VisionTek’s HD 7970 still brings solid value to gaming
Test Configuration – Hardware
- Intel Core i7 3770K (overclocked to 4.5GHz); Turbo is on. Supplied by Intel.
- EVGA Z77 FTW motherboard (Intel Z77 chipset, latest beta 03-12-13 BIOS, PCIe 3.0 specification; CrossFire/SLI 16x+16x using Plex chip), supplied by EVGA.
- 16GB Kingston DDR3 Kingston RAM (8x2GB, dual-channel at 2133MHz; supplied by Kingston)
- Noctua NH-DH14 CPU cooler plus 7 case fans, supplied by Noctua.
- VisionTek HD 7970 at reference speeds and also further overclocked; on loan from VisionTek
- Nvidia GeForce 770, 2GB, reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
- EVGA GTX 770 SC 4GB, factory overclocked to 1111/7010MHz, on loan from EVGA
- Galaxy GTX 770 HOF, factory overclocked to 1200/1710MHz, on loan from Galaxy
- Nvidia GTX 780 (3GB, reference clocks), supplied by Nvidia
- Onboard Realtek Audio
- Genius SP-HF 800A speakers
- Two identical 500 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 hard drives configured and set up identically from drive image; one partition for Nvidia GeForce drivers and one for ATI Catalyst drivers
- Two Kingston 240GB HyperX SSDs configured and set up identically from drive image; one partition for Nvidia GeForce drivers and one for ATI Catalyst drivers; supplied by Kingston
- Cooler Master Platinum Pro 1000W PSU, supplied by Cooler Master
- Thermaltake Overseer RX-I full tower case, supplied by Thermaltake
- Philips DVD SATA writer
- HP LP3065 2560×1600 thirty inch LCD
- Three 23″ ASUS VG236 3D Vision-ready 120Hz displays, supplied by Nvidia/ASUS.
Test Configuration – Software
- WHQL Catalyst 13.9, application controlled, Surface optimizations off, High Quality, Vsync off
- Nvidia GeForce WHQL 327.23 for the reference GTX 770; Beta 326.80 for the EVGA GTX 770 SC and Galaxy GTX 770 HOF; High Quality; Single-display Performance mode; Prefer Maximum Performance, Vsync off
- Windows 7 64-bit; very latest updates
- Latest DirectX
- All games are patched to their latest versions.
- Vsync is forced off in the control panels.
- Varying AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied; 16xAF forced in control panel for Crysis.
- All results show average frame rates
- Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
- Windows 7 64, all DX9 titles were run under DX9 render paths, DX10 titles were run under DX10 render paths and DX11 titles under DX11 render paths.
- FireStrike (and FireStrike Extreme)
- 3DMark 11
- Heaven 4.0
- Valley 1.0
- Left 4 Dead 2
- Serious Sam 3 BFE
- Alan Wake: Ameican Nightmare
- The Witcher 2
- Borderlands 2
- Alien vs. Predator
- STALKER, Call of Pripyat
- Lost Planet 2
- Civilization V
- Total War: Shogun II
- Crysis 2
- DiRT 3
- DiRT: ShowDown
- Batman: Arkham City
- Battlefield 3
- Max Payne 3
- the Secret World
- Sleeping Dogs
- Sniper Elite V2
- Hitman: Absolution
- Far Cry 3
- Tomb Raider: 2013
- Assassin’s Creed 3
- Crysis 3
- BioShock: Infinite
- Metro: Last Light
- GRID 2
- Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Before we get to the VisionTek HD 7970’s performance charts, let’s look at overclocking, noise, and temperatures.
Overclocking, Noise and Temperatures
Overclocking the VisionTek HD 7970 is just as easy as overclocking any other Radeon using the Catalyst Control Center. Even when our settings are “default”, we always move the PowerTune Slider as far to the right as it will go – to +20% in most cases – so the card is not throttled.
We were able to add an additional 150MHz over the reference HD 7970 base clock of 925MHz to reach 1125MHz stably. We used MSI’s Afterburner but we could not reach higher than 1125MHz across all of our benchmarks. On top of the core overclock, we were able to reach +1500MHz on the memory, matching the GHz Edition’s clocks. We were not able to go any higher on the memory. In fact, when we benched at 5760×1080 we had to lower the memory clocks by 20MHz, down to 1480MHz for stability.
We did not adjust the VisionTek HD 7970’s voltage. Temperatures were never an issue and the fan profile remained at stock. Unfortunately, the reference HD 7970 is very loud when it ramps up to cool the GPU during normal gaming. For those who appreciate a quiet PC, aftermarket cooling for the HD 7970 is recommended.
Let’s head to the performance charts to see how the VisionTek HD 7970 compares with the reference GTX 770 at stock, Superclocked from EVGA’s factory as well as against the highly factory-overclocked Galaxy GTX 770 HOF, and versus the reference GTX 780.