High-end graphics cards: SA price roundup

Powercolor HD7990

In this article we compare prices for high-end graphics cards that can do ALL THE THINGS without breaking the bank and giving you a ton of features. Longevity comes at a price, but which cards should you be looking at to still give you bang for your buck?

Below is the listed pricing for the various graphics cards from local online retailers. The lowest prices are highlighted in Bold. If a product is listed as “Sold out”, “Contact for availability” or “Limited stock”, that price does not make it into this table.

Graphics cards Rebel Tech Wootware Ikonix Titan-Ice Prophecy
MSI GTX670 Power Edition 2GB  4465  4571  5104  4779.22
AMD Radeon HD7970 GHz Edition  5387  5448  5599  5800.76
Nvidia Geforce GTX770 2GB  5195  6383  6081  6299  5762.12
Nvidia Geforce GTX780 3GB  8903  9433  9949  9497.48
Nvidia Geforce GTX690 4GB  11,888  12,057  12,306  12,749  12,900

Setting the standard: MSI Geforce GTX670 Power Edition

  • MSI Geforce GTX670 2GB Power Edition ± R4730
MSI GTX670 Power Edition

MSI GTX670 Power Edition

Among overclockers, they call this card “The Goat Eater.” I’m not so sure why, but it’s probably a name deserving of such a beast. Maybe beasts eat goats… but the point is that the MSI GTX670 Power Edition is one of the best mainstream cards you can buy today. At stock speeds it’s in the same league as the AMD Radeon HD7970 and once overclocked it can stay on the tailpipes of the GTX680 fairly easily.

Its a fitting beginning to the high-end segment and a tribute to the Geforce 600 family, which is slowly being replaced by Nvidia. For around R4700 its one of the best cards you can buy and it comes bundled with Metro: Last Light. On average, it’s also R500 – R800 cheaper than most Radeon HD7970 cards. However, the superior Radeon’s capabilities at high resolutions and the Never Settle game bundle may be the bigger attraction.

The best of the best: Geforce GTX770 and Radeon HD7970 GHz Edition

  • Nvidia Geforce GTX770 ± R5944
  • AMD Radeon HD7970 GHz Edition ± R5558
AMD Radeon HD7970 GHz Edition and Nvidia Geforce GTX770

AMD Radeon HD7970 GHz Edition and Nvidia Geforce GTX770

Its becoming increasingly difficult to justify buying a GTX680 when it’s successor, the GTX770, is the same price or lower and outperforms it with an average 15%  lead in most benchmarks and games. The GTX770 is what the GTX680 should have been. It overclocks better and higher, it runs cooler, it has better boost controls and some cards come with the sexy cooler also found on the GTX780 and the GTX Titan.

The only card that can stand up to it is the Radeon HD7970 GHz Edition. The price war that’s now going on in the R5000 – R6000 price bracket is heating up to extreme levels. While AMD’s flagship has seen several price cuts already, the GTX770 is brand new and ends up being the same price. At resolutions like 2560 x 1440, these cards are what you need. Its just a pity the GTX770 still has a 256-bit memory bus.

It could crush the Radeon easily, but Nvidia has chosen to profit off the card’s cheaper build materials instead of aiming for outright power.

King of the Hill: Nvidia Geforce GTX780

  • Nvidia Geforce GTX780 ± R9445
Nvidia GTX780 press shot

Nvidia GTX780 press shot

Its easily the best single-chip graphics card in the world. Ducking under the R10,000 mark that seems to be the hallmark of über-fast graphics solutions, it trails its larger GTX Titan sibling by only 8% in most games and benchmarks. Couple that with near-identical specifications, a quieter fan profile, and slightly more overclocking headroom and you have a bargain. The trading value with the US Dollar does mean the price gets boosted up more than it should be locally, but its still cheaper than the GTX Titan, the GTX690 and the stuttering Radeon HD7990.

Two of these is what’s recommended for running games at the Ultra HD 4K resolution with high settings for most games. One of these is recommended for the best performance on a single 30-inch monitor. It may be a crippled Titan, but its still one of the best cards Nvidia has ever made. If the price ever sinks down to around the R7000 level, AMD will have a lot to worry about in the high-end desktop market.

The BFG: Nvidia Geforce GTX690

  • Nvidia Geforce GTX690 ± R12,380
Nvidia Geforce GTX690

Nvidia Geforce GTX690

Nvidia’s dual-GPU cards approach something of a legendary status. Not only are they for the elite, they’re also usually the last and final word in high-end performance. In previous years the dual-GPU products from both AMD and Nvidia had terrible stuttering issues, high idle power consumption, produced too much heat and were not as efficient as two similar single cards in SLI. The GTX690 changed all that.

Not only did it fix frame rate issues for Nvidia and introduce frame metering for smoother gameplay, it also used much less power at idle and at load than its predecessor, the GTX590. Its brutally effective and its size means that it can still fit in a variety of chassis – some people even fit it into ITX enclosures. If its games you want along with the bragging rights, this is the better card to buy today.

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Forum discussion

Join the conversation

  • YePsy

    Stuttering on the 7990(or 2+ 7970’s) will be fixed with next AMD Driver update as far as I know

  • Yup 🙂 – AMD Stutter-free Crossfire driver release date announced

  • Jonathan King

    GTX770 vs HD7970? Friend has asked me for a 16k build must last as long as possible.

  • Yeah, the pricing was a little lower for the TwinFrozr back then. If its longevity you want, the HD7970 is the better buy because the larger memory bus size and 3GB of RAM will help it to power games that will use more than 2GB of RAM by default in the future.

  • Jonathan King

    Cool thank you for the reply.

  • PhlyBoy OhSoMazinG

    I never thought that graphics cards would cost this much. I guess I haven’t seen nothing yet

  • Ian Kemp

    GTX 760 actually. It’s as fast or faster than the outgoing 670, overclocks well, is cheaper than either the GTX 770 or Radeon 7900 series, and of course nVidia drivers remain the king in terms of stability.

    The extra memory and wider memory bus on the Radeon 7900s only comes into play with CrossFire and/or multi-monitor setups.

  • Ian Kemp

    Longevity and video cards don’t go together. By the time the 7970’s 3GB framebuffer becomes useful, it will be too slow to run any of the latest games.

High-end graphics cards: SA price roundup

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