So, has AMD gotten the mojo back? Let's boil things down to one of our famous value scatter plots to see. As always, we've sourced prices from Newegg and Amazon, and the performance results are averaged across all of the games we tested. We're relying on our 99th percentile frame time metric for our performance summation, but we've converted the result to FPS to keep our scatter plot readable. As always, the better values will be positioned closer to the top left corner of the plot.
The Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition has indeed recaptured the single-GPU performance title for AMD; it's even faster than Zotac's GTX 680 AMP! Edition. And at $499.99, the 7970 GHz Edition is unambiguously a better value than the stock-clocked GeForce GTX 680. Everything seems to be going AMD's way—even our power consumption results turned out to be closer than expected. I'd say that qualifies for mojo reclamation status, but I suppose the market will decide about that one. We're curious to see whether GTX 680 cards will continue to be scarce once the 7970 GHz Edition lands on store shelves.
For those of us who are willing to accept something a little less than the top-of-the-line offering, there are some other nice values on our scatter plot, including the notable duo of the Zotac GTX 670 AMP! and the original Radeon HD 7970. Those two cards cost the same and perform very similarly, so they overlap almost completely on our scatter plot. Either of those cards will cost you 50 bucks less than the 7970 GHz Edition, with only a slight drop in overall performance. Given how well all of the newer cards handled our test scenarios, we'd say sensible folks who are shopping in this price range might want to save a few bucks and snag one of those.
With that said, we suspect the story of the 7970 GHz Edition hasn't been completely told just yet. AMD's partners haven't delivered their customized cards, and as we've noted, our review unit is more of a reference design than an actual product. We expect to see higher boost clocks and potentially superior custom coolers once the actual cards arrive. Meanwhile, AMD has supplied us with a slew of potentially interesting new material for testing alongside the 7970 GHz Edition, including some GPU computing-focused applications, a couple more games with fancy new effects, and (at long last!) a version of ArcSoft Media Converter capable of using the Tahiti chip's built-in H.264 video encoding hardware. Comically, we had only four working days to prepare this review, and the new material arrived in our inbox this past Monday evening. I suppose a follow-up article may be in order.
For now, we at least have a fresh reminder of how close the battle for GPU supremacy is in this generation of chips. You can't go wrong with either team this time around, although the mojo is liable to change hands again at any moment.
I'm not nearly as wordy on Twitter.
246 comments — Last by WaltC at 12:24 PM on 07/17/12
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