The 6970 is now a budget card...!! (*laughing to myself*)
AMD is going to have to respond with price cuts, easily $59 to stay competitive. As of right now there is no reason to touch the 7970, as I can see it.
My criteria was: between AMD's HD7970 & whatever nVidia would bring... was what played BF3 better w/consistent rates. Minimums are more important to me, than peak. I like the fact that nVidia engineered their part as a thermal unit/base. Put a loop on one and it will constantly use just enough energy, thus efficient.
Have all-around efficiency is the key to me. I cannot wait to see what non-reference boards do...
$499 = win