Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I keep?

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Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I keep?

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:43 pm

I've got a quandary. I have two graphics cards sitting here. One is a Powercolor VCS+ 7870 Vortex II edition, clocks at 1150mhz on the core and 5ghz total on the memory. It pushes, according to GPU-Z 38 Gigapixels and around 92 Gigatexels, which makes it around 20 percent faster on paper than the GTX 660 I have sitting here. This particular one is a Gigabyte model with a 1033 mhz base clock. It pushes 24.8 Gigapixes and around 82 Gigatexels and has around 15 GB a second less bandwidth on paper than the Radeon. However, the Radeon is at parity with the GTX in most games, and the frame latencies on the 7870 are completely noticeable. I had another HIS model that I ditched because of this same reason about 6 months ago, Skyrim was nigh unplayable because of the jerkiness. So, I'm wondering, should I keep the 7870 or just eBay it? Are the drivers going to get better? It seems like I keep giving AMD these chances and it never works out. The 7870 should kill the GTX 660 by at least 10 percent, but this is just not the case. Does anyone know anything concrete about the supposed memory management rewrite for AMD drivers?
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:22 pm

Hey, welcome to TR.

The drivers are already here - the 13.3 betas include ongoing improvements but several games got the update with the older 13.2 drivers. I had a 7950 that I never had issues with and a 7850 that was noticeably better after the 13.2's

I wouldn't worry too much about drivers being the deciding factor, unless the majority of the games you play are TWIMTBP titles. There was an issue, AMD were notified - promised to fix it, then fixed it, and the benchmarks show they did a good job so everything is okay.

Nvidia have their driver issues too, and I've personally experienced more annoying issues with Nvidia drivers that with AMD drivers in the last several years. In today's article, in fact, you can see that the AMD's between $150 and $200 get more consistent frame latencies than the equivalent-priced Nvidia cards. As someone who's currently playing Tomb Raider, Crysis 3 and Sleeping Dogs, Nvidia is the brand with the major stuttering at the moment; AMD are flavour of the month and as always this will chop and change over the lifespan of a card.

What you really ought to consider is how much you're doing gaming versus other things. In games, the cards are pretty even. In compute/OpenCL stuff, the 600-series Kepler products are close to useless. I encode and occasionally render using OpenCL, so I've stuck with AMD on my workstations but still have a kepler floating around at home that seems to provide a comparable gaming experience these days - and it has always been a comparable experience if you play with vsync on. All of these stuttering issues basically go away with vsync on, in my experience.
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:56 pm

Although it'll be personal opinions, I'd state that ATI driver's improving has been fairly recent, *but* overall, it's been a back-and-forth between both camps.

I'd say that in the past ~2 years I believed NV had a slight edge (especially with their Adaptive Vsync and Ambient Occlusion features, which I personally like), but AMD recently stepped up their game, thanks in no small part to Scott's investigative work.

At any rate, you can't go wrong with either card, really.
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:36 pm

Yeah, it is a tossup, but the ATI seems to perform a lot worse. I can still see significant problems with frame latencies. For instance, I'm replaying Dragon Age I right now and the ATI card is choppier than the Nvidia by far. Also, I need OpenGL for professional 3d work, and here it gets even murkier. Nvidia intentionally crippled the 6x series in regards to pro 3d, but the Radeon drivers are so bad in OpenGL that it is almost the same.

Also, is PowerColor even a decent brand? Every Gigabyte product I've owned has been built like a tank.
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:38 pm

Send both of cards to me and I'll test them out ship you back the card you should keep.
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:46 pm

phonic wrote:Yeah, it is a tossup, but the ATI seems to perform a lot worse. I can still see significant problems with frame latencies. For instance, I'm replaying Dragon Age I right now and the ATI card is choppier than the Nvidia by far. Also, I need OpenGL for professional 3d work, and here it gets even murkier. Nvidia intentionally crippled the 6x series in regards to pro 3d, but the Radeon drivers are so bad in OpenGL that it is almost the same.

Also, is PowerColor even a decent brand? Every Gigabyte product I've owned has been built like a tank.


Sounds like a tossup- before your second post, I considered suggesting you go with whichever card was quieter. It's one of the reasons I went with a GTX670 over the HD7970, as I wanted the stock blower, and AMD was knocking the decibels out of the park with theirs.

That said, if the part of the equation that makes you money needs good OpenGL, you might consider getting a previous generation full-fat Nvidia GPU, like the GTX570. Nvidia didn't 'intentionally' criple the 600-series; they sold the GPU that was the same size and game-only configuration as the GTX560 as the GTX680, and were able to charge twice the price. A combination of some very well executed optimizations for Kepler alongside a relatively 'slow' AMD GCN product has allowed them to do this. Unfortunately, it means that if you need GPU compute, you're either hoping that AMD's drivers will work, getting last-gen Nvidia, or paying for Titan.

If you're going to keep one of the two cards you have, they're the same speed for work stuff and the Nvidia card provides a better experience for the games you play, then the Nvidia card sounds right for you.
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:21 pm

At iddle the 7970 is one of the quiest card on the market, and under load the stock cooler seem totaly ordinary:

Image
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:28 pm

sschaem wrote:At iddle the 7970 is one of the quiest card on the market, and under load the stock cooler seem totaly ordinary:

giant image removed


Image

TR disagrees with your chart.
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:29 pm

Yet another voice calling it a tossup. Those cards are really very close to each other, with the 7870 holding a theoretical advantage but real world performance trading places depending on game and settings.

One could argue that the 7870 has more potential to be unlocked, but that argument has been made in the past for one camp or the other and not always bearing fruit. Still, it's worth considering AMD's statements that they are finding a lot of performance gains in their driver latency/frame time investigations.

My advice would be to base your decisions on noise, power, temperature and application performance. You should especially test out both cards on the OpenGL programs you intend to use - I've used Radeon, Geforce, FireGL and Quadro cards in various OpenGL applications over the years, including Catia and AutoCAD, and have had no issues with either camp. Granted, my use has generally been with simpler models and assemblies - highly complicated assemblies might bring out performance differences between the various cards that I have not been exposed to.

Currently using a GTX 660 and pretty happy with it (upgraded from a 5770).
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:00 pm

One major deciding factor lately (in HardForum and Overclock.net) is whether you want to use LightBoost motion blur elimination.
Google "LightBoost" (single word) for more information about its motion blur elimination benefits, or see this thread. Several people including as TFT Central, pcmonitors.info, NewEgg, ASUS, and a number of others have actually already mentioned the benefits of LightBoost for motion blur elimination, including the LightBoost media coverage. It's happened all so fast -- just in the last few weeks alone.

Unfortunately, LightBoost is only supported on nVidia products; this can be a deciding factor if you are someone very sensitive to motion blur, and you have (or are getting) a LightBoost-capable monitor.
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Re: Choosing between 7870 and GTX 660, which one should I ke

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:24 pm

OP, what resolution are you playing at and how much do you care about AA/AF and Tessellation?

This will ultimately decide what is the best choice for your needs. ;)
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