Print 23 comment(s) - last by shin0bi272.. on Jun 26 at 1:40 AM

Radeon series GPU holds a slight edge in multi-monitor gaming

The latest round of the graphics war is over. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) came storming out first [1][2][3], but in the end it was NVIDIA Corp (NVDA) who seized the peformance crown with its GeForce GTX 680 Kepler GPU.  And that's where the story might have ended, had AMD not said "not so fast."

AMD countered with a specially binned Radeon HD 7970 "Gigahertz Edition" (GE).  The new card is essentially the exact same as the original Radeon HD 7970, which shipped at the end of January.  But it does bump the core clock from 925 MHz up to 1000 MHz (hence the GHZ part) and the memory clock from 5.5 GHz to 6 GHz.

But the majority of the gains come from a new set of drivers that in some ways mirror NVIDIA's Kepler drivers, by providing a "Boost" mode.  Unlike the Kepler drivers, AMD locks the cards into a solid maximum clock -- 1050 GHz -- which is sort of nice, given that you know what you're getting.  This contrasts with NVIDIA which guarantees a minimum boost clock, but whose maximum boost clock is somewhat random depending on chip quality -- essentially luck of the draw.

Gigahertz edition

That's all fine and good, but the compelling question is whether the Gigahertz Edition was worth alerting the press and claiming to steal NVIDIA's thunder.  Well it turns out it does provide a significant boost over the base model, enough to put it in contention once more for the graphics crown.

The card trades blows with the Geforce GTX 680 in AnandTech's testing, with neither card managing a convincing victory.  The only a couple of areas where one card clearly wins.  One is the multi-monitor tests, where AMD's card is the clear winner. But in power, noise, and heat, NVIDIA's card clearly wins.

The most important issue thus becomes price.  Both the GTX 680 and new HD 7970 GE are $500 USD.  Thus the graphics races is essentially a dead heat.

Moving down the ladder AMD offers the base HD 7970 for $430 USD.  For $30 USD less NVIDIA offers the $400 USD GTX 670 -- which predictably has a bit less performance than HD 7970.  Then there's AMD's HD 7950 at $360, which is in turn a bit lower performance than the GTX 670.  

In other words, smart pricing from both companies means that the best card for you in this round of the graphics war depends on which price point you're looking at.  At the points occupied by AMD, AMD wins, at the points occupied by NVIDIA, NVIDIA wins.  But at the top there's now no longer a clear winner.  

Sources: AMD, Anandtech

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Unimpressive due to power/heat
By JasonMick on 6/22/2012 12:32:06 PM , Rating: 5
Also boo on Jason to completely ignore power/heat where GTX 680 is superior. It is a big consideration along with price.
Fair enough, I added that to the piece. I still would call it a "tie" as if you truly do not favor either manufacturer, it would all boil down to what you want.

If you want the highest multi-monitor performance, a bit extra power and heat is probably worth it -- a win for AMD. If you want to put the card into some smaller HTPC enclosure and don't care about multi-monitor then NVIDIA clearly wins.

It all depends on what kind of system you're building, so again I'd say the term "tie" is accurate. That's even the term Ryan Smith (Anandtech) used at certain points in his analysis.

RE: Unimpressive due to power/heat
By crimson117 on 6/22/2012 12:47:42 PM , Rating: 2
And importantly, he notes they are "anything but equal" when you look at specific games, so consider which games you'll be playing:
The 7970GE scores some impressive wins in Crysis and DiRT 3, while NVIDIA manages to hold on to their substantial leads in Battlefield 3 and Portal 2

By Obujuwami on 6/22/2012 2:00:55 PM , Rating: 3
Clearly you haven't been a DYIer or gamer long enough to know that game designers design their games for specific video manufacturers. EA, who did C&C3, put a GIANT nVidia logo just after it's intro to point out that you should be using that card.

Studios do this, its a given, and it's something that shouldn't be included OR you should give the same test to a known game that favors each chip maker.

By corduroygt on 6/22/2012 1:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough, I added that to the piece. I still would call it a "tie" as if you truly do not favor either manufacturer, it would all boil down to what you want.

I disagree, the GTX 480 beat the 5870 back in the day but it was such a power hog that most did not call it equal but favored AMD. Same with GTX580 vs. 6970. Finally NV have turned the tables around and they make the better GPU this generation.

I was an AMD fan for 4xxx/5xxx/6xxx, but now I'm a NV fan for GTX 6xx. Performance/power is the criteria to beat for me.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki