like actual owners to chime in because the benchmarks don't seem to speak to these small nuances - and I'd like to make the smartest choice possible!

I have owned both GTX 680 and a Radeon 7970, as well as SLI 680's and 670's, before now running a single GTX 670 Gigabyte WindForcre @ 1344mhz core 24/7 for bang/buck and overall cost/needed performance. I game at 2560x1600 on my sig rig.

SLI on the 670/680 both felt just as smooth as the single Radeon 7970 did. I have heard from others that have owned CF 7970 as well that it felt choppier than their later-bought 680 SLI did. The 670/680 in SLI and single-card both were silky-smooth, no stutter issues, etc. no hitching during gameplay for loads etc. even on 64player BF3 multi maps (Conquest Large) or other titles like Crysis 2.

The drivers have been a godsend compared to the single 7970's which at the time of their launch through a few weeks after before I returned it, were a total mess. It would get stuck in ULPS and randomly downclock to 325mhz or so until I rebooted (it would stick until I did)... lots of random visual glitches on some games, poorer AF quality in motion (lots more shimmering than my 670/680 setups), Using AA in SWTOR when I played it would result in extreme visual errors which the devs even said was due to the 7970's drivers and was fixed eventually later on. It was just a poor experience, and it couldn't run Ambient Occlusion in games like Skyrim or others that support it on nVidia so it looked worse.

The 670/680 drivers have been effectively perfect for me. The biggest thing I've had to do was add in a single SLI flag with nVidia Inspector (which took all of 1 minute and 30 seconds, roughly, copy/paste) for Crysis 2 to get SLI to run fully properly, and everything else has been smooth sailing. The control panel is nicer to deal with and supports individual game profiles better imo, as well as having a better driver upgrade process (just run the new installer and it's done, installs right over itself perfectly).

Definitely go for a 670/680, heck, grab one with a non-ref cooler like the Gigabyte OC 670 @ $399/cheaper (seen it as low as 360 on newegg sales with 10% off) or the 680's, and you'll have a ball.
 

GoldenTiger

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The VRAM issue is overblown, testing has shown no limitations with 2GB even at Eyefinity resolutions, particularly for single cards.

This. You'll run out of GPU horsepower before you run into VRAM being the bottleneck.
 

Forceman

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Caching/using/whatever - it's being utilized. If a game released in 2011 uses more than 2GB it stands to reason that having more than 2GB is beneficial (especially for multi-monitor gaming) - 5760x1080/120hz.

I'm not sure what that article proves? Can you point it out specifically? 7970 versus 680? Two different cards. Yes, there's a VRAM difference...but I've had 4x680 2GB and now I have 4x680 4GB. The experience is better with the latter. I'm aiming for 120 FPS here. Not 60.

The article shows that the extra VRAM doesn't yield extra performance. So even if the AMD cards are using more than 2GB and the Nvidia cards aren't, the performance is the same.

The OP is asking about using a single card, and for single cards (or even 2) there is no performance difference from the extra VRAM. Your 4 card example is completely irrelevant here.

I'm vram limited in Arma 2 at 5760x1080 with my 6950 crossfire setup when I enable MSAA on top of very high graphics. I'm using SMAA as a work around, but still, it does happen. I've also ran into my 2GB vram limit in modded Skyrim. It's crazy to me that on [H] forums people are arguing against getting more vram. It's very similar to when quad cores came out and everyone told me that they were useless for games. 4GB 680's exist.

I'm not arguing against more VRAM, I'm saying that for a single card it doesn't make sense to pay extra for it - especially not the $100 extra you'd pay for a 4GB GTX 680. You aren't going to see $100 worth of performance increase from going with a 4GB card.
 
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Mr Mean

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I'm looking to get a single 7970 or 680 for my next rig, but it's been very tough to choose because I game at a resolution between "normal" and "large" (2560 x 1600). It seems that if my resolution was a bit lower, a 680 would be the recommended choice. If I was running multiple monitors, it seems the 7970 VRAM advantage would be the selling point. The benchmarks at my resolution seem to point to the two cards being almost identical.

I'm coming from a 4870x2 and the stutter and driver issues have been a real pain. I'm looking for a "smoother" and easier gaming experience, that's for sure. I've heard that SLI is smoother than CFX, but does that also hold true with the single cards? Will a single 680 feel "smoother" than a 7970?

I'd like actual owners to chime in because the benchmarks don't seem to speak to these small nuances - and I'd like to make the smartest choice possible!

They're about the same, I haven't noticed any night and day difference. My main system games at 2560x1600 (Crossfire) and my roomates gaming system is at 1920x1200 (SLI GTX 680 2GB) and it doesn't feel any smoother or better than a 7970 at Battlefield 3. Could be different in other games, but not in battlefield 3 that I noticed.

If you game at 2560x1600 I don't think a single 7970 will be enough, unless you plan on playing DX 9 games and such, then yeah a 7970 will be fine at 2560x1600.
 
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sk3tch

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They're about the same, I haven't noticed any night and day difference. My main system games at 2560x1600 (Crossfire) and my roomates gaming system is at 1920x1200 (SLI GTX 680 2GB) and it doesn't feel any smoother or better than a 7970 at Battlefield 3. Could be different in other games, but not in battlefield 3 that I noticed.

If you game at 2560x1600 I don't think a single 7970 will be enough, unless you plan on playing DX 9 games and such, then yeah a 7970 will be fine at 2560x1600.

If you're a BF3 gamer (primarily) - both are awesome choices. I swear that's all AMD ever had working 100% (or close to) during the time when I had a 7970 CFX. Heh.
 
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