Game Performance: Crysis, Metro, DiRT, Shogun, & Batman

As the 7970 BEDD is a factory overclocked card it has a leg up in performance on the reference 7970, with the specific advantage depending on the game and whether it benefits more from the 8% core overclock or the 4% RAM overclock. Since this is architecturally identical to the reference 7970 we won’t make any drawn out conclusions, but it’s easy enough to see the benefits of higher clockspeeds on a 7970 card.

The BEDD leads the reference 7970 by about 4% in Crysis, more closely trending the memory clockspeed difference than the core clockspeed difference.

With Metro the story is similar; at 2560 we’re seeing a 4% gain. At 1920 however that gain is closer to 8%, which may mean Metro is teetering on being memory bandwidth limited at the highest resolutions.

DiRT 3’s performance gains almost strictly mirror the increase in the core clock, if not lead it by a bit. For this reason DiRT 3 is clearly the most GPU limited title in our lineup, and the title to benefit the most from XFX’s factory overclock.

Shogun is much like Metro: around 4% at 2560, and around 8% at 1920, indicating that it too may be reaching the limits of the 7970’s memory bandwidth.

Batman meanwhile is far more consistent. The gains from XFX’s overclock are just under 4%, almost exactly matching the memory bandwidth difference.

The Test, Power, Temp, & Noise Game Performance: Portal 2, Battlefield 3, Starcraft II, Civilization V


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  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 9, 2012 - link

    You should read the launch article. But in case you won't:
    "At the 7970’s core clock of 925MHz this puts Tahiti’s theoretical FP32 compute performance at 3.79TFLOPs, while its FP64 performance is ¼ that at 947GFLOPs. As GCN’s FP64 performance can be configured for 1/16, ¼, or ½ its FP32 performance it’s not clear at this time whether the 7970’s ¼ rate was a hardware design decision for Tahiti or a software cap that’s specific to the 7970. However as it’s obvious that Tahiti is destined to end up in a FireStream card we will no doubt find out soon enough."
  • R3MF - Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - link

    many thanks, must have missed that first time around. Reply
  • cyrusfox - Monday, January 9, 2012 - link

    Its great that you still include Starcraft 2 results, you're about the only site that still constantly includes that game, and as that game has odd issues on amd cpus and gpus, its good to know this card still scales well on that game. Appreciate that you still bench it Ryan. Thanks Reply
  • geniekid - Monday, January 9, 2012 - link


    I understand that FPSes are usually the most graphically taxing games, but SC2 and Civ 5 show that there are other genres that take advantage of graphical processing power. Plus, it's always nice to see benchmarks for games I actually play :)
  • vol7ron - Monday, January 9, 2012 - link

    Agreed for all the above.

    I used to love that Counter Strike was included in all the benchmarks. Realizing that game no longer saw any true benefit from a new GPU some odd years ago; but it was nice to see in the charts here on AT for posterity. BTW, I think Steam is developing a new engine for CS; maybe AT would like to do some reviews of software version differences.
  • chizow - Monday, January 9, 2012 - link

    AMD and its fans can't really claim they're the champions of the poor and downtrodden budget enthusiast anymore with the 7970's pricing. I mean the pricing looks OK compared to last-gen parts as of today, but I don't think that's going to be the case when Nvidia releases their Kepler parts in the next few months.

    Nvidia has a great opportunity with Kepler to do what AMD did to them a few years ago with Cypress....which is make the opposition look really bad with regard to pricing and win back some of that mindshare and goodwill AMD has built up over the years. If the high-end Kepler part ends up 15-20% faster than the 7970 as many expect and is priced at $500 like the last 2 Nvidia flagship single-GPU parts, I wonder if AMD will be the one issuing rebate checks?

    I always considered the 4870 a pricing mistake on AMD's part where they failed to capitalize on a successful part. What's clear is that AMD also realized their mistake and have made steps to correct their pricing over the years:

    4870 $299
    5870 $379 (raised to ~$430)
    6970 $369
    7970 $549!!!

    In the past, even when ATI was running 2nd for the generation behind Nvidia, they provided users value at a price point that made sense against that generation's competitor parts. I don't think that will hold true in this case when Kepler is finally released, and AMD will have to suffer those consquences (similar to Nvidia and GT200).

    Will be fun to see how it shakes out either way, but its good to see AMD trying to make a buck or two and put the charitable spin to rest for good.
  • SlyNine - Monday, January 9, 2012 - link

    I'm really hoping they lower the price.

    I bought 2 8800GTs 512 (when it first came out) and the 5870 when it first came out. I knew both those cards values were over the top. Proven by the fact that the cost went up soon after I bought them.

    My point is there can be value at the very high end, the 5870 is proof of that. This card can not touch what the 5870, 4870, 9700pro, 8800GT was in value at the time of release. If this card is the card that made them switch to AMD then they were not paying attention.
  • Morg. - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    They will lower the price, because nVidia will try to compete.

    They're just taking advantage of the current position of the 7970 : first 28nm gpu.
  • chizow - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    Well I think those are all valid case points and extremely impressive parts, but the reality of it is, the 5870's pricing was just a result of the fallout from the 4870.

    If you look back, as fast as the 5870 was, it was still in a similar position as the 7970 is today, only 15-25% faster than the GTX 285. The GTX 285 launched at only $380 as a die-shrink refresh of the 280. All prices around that time were badly deflated due to price wars, the economy, but most importantly, the 4870's pricing. So when the 5870 launched at the end of 2009, they couldn't price it any higher at first, but once it became clear Nvidia didn't have a 40nm response in 2009, they quickly jacked up the price.

    Overall though I think value just depends on where you are in the upgrade cycle with either Nvidia or AMD and how much of an improvement you need to see before you upgrade. If you're with Nvidia right now with a 480/580, the 7970 doesn't really look all that great for 15-25% more performance at $550. It makes more sense to wait for Kepler for that expected 50% increase at roughly the same price point.

    But it might be worth it for an AMD user who's going to see 50%+ gains from a 6970/5870. Still, one has to wonder if that performance is worth it for such a huge increase in price, which again, is the position AMD has put itself in based on their historical pricing.
  • Morg. - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    The 15-25% performance is wrong.

    drivers are beta at best

    resolution reviewed are typically where the 580 shines

    the 6970 was about 5% worse than a 580 above full HD . don't know where you get 50% but that's great for you.

    No top card ever looked great at its top card price. that's not the point of the top card.

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