GTX 680 vs. Radeon HD 7970 - Multi-Display Showdown

It is time for us to expand upon our Fall 2012 GPU Comparison to include SLI, CrossFireX, Eyefinity, and NV Surround. We will see how AMD and NVIDIA compare using the latest fall drivers, in a multi-display configurations and multi-GPU configurations when pushing an extreme amount of pixels.

Introduction

On Monday, November 12th, 2012 we published our Fall 2012 GPU and Driver Comparison Roundup evaluation. That evaluation was born out of the need to compare video cards this fall due to new performance drivers released from both NVIDIA and AMD. We compared a total of six video cards from the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, down to the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, and the GeForce GTX 680 down to the GeForce GTX 660 Ti. The drivers used were NVIDIA ForceWare 310.33 Beta and AMD's "Never Settle" Catalyst 12.11 Beta 6 drivers.

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In the end, we found that these new drivers have improved performance across the board on NVIDIA and AMD video cards. Both camps have benefited from improved driver performance in games. There is no time better than now to own an AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 series GPU as drivers are solid and fast. Our performance results indicated that AMD, with the latest Catalyst 12.11 Beta driver has taken a step out ahead of the NVIDIA competition. In fact, the Radeon HD 7950 with Boost video card has proven to be a better value compared to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti.

While that initial evaluation covered single-card comparisons, this evaluation today is going to look at SLI versus CrossFireX in Eyefinity and NV Surround using this fall's latest drivers. Today's look is solely squared off between the AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and GeForce GTX 680 in both single-card form and CrossFireX and SLI. We are going to look at single-card performance in Eyefinity and NV Surround, and then look at SLI and CrossFireX performance also in Eyefinity and NV Surround. This way we can really see who has it cut this fall to bring you the best gameplay experience when multi-monitors are in use.

Naturally, this is all about comparing these configurations with the latest drivers. As such, we are using the latest drivers possible at this time. That would be NVIDIA ForceWare 310.64 Beta released November 28th, 2012. On the AMD side that would be Catalyst 12.11 Beta 8 and 12.10 CAP 1 released November 16th, 2012.

*Note* - The newly released, as of 12/4 Catalyst 12.11 Beta 11 driver has no bearing on the performance shown in this evaluation of games with Catalyst 12.11 Beta 8. The Beta 11 driver only affects FarCry 3, it does not affect any of the games being used in this evaluation. Meaning, the performance shown here today with Beta 8 is exactly the same under Beta 11 in single and multi-GPU performance so the data is 100% up to date. If you are going to play FarCry 3 you will want to update to Beta 11.

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The test system specifications are above. As you can see we are testing with a triple-display setup, using the maximum native resolution of 5760x1200 as well as 5040x1050 to test these video cards. This is all Eyefinity versus NV Surround, no single-display gaming at all here today.