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Dueling Drivers, A PR Do-Over, & The Test

Coinciding with the launch of the 7970GE, both AMD and NVIDIA have released new drivers this week. For AMD the 7970GE will be launching with the Catalyst 12.7 beta, while NVIDIA has released the 304.48 betas for the entire lineup. For both AMD and NVIDIA these are major performance drivers, with both groups seeing significant performance in a handful of games.

We’ll take a look at the full performance spectrum starting with our regular benchmarks on the next page, but first we wanted to quickly break out the performance impact of the driver changes for both the 7970 and the GTX 680 at 2560x1600.

The biggest gains for AMD and NVIDIA are seen in DiRT 3 and Shogun 2 respectively. For reasons we’re not fully sure of, AMD has managed to significantly improve their performance on DiRT 3 and turn the tables on what was previously a game favoring NVIDIA. At the same time however NVIDIA has finally fixed the Kepler performance bug that was introduced in the March update for Shogun 2, restoring performance to where it was before the update and pushing NVIDIA ahead of AMD once more.

Meanwhile AMD sees lesser gains in Batman, BF3, and Skyrim, while NVIDIA also gains on Batman but that’s about it. Altogether AMD’s latest driver update has pushed their average performance ahead slightly more than NVIDIA’s, which for the 7970 versus the GTX 680 means that the GTX 680 now leads by about 9% instead of 10%. It’s not nearly enough to change any recommendations, but the fact that AMD and NVIDIA have swapped leads in certain games is a reminder of how important drivers can be and how volatile performance leads are.

A PR Do-Over

Because the 7970GE is functionally identical to the 7970 save its higher clocks and PT Boost, we’re opting to use our limited time to focus solely on performance. With that said it was interesting to see that AMD is very much treating the 7970GE launch as a do-over for the 7900 series. In their press presentation they spent a fair bit of time focusing on various aspects of the 7900 series and GCN we’re already familiar with, such as compute performance, their Leo technology demo, and of course GCN.

None of this has any direct relevance to the performance of the 7970GE, but we thought it was worth mentioning since it gives a bit more insight into how AMD is approaching things. This is all we’re going to say on the matter, but we have reproduced a few of the press slides below for any of you that are interested.

The Test

CPU: Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4.3GHz
Motherboard: EVGA X79 SLI
Chipset Drivers: Intel 9.​2.​3.​1022
Power Supply: Antec True Power Quattro 1200
Hard Disk: Samsung 470 (256GB)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1867 4 x 4GB (8-10-9-26)
Case: Thermaltake Spedo Advance
Monitor: Samsung 305T
Asus PA246Q
Video Cards: AMD Radeon HD 5870
AMD Radeon HD 6970
AMD Radeon HD 7870
AMD Radeon HD 7950
AMD Radeon HD 7970
AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 304.42 Beta
AMD Catalyst 12.7 Beta
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

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  • behrouz - Friday, June 22, 2012 - link

    nevermind i got it Reply
  • Lepton87 - Friday, June 22, 2012 - link

    I don't agree that 7970GHz isn't any faster than GTX680.

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7970_GHz...

    Just look at the performance summaries. At 2560x1600 it's clearly the faster card.
    Reply
  • Homeles - Friday, June 22, 2012 - link

    Keep in mind, every 680 boosts differently. Every site is going to have different opinions because of this. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link

    That's why a collated average is so helpful.

    "
    Summary of results at a resolution of 2560x1600:

    GeForce GTX680 is on average 32.36% more efficient than GeForce GTX580,

    GeForce GTX680 is on average 6.39% more efficient than the Radeon 7970. "

    http://translate.google.pl/translate?hl=pl&sl=...

    The GTX 680 wins. It's clear beyond any amd fanboys illusions, wishes, and fantasies, most often stated every time, till the day they croak it.

    It's "their opinion" though, so "it's not wrong"... (if that tracks as true for you check your forehead for 3 stamped letters.)
    Reply
  • thebluephoenix - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - link

    Efficiency? You know that 5870 was far more efficient than GTX480. 6970 also compared well to GTX 580.

    Before calling people fanboys be sure that you aren't one.

    For me it's simple, 7970 has good compute performance, and GTX 680 has PhysX.

    7970 GE = 7970 OC Edition, still a very good card.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    It's the wording used by the collator, a foreigner no doubt, "efficiency" you fool, since you didn't check the link.

    It MEANS FRAME RATE.

    Leave it to the retarded, once again, to jump, screech, and FAIL.
    Reply
  • thebluephoenix - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Efficiency usually means energy efficiency. Perf/Watt, (or rMAX/rPeak, on Top500 site).

    Except for google translated polish pages, obviously.

    Frame rate is speed, so the card is faster, not more efficient.

    Go now, be (nV)idiot somewhere else.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    It is ALSO more efficient. How clueless are you still ? Why do clueless Cluseau's respond ?

    Look, if you ever decide to click the link and take a gander for an hour or two ( my estimation about how long it would take for you to get a round opinion of the massive database of the most popular reviewers concerning these tow cards, don't get back to me.

    A gigantic thank you would be nice but I'm not expecting it.

    Maybe silverblue needs a friend too, then you can spew name calling together, and giggle, that is likely the extent of the mental capacities, so have at it.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, June 29, 2012 - link

    Yet amusingly, you failed to point out the error of the author's ways before somebody here pulled you up on it... I doubt that efficiency is a word that can be mis-translated; the author just used the wrong term. The very fact that you quoted two lines with the same incorrect term proves that you were happy enough to treat it - as is so often in your case - as factual. If anything, the 680 is probably something in the region of 10-15% more efficient per frame than the 7970 based off the collated results on that article, notwithstanding the fact that drivers have been significantly revised for both architectures since then.

    You also stated that the article was '"their opinion" though, so "it's not wrong"' but you slate everybody else's conflicting opinions as wrong. Am I the only person seeing an issue with this approach?

    I'm really confused as to why you even bother to visit here except to be a class-A troll, and I'm going to take some of my own advice and flat out ignore you from now on unless you actually say something of any use. Ordinarily, I wouldn't tell others what to do but on this occasion, I implore them to follow suit. We should put you in a room with Beenthere just for the hell of it.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, June 30, 2012 - link

    You're goners in the head dude.
    The article, which you still obviously never looked at (as it will crush your amd fan heart), collates reviews from around the web, including this sites.

    It's not an opinion, it's FACTS, as best we can get them, in one BIG mathematically deduced pile, and the word is meant to be FRAME RATES, which of course is all you amd fan boys claim you care about, unless of course you were spewing about eyefinity without 3 monitors and no $100 adapter that took a year and a half to come down to $35 not available...

    Just face the facts for once, like a man.
    Reply

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