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About to pull the trigger on a 7970, any final thoughts?
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BlackZero
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Default About to pull the trigger on a 7970, any final thoughts? - 12-08-2012, 15:30 | posts: 8,105 | Location: United Kingdom

I have tried to hold out until the new cards arrive but with nothing expected for up to six months I think I'm going to order a 7970 for now and then see how the new cards do, whenever they are released. The card I'm looking at is the MSI 7970 OC, it comes overclocked to 1010Mhz, so should have a slightly better chance of being a good overclocker.

The Pros

Reference PCB
Will allow for better compatibility with water cooling blocks, also can be flashed with GHz bios.

Voltage Unlocked
Unlike an increasing number of other 7970 models, the MSI 7970 cards can be voltage tweaked, and of course we have afterburner designed primarily for MSI cards.

3 year warranty/ Better components
An extra year compared to most other brands, this will be handled by the retailer, but MSI are not that far away in the Netherlands. It also apparently has higher quality components according to MSI, make what you want of that.

Price
This specific model is currently on sale at a popular retailer, it will end up costing me under 300. The retailer in question is also one I regularly use, so it also gives me a little extra peace of mind.

Free games
The card will come with sleeping dogs, hitman: absolution, and far cry 3. The games are worth a good 50 at the best prices I have seen so far, so that's clearly a big plus. I have had my eye on hitman for a while but was waiting to see how far cry 3 did before ordering. I think I'll keep hitman and sell far cry 3, that will chop another big chunk off the price in terms of cash I would have spent anyway. Sleeping dogs is of course a bonus.

The Cons

Reference like fan/ Heatsink
From what I have gathered the fan will probably not be that bad but can get a little noisy. I'm either going to add a custom water block or sell it on when newer cards are released so it shouldn't be a major issue.


I can't really think of any other cons at the moment, if anyone can think of something I have missed or knows of a better deal here in the UK, please feel free to contribute.

Last edited by BlackZero; 12-09-2012 at 11:06.
   
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ESlik
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Default 12-08-2012, 15:58 | posts: 1,848 | Location: Sault Ste. Marie Ont. CA

According to info at Maximum PC,the next gen. hardware from Radeon AND Nvidia, will be version 2 of the same hardware found in the present Nvidia 600 series and Radeon 700 series. No sense waiting. That 7970 will serve you well for quite some time.
   
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The Postman
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Default 12-08-2012, 16:08 | posts: 1,666 | Location: Boston

When you do water on the card, you can overclock it like mine.
   
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BlackZero
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Default 12-08-2012, 16:34 | posts: 8,105 | Location: United Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by ESlik View Post
According to info at Maximum PC,the next gen. hardware from Radeon AND Nvidia, will be version 2 of the same hardware found in the present Nvidia 600 series and Radeon 700 series. No sense waiting. That 7970 will serve you well for quite some time.
Yeah, my current card is about to go into its third year since release so time for an upgrade. The new series might actually be a reasonable performance increase based on some information I've come across but six months is a long time. Also, I would like to play hitman with all the details cranked up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
When you do water on the card, you can overclock it like mine.
That would be nice, though I'd expect those numbers at least for benchmarks anyway, also noise reduction is going to be a major reason for water cooling.

Last edited by BlackZero; 12-08-2012 at 16:57.
   
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Matt26LFC
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Default 12-08-2012, 17:25 | posts: 2,436 | Location: UK

Hey Black, are the 8000 Series really 6 months away? I thought they where coming March? Not sure I wanna wait 6 for them, i'm already tempted to put 2 7950s on the Credit Card lol
   
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BlackZero
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Default 12-08-2012, 17:43 | posts: 8,105 | Location: United Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt26LFC View Post
Hey Black, are the 8000 Series really 6 months away? I thought they where coming March? Not sure I wanna wait 6 for them, i'm already tempted to put 2 7950s on the Credit Card lol
Yeah, apparently it's second quarter 2013 which more often than not means nearer the end. It might be a little earlier but still a wait of up to six months, nonetheless.

I was holding out till early next year at the latest but after seeing a great deal along with the games (the promotion may not last until new years) I don't see any point in waiting.
   
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Default 12-08-2012, 18:50 | posts: 5,732 | Location: Sunny Scotland

about the games, hitman & FC3 are my corrent favs LOL, so yeah there's 50 right there, but for me a gpu choice is best made without money in mind, and with this is mind i'd say the 7970 is a great choice.
I really appreciate the work gone into hitman and play it with my own style, such a fantastic title so worth it investing in a gpu capable of maxing it's candy imo, FC3 is another top PC title, i'm sure your 7970 will deal with it no probs, currently taking a break from hitman while i hunt some buffalo with my bow & arrow.
   
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BlackZero
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Default 12-08-2012, 19:08 | posts: 8,105 | Location: United Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by SLI-756 View Post
about the games, hitman & FC3 are my corrent favs LOL, so yeah there's 50 right there, but for me a gpu choice is best made without money in mind, and with this is mind i'd say the 7970 is a great choice.
I really appreciate the work gone into hitman and play it with my own style, such a fantastic title so worth it investing in a gpu capable of maxing it's candy imo, FC3 is another top PC title, i'm sure your 7970 will deal with it no probs, currently taking a break from hitman while i hunt some buffalo with my bow & arrow.
Thanks, yeah really looking forward to playing hitman with the details set to highest. And on that note, I've also made the order
   
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hallryu
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Default 12-08-2012, 19:58 | posts: 11,394 | Location: England

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt26LFC View Post
Hey Black, are the 8000 Series really 6 months away? I thought they where coming March? Not sure I wanna wait 6 for them, i'm already tempted to put 2 7950s on the Credit Card lol
The 8 series is supposed to be a simple refresh of the 7 series afaik. So nothing startling I would have thought!
   
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sykozis
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Default 12-08-2012, 20:49 | posts: 15,585 | Location: US East Coast

Should see the usual 5-15% performance gain....not really worth getting overly excited about imho.


   
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BlackZero
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Default 12-09-2012, 11:14 | posts: 8,105 | Location: United Kingdom

There isn't a lot of information floating around but for a refresh you do generally see performance improvements of between 10-20%, a lot of that is to do with better efficiency allowing for higher clocks; something that may not be that relevant as current cards can do relatively high clocks already.

All speculation, of course, but given that there is no real information available I would imagine a release date falling within three months is quite unlikely. I would have liked waiting for the newer cards but the dates seem too far away.
   
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Matt26LFC
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Default 12-09-2012, 11:19 | posts: 2,436 | Location: UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackZero View Post
Thanks, yeah really looking forward to playing hitman with the details set to highest. And on that note, I've also made the order
Good stuff, I'm seriously considering ordering one now lol Selling the 6950s + Waterblocks will easily cover the cost. I'm wondering if its worth the change as I can't see FPS being much different, however I do get maybe Mirco Stutter, Far Cry 3 is a bit jittery which is getting annoying, wondering whether its down to dual cards, perhaps one great card is the way to go.

Do you know what Waterblock your going for? I quite like those Watercool Heatkiller Ni-BL's if I do order I'm def getting one of those

Quote:
Originally Posted by hallryu View Post
The 8 series is supposed to be a simple refresh of the 7 series afaik. So nothing startling I would have thought!
Yeah, its not a new Architecture, so I would guess 10%-20% performance increase, so nothing major, theres also the price premium they'll charge at launch, the 7970s where around 500 I believe, not sure I want to pay that much for the privilege so I'd have to wait for Nvidia to drop the 700 Series before I could buy, possibly meaning an even longer wait, what with Crysis 3 and GTA 5 coming I think around March next year, I don't want to have to wait that long
   
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Pill Monster
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Default 12-09-2012, 11:59 | posts: 23,465 | Location: NZ

I think you'll be quite happy.
   
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dirtbiker
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Default 12-09-2012, 12:37 | posts: 19

I bought that exact same card,you won`t be disappointed. I play all my games at 1920 x 1080p resolution, all maxed & 4xSSAA. The fan is a bit loud but you get used to it.
   
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BlackZero
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Default 12-09-2012, 12:48 | posts: 8,105 | Location: United Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt26LFC View Post
Good stuff, I'm seriously considering ordering one now lol Selling the 6950s + Waterblocks will easily cover the cost. I'm wondering if its worth the change as I can't see FPS being much different, however I do get maybe Mirco Stutter, Far Cry 3 is a bit jittery which is getting annoying, wondering whether its down to dual cards, perhaps one great card is the way to go.

Do you know what Waterblock your going for? I quite like those Watercool Heatkiller Ni-BL's if I do order I'm def getting one of those
From a purely stock performance standpoint the difference will not be that great as a 7970 is going to roughly match 6950 CF, however, and subjectively, you will get other benefits which, if looking at performance initially, will mean better tessellation performance leading to higher performance in many popular benchmarks and even games, then you need to consider that the latest drivers improve performance by a further 10% or so.

Other than performance, the 7970 will use less power, of course. Then you have more vram and bandwidth for higher resolutions and things like downsampling. You also get dx10/11 MSAA/SSAA support from the driver, as well as overall less heat in the system.

Then there's the big one, the overclocking potential. The 7970 can more often than not go over 1100MHz and in many cases (especially when water cooled) reach clocks in excess of 1200MHz. At that point you have a good bump in performance over 6950 Crossfire. Other than that you might also want to consider that waiting till the new series is released will not only lower your current cards' value but at that point the market will get flooded by newer 7 series cards being offered, at times, at below market values because people will want to get the latest cards as a soon as possible.

You might also miss out on the games.

Regarding the water block, I haven't given much thought to any particular model yet as I will not be adding a water block immediately, this is to allow for testing the card and to reduce the immediate financial constraints. Though, I did have a read of a bundymania review which might prove useful.

It also shows the Watercool HK blocks to be one of the better choices.


Edit:

Sorry if the above sounds a bit like a broken record with me just repeating the obvious.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pill Monster View Post
I think you'll be quite happy.
Thanks, I do hope so.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtbiker View Post
I bought that exact same card,you won`t be disappointed. I play all my games at 1920 x 1080p resolution, all maxed & 4xSSAA. The fan is a bit loud but you get used to it.
Thanks, dirtbiker.

I am really looking forward to playing with the new hardware.

Last edited by BlackZero; 12-09-2012 at 13:14.
   
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mohiuddin
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Default 12-09-2012, 15:23 | posts: 518

I don't think, 8970HD would bring only 5~15% improvment over 7970HD.
30~40%, i think.
   
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Matt26LFC
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Default 12-09-2012, 15:37 | posts: 2,436 | Location: UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackZero View Post
From a purely stock performance standpoint the difference will not be that great as a 7970 is going to roughly match 6950 CF, however, and subjectively, you will get other benefits which, if looking at performance initially, will mean better tessellation performance leading to higher performance in many popular benchmarks and even games, then you need to consider that the latest drivers improve performance by a further 10% or so.

Other than performance, the 7970 will use less power, of course. Then you have more vram and bandwidth for higher resolutions and things like downsampling. You also get dx10/11 MSAA/SSAA support from the driver, as well as overall less heat in the system.

Then there's the big one, the overclocking potential. The 7970 can more often than not go over 1100MHz and in many cases (especially when water cooled) reach clocks in excess of 1200MHz. At that point you have a good bump in performance over 6950 Crossfire. Other than that you might also want to consider that waiting till the new series is released will not only lower your current cards' value but at that point the market will get flooded by newer 7 series cards being offered, at times, at below market values because people will want to get the latest cards as a soon as possible.

You might also miss out on the games.

Regarding the water block, I haven't given much thought to any particular model yet as I will not be adding a water block immediately, this is to allow for testing the card and to reduce the immediate financial constraints. Though, I did have a read of a bundymania review which might prove useful.

It also shows the Watercool HK blocks to be one of the better choices.


Edit:

Sorry if the above sounds a bit like a broken record with me just repeating the obvious.
Not at all its all very useful information. The more I read the more I want lol

The games are certainly a nice touch, I could sell FC3 as I already have that, and two more games to play while I wait for Crysis 3 would be nice, was going to play Skyrim again after FC3.

The power consumption is also a nice reason to change, I don't pay the electric bill, the gf does, so she'd be pleased about that

I like the idea of 3GB of VRAM also, I do want a 27" 2560*1440 screen at some point also.

Looking at the pictures of that MSI card the PCB looks Red, would really have preferred Black. Will have to buy a Backplate for it for sure.

Do you know when your going to receive your order BZ? Confirm whether its Red or not? I believe the offer lasts until Wednesday next week if you've bought it from the place I think you have.

I also had a read of that Bundymania review, the Heatkiller looks like its done quite well. I'm very pleased with my current HK's so I'd definitely be sticking with them

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohiuddin View Post
I don't think, 8970HD would bring only 5~15% improvment over 7970HD.
30~40%, i think.
I think 40% is a little optimistic, would be very nice though

Last edited by Matt26LFC; 12-09-2012 at 15:40.
   
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BlackZero
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Default 12-09-2012, 15:52 | posts: 8,105 | Location: United Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt26LFC View Post
Not at all its all very useful information. The more I read the more I want lol

The games are certainly a nice touch, I could sell FC3 as I already have that, and two more games to play while I wait for Crysis 3 would be nice, was going to play Skyrim again after FC3.

The power consumption is also a nice reason to change, I don't pay the electric bill, the gf does, so she'd be pleased about that

I like the idea of 3GB of VRAM also, I do want a 27" 2560*1440 screen at some point also.

Looking at the pictures of that MSI card the PCB looks Red, would really have preferred Black. Will have to buy a Backplate for it for sure.

Do you know when your going to receive your order BZ? Confirm whether its Red or not? I believe the offer lasts until Wednesday next week if you've bought it from the place I think you have.

I also had a read of that Bundymania review, the Heatkiller looks like its done quite well. I'm very pleased with my current HK's so I'd definitely be sticking with them.
I believe the PCB is black on this particular model, like the reference PCB. I will have the card by Tuesday and can confirm at that point. You are also correct about the retailer in question.

I actually didn't have the best experience with my current EK FC6970 water block due to the chrome stand-offs breaking off inside the block, EK did send me replacement stand-offs but I am going to have to find some way to remove the stand-off remnants from the block, in the mean time the block isn't sale worthy. Pretty bad craftsmanship if you ask me.

I am going to be staying away from EK blocks this time around, I think.
   
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The Postman
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Default 12-09-2012, 16:30 | posts: 1,666 | Location: Boston

I have two EK blocks for my cards and they do a great job. Never seen temps go higher than 50 degrees with both cards overclocked at full load.

These Sapphire cards have black PCB.
   
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BlackZero
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Default 12-09-2012, 16:48 | posts: 8,105 | Location: United Kingdom

Yeah, it's a black PCB on the MSI 7970 OC.

 Click to show spoiler


Top-view of PCB
 Click to show spoiler

http://www.coolingconfigurator.com/waterblock/4563

Last edited by BlackZero; 12-09-2012 at 17:00.
   
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Tuoni
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Default 12-09-2012, 18:40 | posts: 38 | Location: Netherlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohiuddin View Post
I don't think, 8970HD would bring only 5~15% improvment over 7970HD.
30~40%, i think.
Based on what?
An initial 5~20% seems very likely for just a "simple" refresh. Probably some more later on with improved drivers.
   
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Matt26LFC
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Default 12-09-2012, 19:16 | posts: 2,436 | Location: UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackZero View Post
Yeah, it's a black PCB on the MSI 7970 OC.

 Click to show spoiler


Top-view of PCB
 Click to show spoiler

http://www.coolingconfigurator.com/waterblock/4563
Well thats not bad, at least its not red lol I'll still get the Heatkiller backplate for it though, they look sweet!

Its decision time, do I go for one aswell lol
   
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mohiuddin
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Default 12-09-2012, 20:47 | posts: 518

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuoni View Post
Based on what? An initial 5~20% seems very likely for just a "simple" refresh. Probably some more later on with improved drivers.
based on the rumors ( shader core numbers and also higher clock speed due to mature fab process).
   
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ESlik
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Default 12-09-2012, 23:26 | posts: 1,848 | Location: Sault Ste. Marie Ont. CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohiuddin View Post
I don't think, 8970HD would bring only 5~15% improvment over 7970HD.
30~40%, i think.
That will NEVER happen. The "real deal" from Radeon,will be some time in 2014. Bet on it!
   
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Darkest
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Default 12-09-2012, 23:40 | posts: 6,680

Quote:
Originally Posted by ESlik View Post
That will NEVER happen. The "real deal" from Radeon,will be some time in 2014. Bet on it!
Agreed. Not going to happen with a refresh.
   
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