When it was introduced the HD 7970 GHz Edition was a high end card and people were willing to dish out €500 to get their hands on one. However, nearly two years after the first HD 7970 cards hit the market, even the GHz Edition is looking like another mid-range card, with a upper mid-range price tag of less than €300. The R9 280X is no different, since it is essentially an HD 7970 GHz Edition.
That said, the HD 7970 earned a rock solid reputation for being great for gaming and relatively easy on your credit card. We believe gamers will continue to buy the R9 280X due to its attractive price point. The same Tahiti XT2 GPU is used on both cards and the performance difference between the R9 280X and the HD 7970 GHz Edition is negligible.
There’s no reason to waste much time commenting performance. We are all already aware of what the old HD 7970 GHz Edition was capable of and the R9 280X is just more of the same. Gaming at high resolutions is not a problem, not even in some of the most demanding titles out there.
However Gigabyte’s R9 280X OC WindForce ends up 4% to 6% faster thanks to the factory overclock. Also bear in mind that you can combine HD 7970 or HD 7970 GHz Edition with the R9 280X in Crossfire for more performance. The WindForce cooler manage to provide good cooling but it is not quiet; it wasn’t too loud to hold it against the card.
Another thing that drew many gamers to the HD 7970 GHz Edition was the Never Settle bundle. Unfortunately, we have some bad news for gamers who are still keen on the Never Settle voucher program, which includes three free games. AMD decided, at least for now, not to include the game vouchers with R9/R7 series graphics cards.
Gigabyte is also playing the no-Never-Settle-voucher game but it is interesting that the R9 280X OC WindForce has great price. It is one of the cheapest factory overclocked R9 280X graphics cards and it is available for €250. At the same time Gigabyte HD 7970 GHz Edition WindForce will actually cost you more, about €280.
Bottom line, Gigabyte’s R9 280X OC WindForce is a great choice for gaming at 1920x1080, but depending on the game you can even hit 2560x1600 at acceptable frame rates. It’s currently available for about €250 which is great value, since there’s practically no price premium for the overclocked GPU and non-reference cooler.
The WindForce cooler isn’t the quietest out there, but then again it does a decent job but overclocking headroom is limited; we’ve seen much better. In any case, Gigabyte’s R9 280X OC WindForce is definitely a graphics card you should take a look at if you’re looking for good value.