After reviewing Haswell and a few GTX 770 cards, we noticed that there may have been something wrong with a few of our HD 7970 game results used for comparisons. The results in question were Battlefield 3, Civilization 5, and DiRT 3 using the MSI HD 7970. Our results showed it performed 24% better than a similar ASUS 7970 in Battlefield 3 and DiRT 3, that’s ~19% higher than we would expect taking the 5% clock difference into account. The same type of variance showed up in Civilization 5 as well, but not to as great of an extent, the MSI results were ~10% higher than expected. In the chart below, the Performance Difference minus Clock Difference column takes the 5% clock difference and assumes linear score scaling with core clock by subtracting it out of the relative performance numbers. Of course, scores don’t always scale nice and linearly, so we can still get some differences in that column, but expected the variation to be small. So, we re-tested those benchmarks with a large variation to make sure we didn’t have something set incorrectly.
The results of the retest brought the Battlefield 3 and Civilization V results down to where they should be making the difference in the two HD 7970s almost non-existent after considering the 5% clock difference. This closed the gap between the HD 7970 and GTX 770 in BF3 and extended the GTX 770’s already large lead in Civ 5. However, DiRT 3 results didn’t change much after the re-test, keeping the HD 7970 ~6% ahead of the GTX 770.
The new comparisons between the HD 7970 and the GTX 770 are as follows:
The HD 7970 still clearly beats or matches the GTX 770 in all of the benchmarks except for Civ 5 and HWBot Heaven Xtreme. So, my personal opinion of the GTX 770 doesn’t change in light of the new results. The GTX 770 costs the same, but performs worse than the HD 7970 on average. If one needs some of NVIDIA’s exclusive features in the $400 price range, then the GTX 770 is the card to get. Otherwise, a little more performance can be had from the HD 7970.
We’ll be updating the charts in the following recent reviews over the next few days.
– Matt T. Green (MattNo5ss)