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Looking for new GPU, $400 budget, 1.5GB+ VRAM

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I was just reading the fine print of my summer job contract, and it said that I get 12% extra pay since if I didn't take any days off for the one month that I worked there. That means I get $350 extra. You know what that means? New GPU!

I get my cash in 5 days, so I can either buy something really soon or wait until GTX 6xx or HD 7xxx as well, but I wanted to know what my best options are right now if I decide to cave in (I am extremely impatient). I have school during the week so if I cave in it will have to wait until next weekend.

Anyway, I want something which will last, so I want 1.5GB+ VRAM.

The cards I have been looking at are the GTX 480, GTX 570, HD 6950, and HD 6970.

Which one would you recommend and why?
post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComradeNF View Post
I was just reading the fine print of my summer job contract, and it said that I get 12% extra pay since if I didn't take any days off for the one month that I worked there. That means I get $350 extra. You know what that means? New GPU!

I get my cash in 5 days, so I can either buy something really soon or wait until GTX 6xx or HD 7xxx as well, but I wanted to know what my best options are right now if I decide to cave in (I am extremely impatient). I have school during the week so if I cave in it will have to wait until next weekend.

Anyway, I want something which will last, so I want 1.5GB+ VRAM.

The cards I have been looking at are the GTX 480, GTX 570, HD 6950, and HD 6970.

Which one would you recommend and why?
@ 1080, just throw in another 6870 and use the extra cash for some water blocks. Unless your gaming on high or extreme resolutions, more than 1.5gb of vram is useless.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wermad View Post
@ 1080, just throw in another 6870 and use the extra cash for some water blocks. Unless your gaming on high or extreme resolutions, than 1.5gb of vram is useless.
No it isn't. I went over to a friends house during BF3 alpha and his 6950 1GB maxed out the 1GB of VRAM. He had only had the card for 2 weeks, so we went to Fry's and exchanged it for a 2GB card, and it was using up 1.2GB's. This is all at 1080p.

I'm looking for something to be futureproof as well. Besides, my MB only has 1 PCIe 2.0 slot.
post #4 of 20
6970 is the best choice then.
    
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post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComradeNF View Post
No it isn't. I went over to a friends house during BF3 alpha and his 6950 1GB maxed out the 1GB of VRAM. He had only had the card for 2 weeks, so we went to Fry's and exchanged it for a 2GB card, and it was using up 1.2GB's. This is all at 1080p.

I'm looking for something to be futureproof as well. Besides, my MB only has 1 PCIe 2.0 slot.
Hmm? I thought AMD cards couldn't monitor VRAM usage. Did his performance change significantly moving to a 2GB card?

Anyway, Of the 4 listed the 480 should be the most powerful (if it clocks well).

It's roughly equal to a 570 at stock but is slightly faster clock for clock, and has a fair bit of headroom with proper cooling.

Of course it will also be by far the hottest, loudest and most power hungry. Since running dual cards is out of the question for you though, that shouldn't be a huge problem.

If you're more interested in energy efficiency and extra memory then the 6950/70 might be a better option.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComradeNF View Post
No it isn't. I went over to a friends house during BF3 alpha and his 6950 1GB maxed out the 1GB of VRAM. He had only had the card for 2 weeks, so we went to Fry's and exchanged it for a 2GB card, and it was using up 1.2GB's. This is all at 1080p.

I'm looking for something to be futureproof as well. Besides, my MB only has 1 PCIe 2.0 slot.
One game shouldn't really dictate your choice but a lot of people rely on this belief (I'm guilty of this at times. but its for three screens hence the three 580s with 3gb).

As anthrax suggested, a 6970 would be ideal, sell the 6870 and get a waterblock as Caymans are hot and noisy (I owned three 6950s unlocked). Or get one w/ a different cooler.
post #7 of 20
If you don't mind some heat/noise, at current prices, the best option of those is the 480, with the 6950 2GB a close second in terms of value. Personally I'd prefer the 480, but a solid case could be made for either.
    
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post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booty Warrior View Post
Hmm? I thought AMD cards couldn't monitor VRAM usage. Did his performance change significantly moving to a 2GB card?
Snap. You're right, ATI/AMD never coded the driver API to expose this property so that software can read that value in Win7/Vista, unlike nV. At least, not unless a new driver has recently come out that supports it ... I'd think I'd have heard about that if it did though.

I'm afraid your friend was probably not looking at vram usage with his AMD card.

I only *very* rarely have seen all my vram (1.2GB) getting all used up, and that's at 1920x1200. 1.2GB is fine for 1080p. Worst case you sacrifice a little AA from time to time.
    
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post #9 of 20
Grab a used 580 and call it a day man.
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post #10 of 20
Go with the 570 and never look back. It really is the best that you can get in terms of down to the wire raw speed. It will do things at 1080p which a 560 ti can only dream of !

And i thought this sub section was primary for Nvidia cards only, why are other suggesting Radeon 6970's and such? If OP has a 2 different chipset companies in mind, why not post it in the General section? So there can be both parties that can properly discuss the advantage/disadvantages of each card.

We wouldn't want some Nvidia fanbiased person taking over in the ATI section, now, would we?
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