Currently have a Gigabyte 7870 Ghz Edition @ 1240 core & 1400 memory which slightly beats a stock 7950 which that 7950 costs around a 100 bucks more.
Not saying the 7950 is not worth buying..it is if you dont mind paying an extra 100 bucks for 10-12 more frames per second over a 7870.
GIGABYTE GV-R787OC-2GD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
currenly costs 250 bucks but it comes with two free games.
You can find it for around 210 - 220 dollars without the two free games newegg currently is offering it for, i bought mine at Amazon.com. I did extensive research and i am a freak when i get focused on something and have a compulsive disorder (doctor told me so lol) so when i do research i do it for hours on end for days at a time and i found the 7870 is the best bang for the buck card especially if you overclock it. My gigabyte card comes with a windforce x3 cooler, to me one of the very best coolers a video card can come with out of the box..it has three fans on the cooler of the graphics card and does an incredible job of keeping it cool at all times even on very heavy load it never goes over 53c ..although i do have very good air cooling in my case (six 120mm fans) as well so i am sure that helps a bit too but from what i've read from other owners of my card...they all have very good temps with this card combined with the windforce x3 cooler..which comes with the card..its not some addon cooler you must buy. There are a few other brands of the 7870 that come with kick ass coolors and/or OC really good, even better then my gigabyte 7870 Ghz Edition..i found a few guys with a OC core at 1300mhz on a 7870, although i forget which brand it was.
Anyways, before i bought the card..i was checking out the 7950 and the 7870 XT and i kept looking hard at the 7950 for a while but after extensive research i went with the gigabyte 7870 over the 7950 and 7870 XT as it was cheaper ...i got my card for 200 bucks on amazon which was on a weekend sale in late December 2012..which was 40 dollars cheaper than the 7870XT and 100 dollars cheaper than the 7950 and the frame rate difference between my card and the other two i mentioned above is with in 10-12 frames per second in just about all game benchmarks...is it really worth spending that extra money for that tiny bit of more frames per second if you are simply looking for the best bang for the buck? No its not...
Here's the selling point as the best bang for the buck with the 7870 if you are comfortable in overclocking. My gigabyte 7870 comes stock at 1100 core & 1200 memory. I can overclock it without a hitch to 1240 core & 1400 memory and it slightly beats a 7950 stock. Granted..a 7950 overclocked is going to beat my 7870 overclocked..but again..the frame rate difference of the two cards simply isnt worth a 100 bucks. This is why most computer review sites give the 7870 the card this generation the biggest bang for the buck, hands down.
Sure some people want the highest possible frames per second..and i understand enthusiasts that spend big money on the best of the best video cards because i am the same way when it comes to my HDTV and Yamaha Receiver and my speakers for my home theater setup..i spent over 7 grand on my home theater equipment but when it comes to my home theater PC ...i bought what was sufficient to provide me top quality blu-ray movie playback, high quality visual settings with pc games and enough room with my graphics card to last me another few years. I usually upgrade every year and half or every two years and because i didnt spend an arm and a leg for the graphics card...selling it and upgrading to the next generation high-mid range graphics card wont cost me very much.
When it comes to graphic cards...i've always bought the best bang for the buck card..i never went all out and spent extreme amounts of money towards a very high end graphics card ..personally i find it a waste of money because when you see a card cost almost a 100 dollars more for around 10 frames per second gain over the 100 dollar less card..it's simply wasting money imho and then 6 months later you see cards that were selling for 350 dollars down to 250 dollars...PC hardware..especially graphic cards are always being lowered in price every 6 months it seems..its like buying a new car from a dealership and the second you drive it off the lot..it loses thousands in value the instant you drive it off the lot...i find graphic cards work in a similar fashion... you pay 350-400 bucks for a video card and 6-8 months later it can be bought for 100-125 dollars less..in mere months
Others will say otherwise...and they will be the PC enthusiast that are super finicky with super high resolutions and high AA,etc... personally i use 1440x900, X2 MSAA - X16 AF and even a demanding game like Crysis 3 i get mid to high 40 frames per second with all "very high settings" besides shadows and shaders set to "high" ...and i compared the difference of all very high to my settings and i couldnt even notice the difference.
So i would say go with the 7870 or if you can find a 7870 XT for around 200..get the XT otherwise just get the 7870..there is not much difference between the 7870 & 7870 XT besides a bit more shaders with the XT but both cards will match a 7950 stock when overclocked... my 7870 actually slightly beats a 7950 stock at my fairly high overclocked 7870 @ 1240 core & 1400 memory but its stable and i have ran it through various graphic card benchmarks and testing programs and it's a rock solid stable OC which is basically a stock 7950 at my OC.