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[H] GeForce GTX 680 3-Way SLI and Radeon 7970 Tri-Fire Review

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Going into this, we thought perhaps the Radeon HD 7970 Tri-Fire configuration would possibly have a solid advantage over GTX 680 3-Way SLI due to the difference in size of the memory footprint and bandwidth on each configuration. When you consider that HD 7970 has more VRAM capacity, and a much higher memory bandwidth, we thought that would be a shoe-in for superior Eyefinity performance at 5760x1200. However, the real-world gameplay experiences turned out quite differently

Source: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/04/25/geforce_gtx_680_3way_sli_radeon_7970_trifire_review/1


The proper way to do three GPU testing.
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post #2 of 68
Quote:
This means three HD 7970 cards will cost you between $1,347 and $1,437, whereas GTX 680 3-Way SLI will cost you $1,500. If you\'ve got that kind of cash to spend on a high-end GPU setup, it is likely not much of a stretch for you to upgrade from $1400 to $1500.

Yeah I was reading that thinking, "I don't think ~$150 is a deal breaker for someone dropping that much dough on tri-card config."

Interesting read, but I don't think i would ever be able to justify tri-sli to myself. biggrin.gif
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post #3 of 68
I was hoping to find some 1920x1080 or 2560x1600 results as they had done with SLI and Tri-SLI reviews before. Unfortunately it seems that they have discarded those resolutions in favor of 5760x1200.

The Power Draw results are quite spectacular for the 680 in Triple-SLI. The power consumption has been reduced drastically in comparison to GF100 and GF110.
Edited by 45nm - 4/25/12 at 11:47am
post #4 of 68
At 1920x1080 or 2560x1600 I am sure you would be cpu limited and therefore not even worth testing.
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post #5 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 45nm View Post

I was hoping to find some 1920x1080 or 2560x1600 results as they had done with SLI and Tri-SLI reviews before. Unfortunately it seems that they have discarded those resolutions in favor of 5760x1200.

It's because there is really no point in running three 680's or 7970's on a 1080P screen. The GPU's would never be maxed out and would be CPU limited. Although, you would see a benefit at 2560x1600.

One thing I found interesting in thi review and have seen myself first hand is the "quality of the smoothness" while you play the game. AMD strives for the absolute highest FPS numbers at the expense of smoothness in crossfire, versus NVIDIA IMO gives a smoother experience in SLI and sacrifices some FPS for that. I much prefer the smoother experience of NVIDIA SLI.
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post #6 of 68
I'm undecided about any test done on these cards.

Look at how much AA affects the GTX680 in BF3, just as it should due to a VRAM limit. Yet they insist that it feels smoother?

Then look at how the GTX680 scores so well with max AA in Deus Ex: HR, even though we all know there should be a limitation. The margin between the 680 and 7970 here is stupidly insane for no apparent reason.

This all has to be driver related. AMD really need to get their drivers into shape ASAP, the 7970 was kicking ass in BF3 like it was meant to, yet actual gameplay performance sucked (one reason why I always say benchmarks are completely useless), then in other games the 7970 was getting destroyed for no apparent reason.

I bet with a better driver package, the 7970 would be dominating the 680's in any game. I think this review indicates that. There's no way Deus Ex was a hardware limitation, absolutely no way. The same goes for BF3 and the quality of the game play, even though it was putting out more consistent frames.
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post #7 of 68
My only beef with this review and Hardocp in general is that they only test games we already know favor nvidia hardware and they really don't test many games at all. I'd like to see more reviews with 10+ games tested so you can get a fuller view of th performance you can expect.
    
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post #8 of 68
  • They're still PCIe limited tongue.gif Especially on CF. They need an X79 test rig.
  • Did they disable the 500MB of VRAM hog known as Aero?
  • Did they plug each monitor into its own card for SLI? (part of why CF micro-stutter is so bad due to delay of transferring frame buffer over PCIe lanes to the first card)
  • Why did Brent speculate whether 3GB VRAM was enough on the Skyrim test? All he had to do was load up Afterburner to check. Not sure why he couldn't figure out that the problem is with the CF profiles, not the VRAM.

Edited by PoopaScoopa - 4/25/12 at 1:22pm
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoopaScoopa View Post

They're still PCIe limited tongue.gif Especially on CF. They need an X79 test rig.
Did they disable Aero too?

This, 3 cards on SB doh.gif
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post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by CallsignVega View Post

It's because there is really no point in running three 680's or 7970's on a 1080P screen. The GPU's would never be maxed out and would be CPU limited. Although, you would see a benefit at 2560x1600.
One thing I found interesting in thi review and have seen myself first hand is the "quality of the smoothness" while you play the game. AMD strives for the absolute highest FPS numbers at the expense of smoothness in crossfire, versus NVIDIA IMO gives a smoother experience in SLI and sacrifices some FPS for that. I much prefer the smoother experience of NVIDIA SLI.

I agree in regards to the 1920x1080 results but what I would have enjoyed to see was the results at 2560x1600 whereby the GPU's would be less limited by the CPU. Under that resolution however it is CPU limited and the scaling would be less noticeable.

In regards to the smoothness of gameplay it is interesting that you should mention it. That was one of the original reasons I chose a 580 SLI setup when I built this system back in Q4 2011. While the 6970's were showing slightly better performance numbers there was the issue of stuttering even at playable performance levels. That issue was affecting not only Battlefield 3 but also Crysis 2 and several other games. I have no regrets with the 580 SLI setup and I may in the future upgrade to the 680 SLI setup.
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