So I had ordered a Gigabyte Windforce 7950 3GB about a week prior to the Nvidia 670's release.
I regretted that decision some, because the 670 consumes less power and was more performant. I actually went and bought a 670 and that's what's running in my machine (a SB 2500K currently at 4.0Ghz on a Z68 board). A secondary reason was I anticipated I was going to get one of those Korean overclockable 2560x1440 monitors to run at 120Hz and the AMD cards were unable to drive that display mode at the time. There have since been developments that have changed this (so both AMD and Nvidia cards can run those settings now).
I basically had the 7950 lying around on my desk till a friend of mine decided he wanted a new computer. Wow that's perfect, I have a great graphics card to start off that build right here, I said. Newegg was going to charge me a restocking fee to return the 7950 (which is certainly not defective as I will describe soon)...
So i slap together the new machine (on which I am typing now), it was a fantastically difficult and space-constrained Mini-ITX build, in the Silverstone SG06, with ASUS's P8Z77-I Deluxe Z77 board. I took a ton of pictures which I will hopefully remember to post-back here. (somebody post a reply to the thread if in 2 weeks it's not linked) With my new camera. So I have some cool pics to show people this awesome work I did. I'm not sure how coming up with smart ways to push pins and plugs in, in extremely cramped spaces, helps, but it sure makes me a more experienced system builder.
The 2600K is clocked to 4.5Ghz with the voltage set to auto in the UEFI/BIOS and it reads 1.32V in CPU-Z. A pretty average CPU, if I try to drop the voltage using offset setting it always BSOD's, but at the Auto setting it is rock stable in P95 and IBT.
I load up the drivers from ASUS... I have Virtu MVP installed. HyperFormance is turned on, because why not.
I run 3DMark11 with the CPU at 4.5 and the 7950 is STOCK. Result is over 10K 3DMarks. Now every single report I find anywhere for the 7950 card is in the 8000 range. but this machine at stock pumps out over 10000.
Something's not right! I say.
I go into CCC, unlock the overclocking options (since this massive cooler keeps the card's temps quite low, and I know it's a pretty good model to OC) and bump her up to 1050/1450 (you know how some people have their 7950s pushed to 1200/1700? Yeah.)
11687 3DMarks. I double-check to make sure it is actually 3DMark11 not Vantage. Oh it's not vantage, the demo's are all DX11-pretty and the runs are quick.
So what the hell's going on? I'm positive when I had this 7950 installed in my 2500K system (which I was running at 4.5Ghz also BTW) it never achieved higher than about 8400 points. But 10K? Surely the 4 additional threads couldn't be it. The Intel 3000 couldn't be it.
Did AMD make driver improvements? driver improvements or hacks that yield this large a change in performance? The framerates were there, the tests ran SMOOTH.
But what's bugging me is what could account for the dramatic difference. Is it the Z77 chipset somehow??
I'm going to run this benchmark again, this time with Virtu MVP off to see what changes. And I guess I'll grab a few more benchies to test with. But I gotta ship the box out soon, and I really want to find out just how it's ever possible for me to be pushing close to 12K on 3DMark11 when my other box (Gigabyte Windforce GTX 670 @stock, 2500K @4.0) can only hit 8641.
Here's one more somewhat related bit of strangeness. Does anyone else get the x-scale of the Similar Systems graph in the 3DMark11 results page all jumbled together? I can't read the numbers. Either way the orange bar for my 7950 result isn't visible. Perhaps it is just so far off on the right with so few other similar scores.
I had *switched* the 7950 *out* for the 670, but right now the 7950 is *trampling* my 670.
Edit: Forgot to mention, all 3D11 benchmarks run at Performance setting, (1280x720) benchmark tests only.
Here's a link to 3dmark results page for a run at stock clocks (with hyperformance enabled) http://3dmark.com/3dm11/3741784
For example, I'm looking at the results from my 670 machine and it can only hit 57.2FPS on GT3...
Silverstone SG06: 2500K@4.5Ghz on Corsair H80 Push+Pull Scythe Kama Flow 2, Gigabyte Windforce GTX 670, ASRock Z68M-ITX/HT, 16GB Patriot DDR3-1600 @1T, OCZ Vertex 3 120GB