The AMD Never Settle Game Bundle & Driver (Catalyst 12.11) are a nice surprise that we were not expecting. In this day and age good game bundles are far and few between. AMD is trying to get the attention of gamers with this offer and we feel that is will most certainly do the trick this holiday season.
If you purchase an AMD Radeon HD 7970 or 7950 graphics card you’ll get three game titles; Sleeping Dogs, Far Cry 3, and Hitman: Absolution. You also get a 20% discount code valid through EA’s Origin site. This is the crème de la crème when it comes to the Never Settle game bundles and is valued at ~$170 when you figure in the full MSRP of the game titles and discount voucher value. We did a quick price search and the lowest priced AMD Radeon HD 7950 video card is the Power Color AX7950 at $279.99 plus shipping after a $20 rebate. To get three good game titles and a discount for Medal of Honor: Warfighter is pretty damn impressive. You spend ~$280 and then you get roughly $150 in game titles. Hard to go wrong there.
All of the Never Settle game bundles are solid and we are glad to see that a good game title like Far Cry 3 is being included. We just happened to play the PC version of Far Cry 3 this past weekend and it was fun and is a game bundle title that you’ll actually play.
When it comes to the AMD Catalyst 12.11 drivers we are impressed that AMD was able to get such a nice performance improvement across the board. AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) GPU architecture was introduced in December 2011, so we honestly figured that AMD had already wrangled all the performance the could from it. We were told from AMD that it took this long to really look at how the new architecture works and to fully utilize everything in there. The AMD Catalyst 12.11 driver gives a noticeable performance boost in the vast majority of the game titles that we tried it out. We have no complaints there and it doesn’t appear that AMD is doing anything fishy to get the performance boost. We looked for image quality differences and renamed the executable file for 3DMark11 and other benchmarks. No differences were seen when looking for known exploit methods, but you never know. You’ll be able to download these drivers later this week and try them out for yourself and we highly advise in doing so.
The Sapphire HD 7970 3GB Vapor-X that we used for testing today runs $449.99 shipped after rebate and the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP Edition card that we used for comparison can be found online for $549.99 shipped. Both are factory overclocked and are great examples of each respective companies flagship single-GPU cards. When it comes down to it the Radeon HD 7970 costs significantly less, performs better and now comes with a much better game bundle than the GeForce GTX 680.
The AMD Never Settle driver and game bundle are a welcomed addition and certainly make things more interesting. We are happy to see that AMD is focusing on gamers and wanting their business, but the real verdict will be decided by you. Will this game bundle and new driver be enough to make you make you upgrade your current card? Be sure to let us know in the forums! It will also be interesting to see if NVIDIA counters with a game bundle or another type of a promotion to counter AMD.
Legit Bottom Line: AMD believes that gamers should Never Settle for less than the best and have launched a new driver and game bundle to entice gamers to buy AMD Radeon HD 7000 series video cards!