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Long Time Lurker/First Post: GPU Decision Time

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
So I've been lurking this forum for awhile now, and now that my financial stuff is nearly ready I've got a few questions. It's more than likely these have been asked before, but I'm gonna ask anyway. I'm building a gaming rig with a budget of $1500ish including mouse, keyboard, and monitor. I've recently come into $400 so I'm able to consider going from GTX 670 or 7970 to a more powerful card. The budget is flexible but not into GTX 690 or Titan range.

I'm gonna be using i5 3570k, Asrock Extreme4 Z77 mobo, and 8GB G.Skill RAM. Not interested in watercooling, will be overclocking CPU (not sure about GPU), and I'll possibly be doing SLI/Crossfire in the future.

Games I'll be playing include Skyrim, BF3/4, Star Citizen (OMG), Planetside 2, GW2, etc. Resolution at 1080p, and the goal is to not drop below 60 FPS.

1. So Nvidia or AMD? I can afford two 7970's but not sure I want to jump straight into crossfire.

2. How much VRAM? I intend to modify the hell out of Skyrim so will AMD's 3GB be enough? Or can a 680 even use all 4GB if I choose to go that way?

3. Is game optimization for certain GPU manufacturers really that prevalent? I'd like to have enough power to make that moot.

This will be the first PC I've built in over 10 years so wish me luck! Also apologies to anyone who read this before I edited it, I accidently hit Ctrl+enter instead of shift. Thanks everyone.
Edited by xandervanhousen - 3/26/13 at 5:46am
post #2 of 17
the only card out that can undo the 670 and the 7970 is the titan. the 690 has 2GB and that will limit you in some games and game settings.
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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
So there is no middle ground between the two? So should I wait till 7xx series or go crossfire?
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by xandervanhousen View Post

So there is no middle ground between the two? So should I wait till 7xx series or go crossfire?

i am going to get flamed here . . . i've seen a few threads stating that their i5 ivy bottlenecked their highend gpus even when oc'ed. it could be other issues but you might want to wait for more comments and be ready to filter them.
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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Understood, I'll let some more people weigh in but I'm not dead set on too many of the components in this rig. If someone can justify another part to me I'll take it into comsideration.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by xandervanhousen View Post

1. So Nvidia or AMD? I can afford two 7970's but not sure I want to jump straight into crossfire.

2. How much VRAM? I intend to modify the hell out of Skyrim so will AMD's 3GB be enough? Or can a 680 even use all 4GB if I choose to go that way?

3. Is game optimization for certain GPU manufacturers really that prevalent? I'd like to have enough power to make that moot.

This will be the first PC I've built in over 10 years so wish me luck! Also apologies to anyone who read this before I edited it, I accidently hit Ctrl+enter instead of shift. Thanks everyone.

1. amd vs nvidia is preference. i like nvidias software and features better. if you plan on getting a single 1080p monitor (which at that budget looks like it could be the case) then a single 7970 or 680 will do the job.

2. my skyrim uses 3gb vram (using a 4gb card) but i have mostly 8k textures and my rock textures are 16k (heheheh). for 1080p, 3gb is great, 2gb will manage. 4gb is just headroom. most games will be perfectly happy with 2gb though. some people say that nvidias 256-bit bus cards such as the 670 and 680 dont warrant having 4gb memory. don't listen to them, its bollocks.

3. AMD and Nvidia go back and forth in leadership between games, either is good in that regard.
    
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloJoe6669 View Post

1. amd vs nvidia is preference. i like nvidias software and features better. if you plan on getting a single 1080p monitor (which at that budget looks like it could be the case) then a single 7970 or 680 will do the job.

Yeah, single monitor @ 1080p is the goal.

So with AMD whats up with the locked voltages? Would it be wiser to just get a GHz edition and not even bother with overclocking?
post #8 of 17
The 670 or 680 will run out of GPU power at the point they actually fill up the 4GB memory buffer and wont be able to produce playable frame rates. So its better to invest in a card that has better cooling, unlocked voltage or higher factory clocks than to invest it on a 4GB 680/670. If you plan on going SLI, maybe that would warrant the need for 4GB cards because then they might be worth it.

As for AMD vs nVidia, both sides win some and lose some. I currently personally prefer nVidia. If you dont want to get into dual-GPU solutions right now and dont have the budget for a Titan, I recommend you get yourself an MSI GeForce GTX 680 Lightning. The cooler is really good and they overclock really well too.

Of course, there are similar cards for lower prices if you consider going AMD. A 7950 performs very close to 7970s at the same clocks and beats them after overclocking to certain speeds. The 7950s are also a lot cheaper than its similarly performing counterparts.

Hope this helps! thumb.gif
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post #9 of 17
you would be okay with an 7950 and save a little money.
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post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
The more information I get, the more indecisive I become. When I decided to do this I was dead set on a 670 2 GB but looking at all the benches I can't say for sure what I want.
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