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Old December 5, 2012, 08:28 AM
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great_big_abyss great_big_abyss is offline
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A brief history of video cards: 64 GPUs tested from the last five years - 3DMark Vantage | Hardware.Info United Kingdom

This isn't a straight answer. Examine the link above. This is comparing a bunch of video cards using 3d Mark. Compare the 5970 (32 342) to the 5870 (22 708) and you get an increase of 70% for the crossfire solution. So, not quite double. The addition of an extra core in the 5970 adds a net difference of 9634 vs the single 5870. So, let's assume that a third core (in this case your 5870) will add to the 5970 by that amount. Calculated score for the 5970+5870 in Tri-fire is 41 976 (this is making a lot of assumptions about linear increases from Crossfire to Trifire, but whatever). Compare the tri-fire score (41 976) to the 7970 score (35 733) and you have a higher score, therefore higher performance.

What these numbers don't tell you, however, is the problems you'll have using a tri-fire setup vs. a single 7970. Not all games support crossfire/trifire, and you'll probably get a LOT more microstutter using the tri-fire vs. the single 7970. Not to mention, the power consumption of three cypress chips running full bore will be a LOT more than triple the power consumption of a single 7970.

Essentially though, it's basically a wash. If you already own the cards, you're happy with your 5970+5870, and you don't mind the occasional driver issue, then I wouldn't bother changing. I would wait until next generation before buying a single high end GPU. On the other hand, if you're noticing a lot of microstutter, and incompatibility with games when using Tri-fire, then yeah, it may make sense to switch to a 7970. If you sell you 5970 and your 5870 on the BST, you'll probably make more than enough to buy a 7970 GHZ edition. Or, even a GTX680 if you wanted to go that way.
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