Winners and Losers
Ever since we tested the GeForce GTX 670, we knew this had to be the best value high-end graphics card in the market. However, this impression was mostly based on 2560x1600 performance since the GPU could easily maneuver the workload. This time we are also looking at lower resolutions where other more affordable contenders can perform admirably (60fps or higher), so we were interested to see how it compared at 1920x1200.
We still feel the GTX 670 is the best performance option available at 1920x1200, but with an average of 71fps across the games tested, some might argue it's more than you need for the money. Therefore, staying true to our original parameters, the best value card for 60fps gameplay is the Radeon HD 7950.
Our data tables below will help you digest how today's graphics cards stack up. These findings are based on maximum visual settings for each title and the numbers will change drastically if you tweak visuals. By reducing or disabling certain features such as shadows, it is entirely possible to squeeze playable performance out of lesser cards at the tested resolutions. Given the endless possibilities, we're sticking with maximum settings for ease of making comparisons.
The GTX 670 is an incredible value for a high-end graphics card, costing $5.61 per frame with solid performance across the board. By comparison, you would pay $6.56 per frame with the GTX 680 or $6.49 per frame with the HD 7970. A strong case could also be made for the HD 7950, which runs $5.64 per frame but costs about $60 less than the GTX 670 and delivers an average performance of 60fps.
Similarly, it'd also be possible to get away with the HD 7870 at this resolution as it offered the same cost per frame value as the GTX 670, albeit with an average frame rate of 55fps and a total cost of $310.
At 2560x1600, we picked the GTX 670 as both the best performance and value option, costing $8.63 per frame versus $10.13 for the GTX 680 and $9.46 for the HD 7970, while averaging only a few frames per second less.
The HD 7950 is technically a slightly better value than the GTX 670, but at extreme resolutions such as this, every frame counts and it's easy to justify a slight premium for Nvidia's card.
To recap, the GTX 670 is hands down the best pound for pound gaming card currently available. Although it's a tad overkill in some games today, one could argue you'll appreciate this leeway a year or two down the road. If you're running at ~1080p and you want to save a few bucks, you can opt for the Radeon HD 7950 or HD 7870 and still achieve a frame rate above the desired 60fps threshold with most modern games.
Extra download: You can download the tables above in Excel format. Remove some games or give more emphasis to those titles you are most interested in, and calculate your own dollars per fps score. If graphics card pricing was to change in the near future you can also make the adjustments yourself and compare all cards head to head with ease.