MSI's Radeon HD 7970 Lightning video card when overclocked performs extremely well and you can see thanks to that wider memory bus on offer from AMD alongside the extra memory when compared to the GTX 680, it shines extremely well at 2560 x 1600.
More importantly, not only does it offer really strong FPS at this resolution and strong gains, but it offers playable FPS. Seeing a strong performance gain is one thing at this resolution, seeing those gains when the numbers are playable, though, are so much more important.
The MSI HD 7970 Lightning is just packed with features, too. The bundle is strong, the cooler is awesome, the performance is great, the out of the box overclock is strong and the overclocking potential is fantastic due to a lot of the work MSI put into its Military Class III power features. If you're looking at something that you can have some real fun with then the Lightning video card we've got here today is exactly what you should be looking at.
The new GTX 680 is going to be the toughest competitor to the new HD 7970 Lightning which carries a $599 price tag. At the highest resolution, though, the HD 7970 continues to do extremely well and if you're gaming on a 27" or 30" 2560 based screen then the AMD offering is probably going to be more appealing. Especially since FPS become so much more valuable at this resolution.
The MSI HD 7970 Lightning is going to be one of the fastest HD 7970 video cards on the market for a while as they offer a complete custom setup that stands out from the pack. If you don't want to deal with the higher noise levels, you can always clock it down a little and use less voltage.
What you end up with is not only a video card that performs really well and looks great, but a video card that is just really fun. With MSI Afterburner you get more features to play with that in turn help you achieve even higher overclocks. Of course if you want to just benchmark under 3DMark 11 and compete with other air cooled people, you can achieve even higher clocks. For us, though, we aim for clocks that are 100% stable across all of our benchmarks.