Let's summarize our performance results and mash 'em with with pricing using our famous price-performance scatter plots:
What you're seeing, folks, is something very close to parity between Nvidia and AMD, which should be no great surprise if you've been following these things. There's been loads of back-and-forth jockeying for position in the past 18 months. AMD introduced its 7000-series Radeons months before Nvidia followed with the GTX 600 series. AMD then countered with a mid-cycle refresh by slipping in the 7970 GHz Edition and the 7950 Boost. For a time, Nvidia still held an edge in our latency-focused tests, until AMD addressed some issues with its drivers and recaptured the lead. Now, Nvidia has done its own hardware refresh with the introduction of the GTX 700 series.
At the end of the day, despite all of the incremental changes, the performance gaps between Radeon and GeForce are minimal. The overall scores could swing a few points one way or another if we altered our selection of games used in testing. This contest is close enough to make little differences seem larger than they are.
Nvidia undoubtedly had the Radeon HD 7950 Boost in its sights as it set the clock speeds and price for the GeForce GTX 760. The result is a card that ties or slightly outperforms the 7950 Boost at a lower $249.99 starting price. That puts the GTX 760 in a better position on our value scatter plot.
Meanwhile, the GTX 770 is in a tougher spot. When it was introduced a couple of weeks ago, its $399.99 price tag undercut the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. The price advantage was especially welcome since the 7970 GHz is apparently still the faster card. Now, AMD and board makers have cut 7970 GHz prices in response, and the Radeon occupies the better spot in our value plots. In fact, it looks like AMD has queued up some limited-time offers to drop below $399, likely in anticipation of this next round of reviews.
When things are this close, oh, the games they will play.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, this sort of competition is a very good thing for consumers. We're just not sure how to declare any definitive winners in this ongoing fight, under the circumstances.
AMD has sweetened the pot considerably by bundling several big-name games with its 7950 and 7970 cards through some retailers. As long as that deal is available, and assuming you don't already own the games and would like to have them, the Radeons may be the more attractive option. Meanwhile, Nvidia has its own set of advantages to offer, including a clearly better track record of driver support for just-released games, the nifty auto-optimization features available via its GeForce Experience software, and markedly quieter coolers for cards based on its reference designs. If you're considering multi-GPU solutions, Nvidia's SLI is easily superior at present, too.
All of which leads us to the ultimate reviewer's cop-out. Under the circumstances, we're not gonna choose a winner. We're just gonna say: take your pick. You really can't lose either way.
140 comments — Last by wingless at 9:55 AM on 07/26/13
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