We won't go into any major detail on the testbed side of things as everything is really covered above. Instead we'll just cover the cards that will be in our graphs today before we move onto the overclocking side of things. Outside of the Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition TOXIC manually overclocked by us today we'll also have it at the out of the box speeds it offers.
Also from AMD we're going to have the original HD 7970 along with the reference HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB card we looked at when it launched. As for the NVIDIA side of things we've got three GTX 680s here including the reference clocked model, a 4GB model from Palit that falls under the Jetstream series and the 2GB pre-overclocked model from Gainward that falls under the Phantom series.
With that covered let's get into the overclocking side of things. As always we fire up MSI Afterburner to see what we're able to get out of the Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition TOXIC. To give you an idea on some other clocks the original reference HD 7970 carried a core clock of 925MHz while the 3GB of GDDR came in at 5500MHz QDR. The new GHz Edition card carried a core clock of 1050MHz and the 3GB of GDDR5 came in at 6000MHz QDR.
When it came to the overclocking side of things we managed to get the MSI HD 7970 Lightning 3GB to 1225MHz on the core while the memory clocked to 6300MHz QDR. The new GHz Edition reference card managed to pull in a core clock of 1165MHz and the 3GB of GDDR5 came in at 6800MHz QDR.
Looking above you can see what we managed to get out of the Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition TOXIC 6GB. We managed to bring the core up to 1280MHz while the 6GB of GDDR5 managed to pull in an insane 7000MHz QDR clock. These are some really very strong numbers and it will be interesting to see just what kind of performance we're able to get today.
The FPS Numbers Explained
When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.
30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.
60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.
120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.