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Graphics HD7970 - My Review (BF3 Eyefinity vs HD7970)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by xaser04, 10 Jan 2012.

  1. MjFrosty

    MjFrosty What's a Dremel?

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    lol! Who gets out of buying graphics cards by overclocking their CPU exactly? It's game / coding dependent. Those days are long gone fella...Most games are very GPU dependent these days. Any changes to the CPU clock rarely make noticeable difference to performance, not enough to warrant sticking with an aging video card :)

    This obviously applies to modern CPUs - if you're running an old netburst P4 you'll have a tiny bit of a bottleneck I'd imagine ;)
     
  2. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    You're totally right in that it depends on the software. Some of the games I play (and I don't play many) are as fast with the CPU at 3GHz as they are with it at 4.7GHz, however others really fly with the extra CPU juice - Borderlands seems to respond well to an overclocked CPU, especially if the GPU is also overclocked. I would never say that overclocking a CPU is a substitute to buying a better graphics card. :nono:

    For the most part I was just curious whether or not it made a difference in BF3 with the new ATI graphics, seeing that I don't have it and probably won't get it. :)
     
  3. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    I will definitely try something - possibly this evening but I am very conscious that I am close to my PSU's 12v rail limit (especially given the cable layout). I doubt I will push much further than 4GHz on all four cores. Still, this is a 600Mhz overclock at the quad core level so should give some sort of indication of whether a faster CPU will make any difference with the new HD7970's at Eyefinity like resolutions.
     
  4. Prophet

    Prophet Minimodder

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    Just a quick note on your pricing compared to our American compatriots.

    Afaik, They (The americans) are required by law to pay sales or use tax on all purchases, this is charged at a rate dependant on the state/district in which the item is purchased - seems to be around 10% for most, thought I was struggling to find a good page with actual values. Anyways, Sales tax is charged by shop over the counter, use tax is a self completed tax assessment where you declare purchases and pay a lump tax sum (from what I can tell).

    Seems to me the cheapest 7970s are at newegg (a $2.5bn company who can drop a little profit on each sale to guarantee they sell all their stock so will naturally have a lower price than smaller competitors) and are priced around $550 (low end), which when you add 10% use tax, is gonna bring prices to ~$605. I see a £440 (Powercolor 7970 from ebuyer) = $675 so really it's not quite the massive markup that some people are making it out to be, expecially when you consider none of the online stores in the uk have a profit margin anywhere near to $2.5bn (OcUK made £3.7m net profit in the yr 2007/2008 with assets at £3.4m). And to add OcUK have a pre-order self branded version for £420 which is $643 lowering the gap even more and possibly hinting at where the prices are going.

    Unfortunately the more expensive UK prices which have started popping up are now caused more by the suppliers. ie, OcUK can't source more direct from amd suppliers till Feb now, The 3rd party suppliers they are using to get new cards throughout Jan have added over £50 to their prices (OcUK forum from a staff member), hence the prices of cards their are now at like £550 which is awful :(.

    Ofcourse I could just have misinterpreted all the stuff about how Americans pay tax on purchases, in which case if someone could kindly clarify it would be much appreciated.

    And as for your card - Those figures are looking good! Wish the missus would let me justify 450quid on a graphics card ;)
     
  5. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Update regarding CPU Overclocking results:


    "HD6970 Playable Settings"

    HD7970 OC @ 1075/6000

    Min - 38.00
    Avg - 52.98

    HD7970 OC @ 1075/6000 with 2500k at 4GHz

    Min - 38.00
    Avg - 52.97

    No difference in results and no perceptible difference in game either.

    Ironically my system ran through the BF3 test fine but gave a BSOD when fiddling with the numbers in Excel. Got to love the quirks of technology sometimes. :eyebrow:
     
  6. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    Haha love it. Thanks for doing that, and it conclusively proves that BF3 doesn't need high CPU speed, which comes as a surprise to me if I'm honest. :thumb:
     
  7. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    After BF:BC2 I think it came as a surprise to a lot of people. After all it is an evolution of the same engine.

    I am not going to push anything any more until I get a new PSU so proper GPU overclocking attempts will have to wait (dammit).

    Assuming I can hit 1200-1250Mhz on the core, and overclocking scaling carries on at a near linear rate, I should end up around 60-75% faster than my single HD6970 in BF3. That would result in average frame rates of between 59 and 61.5 at the HD6970 "playable" Eyefinity settings (and over 45fps at the Ultra settings without AA....) :eeek:.

    Nothing to be sniffed at to be honest.
     
  8. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Blimey this card just keeps on giving....

    Just been playing some Operation Metro on a full 64 player server and got the following results at my Eyefinity "HD6970 Playable settings" setting:

    HD7970 OC @ 1075/6000

    Min - 48.00
    Avg - 71.85

    I didn't see the outside section as my team had pushed the US back past B at this point but I got in the thick of it through the subway platforms and through "C" and finally right into the choke points where there was explosions and smoke everywhere (got loads of kills with the PKP though which is nice).

    Under the same scenario my HD6970 would have been pushing mid 40's.

    That equates to between 53 & 60% increase. (45 & 47FPS used as the base line)

    I have a rather big smile on my face at the moment! :D
     
  9. Sheiken

    Sheiken Wat?

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    Very nice and casual review, I really enjoyed it!

    And that card is a beast I must say, and especially since it keeps on giving more and more through some impressive overclocking. I cant way for the rest of the 7xxx lineup.

    Btw:
    If you still have that Dirt Cd key, could I take it off your hands for cheap?
     
  10. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    I haven't used it so possibly.

    I say possibly as according to the blurb on the back it was only valid to 31st Dec 2011. I can only assume that the offer was extended so it could be included with 7xxx cards?!

    :confused:
     
  11. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    You're pretty much spot on. There's a state sales tax and then in addition to that there could be county sales taxes added on, through the state defines a maximum total tax. Wikipedia has a nice little table if you're curious just what each state pays, 10% is actually a little high. Also note that many states also have income tax in addition to their sales tax, or only an income tax with no sales tax at all. Income tax obviously doesn't make items cost more at time of purchase but it does mean those getting cheaper items at purchase also make less money (assuming the same pre-tax income) so it more or less balances out.
     
  12. N17 dizzi

    N17 dizzi Multimodder

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    What kind of temps are you getting on the card under load with those clocks?

    I love how you are powering this with a 530 watt PSU, not surprised its working fine even clocked.
     
  13. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    in the uk, sales prices have vat added at point of sale, suppliers charge vat, the retailer, if vat registered( most retailers) can claim this back, if like me, you are below the vat threshold, you still have to pay vat, but you then don't charge it when you sell the product (but you can and should include what you paid as vat in your final price).

    vat in the uk is currently 20%

    also don't forget retailers have to pay delivery charges, amongst other business costs, so prices have to include all those.

    i typically add between 10-20% to my product costs, depending on value - higher value means lower percentage
     
  14. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    After a two hour session of BF3 I recorded temperatures that plateaued at 76 degrees with a custom fan profile tuned more for noise then cooling performance.

    It is working ok on the PSU but judging by the Vdroop encountered in Afterburner I think I am near the 12v rail load limit.

    My PSU has two 12v rails and I am not quite sure how they are divided at the connector level. The two PCI-e connectors (8 pin) are split from the same lead (similar to the SATA power cables). I would assume that this has an entire rail devoted to it.

    Assuming the above is true then it can supply a max of 264w on the 12v rail (22a per rail). Now lets assume the 75w provided by the PCI-e slot is coming from the other 12v rail (which is also feeding the CPU, board and peripherals). This makes a total of 339w available to the GPU.

    Whilst this sounds like enough (and it in theory should be) you have to remember that is the theoretical maximum it can supply.

    I will be upgrading my PSU for piece of mind - I don't like the thought of it running nears its max when gaming, but will keep this one as a backup.
     
  15. N17 dizzi

    N17 dizzi Multimodder

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    yeah I wouldn't want to have my PSU under heavy load doing standard stuff as efficiency goes out the window, more heat and bigger leccy bill... (fine if you want your machine to double as a heater)

    So plateaued at 76, highs of 80+ ?

    What is the fan like on song?

    Sorry to pepper you with questions, good to know how a 7970 behaves in a fractal R3 :)
     
  16. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    It hit a peak of 77 and then plateaued at 76 for the remainder of the gaming session. This is with my OC of 1075/6000 and voltage in game fluctuating between 1.04 and 1.06v*

    The fan becomes noticeable over a quiet gaming session at 50% and what I would consider loud at 75%. My fan profile means it will hit 45-50% fan speed at around 75-80 degrees and stay there.

    It makes what I would consider a "whooshing"sound rather than an irritating whine though so it isn't all that bad. At idle it is for want of a better term silent. I run only the stock fan configuration in the R3 with the fans manually set to low, I can't hear it over them.

    The fan profile itself can make all the difference so it will take some tinkering until you get it just right. I am still fiddling with it as I had my HD6970 setup just right.



    *The HD7970 has sensors that monitor the voltage in real time which can look odd at first. Previous cards have only monitored what we can consider the target voltage. The same fluctuation was happening you just couldn't see it.

    EDIT: I have no issues with you asking as many questions as you want. :)

    I have often found user input to me much more informative than actual reviews, especially around things like noise output and temperatures.
     
  17. MaXimiZe_89

    MaXimiZe_89 What's a Dremel?

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    Great review. Pretty much agree with what you said :thumb:
     
  18. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Small update as I have been spending some more time fiddling with the overclocks and playing around with 1080p with my monitors in PLP.

    First up; overclocking

    Based on my testing so far I have managed to achieve the following clocks:

    OC1 - 1075/6000 @ 1.112v & custom fan profile (tops out at 45%).
    OC2 - 1125/6600 @ 1.175v & fan fixed at 60%.

    OC1 is what I consider to be my 24/7 gaming clock as it quite happily churns away at my cards "stock" volts. The fan is not very intrusive either which is quite nice. The card under this profile tops out at around 75 degrees. Further testing has shown the memory to have much more "go" in it so this OC will be updated to 1075/6600 when I remember.

    OC2 is my highest stable OC from my testing so far. BF3, Crysis 2 & Arcania are all rock solid at this clock speed, core voltage is set at 1.175 and the fan manually fixed at 60%. At this fan speed the card is very audible and gaming is only enjoyable with headphones (quite enjoyable actually - I think I will start to game like this a bit more).

    I did try clocking a bit further but backed off when I started pushing 1.2v at 1150 core. No doubt there is a bit more in the tank with fine tuning but I am hitting the point where something needs upgrading before I can really push further (get onto this in a bit).

    Now for 1080p BF3 gaming benchmarks

    After having some fun with BF3 in Eyefinity I decided to place my monitors in PLP setp so I could try some BF3 @ 1080p. Given that the HD7970 mullers BF3 @ 1080p at my normal settings, I decided to only test at Ultra settings with deffered AA applied (4x). Every setting was maxed in game with no ammendments made in CCC.

    (Test is identical to my Eyefinity runs with the only adjustment being the resolution and this case the visual settings).

    The results were:

    HD7970 @ Stock

    Min - 34
    Avg - 48.8

    HD7970 @ 1075/6000

    Min - 39
    Avg - 54.4

    HD7970 @ 1125/6600

    Min - 40
    Avg - 58.8

    So close to 60fps Avg I can almost taste it.

    I need to do more testing and tweaking on the clocks but I am loving the way this card scales with its clocks at the moment.

    I will update this thread later with my upgrade conundrum / thoughts.
     
    Last edited: 25 Jan 2012
  19. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Your scores at stock are almost exactly the same as my 570 at stock.... except with a single 1200p screen.

    Wowza.
     
  20. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Interesting.

    I assume that Nvidia still handles deffered AA in the Frostbite 2 engine better than AMD?

    I will try with it off later to see what drop I see by enabling deffered AA, I am under the assumption that the gap to the GTX570 will rise considerably.

    What sort of RAM usage were you seeing at 1200p Ultra w/4xAA (HBAO etc all on)? My HD7970 was flirting with 2GB through most of the 5 minute run through.

    EDIT: Just thought, a direct comparison would be relatively easy for you to test if you have a spare 5 minutes?

    Setup FRAPs to record min/max/avg for 5 minutes, begining at the point you exit the APC at the start of the level Operation Sword breaker. The recording should stop right around the you clear out the carpark and before you head back inside to kill the sniper.

    All settings should be set to Ultra with 4x AA deffered and HBAO on.
     
    Last edited: 25 Jan 2012

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