The former comes with all the bells and whistles for $300 while the latter costs an extra $40 to $50, and their performance is no mystery considering they are rebadged versions of 2012's $400 AMD Radeon HD 7970 and $470 Nvidia GeForce GTX 680, respectively.
When we tested those cards a couple of years ago, the 7970 GHz Edition was 7% faster at 1920x1200 and 11% faster at 2560x1600, while the standard 7970 matched the GTX 680's performance.
Given that the GHz Edition was not only faster than the GTX 680 but also 18% cheaper, it won our recommendation as the best value $400+ graphics card.
Besides product names, fairly little has changed since then.
Today the HD 7970 GHz Edition is called the R9 280X and costs $100 less than its initial incarnation. Likewise, the GTX 680 was also reborn as the GTX 770, though Nvidia at least went to some trouble to disguise that fact by employing significantly faster GDDR5 memory and a slightly higher core clock speed, netting between 5 and 10% more performance.
Even so, because R9 280X is cheaper, we feel it's a better value. Should you agree, your purchasing decision will be more about sifting through more than a dozen competing brands.
To make that process a little easier, we're going to compare what we think are the best five R9 280X models in the market right now:
- Asus R9 280X DirectCU II TOP 3GB
- Gigabyte R9 280X WindForce 3X 3GB
- HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X² Turbo 3GB
- MSI R9 280X Gaming 6GB
- Sapphire Vapor-X Tri-X OC R9 280X 3GB
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