Very hit and miss as to the newer kit helping in any way. Some yes, some no. But I'd still be banking that the x79 pcie3.0 lane usage isn't being capitalised on by the mobo for anything other than storage, at this point - so Intel boast. Which isn't fair atm as the 7970 is pcie3.0 boasting on AMD's website.
Artificial benchmarking-wize, for the higher numbers you want for your submission, you'd stick with the "older" i7... which is bizarre. Verging on madness imo. Although I do recognize that there are bios upd8s for mobos, particularly Gigabyte I seen the other day, that are allowing higher oc etc. To that extent it's still a work in progress I guess.
Still bizarre to me. Newer cpu, newer mobo, quad memory - I'd expect more. Seems the realization is that the z77 (or whatever they'll be released as) will be the pci3.0 'real utilizers'. We will have to see.
On another note, I'd be interested in knowing if Mafia 2 and Metro 2033 were benched with PhysX used on the cards. I know it's classed as "unfair" to do so, by those who can't use it gpu-wize, but if you're looking at a set of results of which to base your purchase of a game to play either of them, and your £440+, you'd want to be sure you can enable everything and expect the same results. Especially when comparing with the older 580 @ £360+ Today.
Judging from the euphoric nature of the responses to 7970 reviews, I thought it cleared the 580 by more than it did in many graphs here. It certainly does an outstanding job of raising the minimum fps across the board, even in those it didn't get a better average fps in. A good die shrink, which I'm pretty sure is the best you can hope for from nVidia for a fair time to come.
Memory usage is something people don't closely look at. I can remember benching one rig with.. GTA X (not sure if 2/3 or whatever) and the graphics levels were not permitted to be raised any further, quality wize, cos the preferences showed that the graphics memory wouldn't take it. And this wasn't a cheap card, so memory can be important. It would be nice to see more games show such a memory usage bar in their preferences.
It's good to have a choice from both card manufacturers to chose from now, although I didn't think the 6970 was "that-bad" as people reported.