Before we get into the actual gaming benchmarks, lets take a look at a couple of dedicated GPU benchmarks first. First up, 3DMark 11, which tests various DirectX 11 functions like tessellation and DirectCompute to put the GPUs through their paces. While both the ASUS and Sapphire HD 7970 outperformed the reference AMD card, their scores were not that impressive, with only a 3% and 1% performance gain respectively, on both the Performance and Extreme presets.
Additionally, NVIDIA’s reference GeForce GTX 680 was able to beat both cards by about 10% on both presets.
The Unigine Heaven 2.1 DX11 benchmark heavily stresses tessellation. Results were interesting here, with the two overclocked HD 7970s posting quite underwhelming results without anti-aliasing, improving on the reference card scores by only 2-3% each.
However, with anti-aliasing set to 8x, both ASUS and Sapphire saw a 10% increase when compared to the reference card across all resolutions.
Against the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, at resolution of 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 pixels, all three cards performed within 2% of each other. However at the highest resolution of 2560x1600 pixels , the Radeon HD 7970s started pulling ahead, maintaining a 3% difference between each other, but outperforming the GTX 680 by up to 15% with 8x AA. Some of this difference may be due to the GTX 680’s reduced memory buffer size.