As usual we begin with synthetic benchmark 3D Mark 11. Surprisingly both cards were extremely close with almost nothing to separate them on the Performance preset and NVIDIA holding a mere 4% lead at the Extreme preset.
For our overclocking efforts, both cards final results were again remarkably close, with the HD 7970 GHz Edition catching up on the Extreme Preset, narrowing the gap to just 2%.
We saw a similar pattern when it came to gaming benchmarks with both cards trading leads across various tests and settings. AMD generally maintained a slight advantage at higher resolutions and with games with more demanding AA settings, however the actual tangible gaming experience was effectively identical.
Both Crysis Warhead and Batman: Arkham City exist as outliers with Warhead's tessellation heavy DX10 engine traditionally favoring AMD cards, and Arkham City's PhysX engine skewing towards NVIDIA.
Operating temperature was our main point of contention in our previous review of the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, and things haven't changed much since then. Running a full 14 degrees (20%) hotter than the GTX 680, and coupled with an extremely loud fan, it just can't compete with the GTX 680. In comparison, the GTX 680 runs extremely quietly thanks in part to a fin stack made from acoustic dampening material positioned next to its fan.
In terms of power consumption, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition was again much higher than the GTX 680, requiring a massive 33% more juice to attain the same level of performance.