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Future Proofing - 680 2GB, 680 4GB, or Other?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 26, 2013 10:16:08 AM

Hi All,

I'm spec'ing a build for this summer, and trying to decide on that most important of components: the Video Card.

Based on my research, and my philosophy for the system, I'm thinking my best bet would be a 680 with 4GB of memory.

My thought is that when the time comes that the 680 can't handle what i'm throwing at it by itself, and I add another 680, the 4GB will be more useful. From what I've been able to gather, when two gpu's are in SLI, each card's memory keeps a copy of the same information, so the 4GB will give the SLI set up more capability to reach its potential.

Current plans are either one 1920x1080, one monitor at 1440 vertical, or maybe 2 1080's, though I personally don't much like gaming on two monitors due to the discontinuity of the image, I also may consider an Occulus Rift at some point if that project reaches its potential at consumer launch.

The second part to the question is about the Mobo, SLI, and PCIe. If a board only supports 2 cards at 8x each, is that going to be a bottleneck? Should I spring for a board that supports 2 cards at 16x for future proofing?

Let me know what you guys think.

Other system specs are pretty standard:
3570k
8GB of DDR 1600 (2 x 4GB)
2x Samsung 840 Pro @ 128GB each.
Noctura NH-D14

Thinking the NXZT Phantom 410 for the case, and the ASRock Z77 Extreme6 for the Mobo, though those may change based on the answers to this thread.

Thank you all so much!
a b 4 Gaming
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 10:29:54 AM

4GB is a good investment if you will definitely SLI down the road - though a 670 is better bang for your buck. Shoot for the 2650x1440 monitor - you can pick a great one up for $400 at MicroCenter if there's one near you. And 8x 8x is good - you won't notice the performance difference.
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a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 10:34:26 AM

The 7xx series gpus are coming out soon so everything you are saying is not important and will not be important soon.
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a b 4 Gaming
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 10:35:21 AM

the 670 is a much better value, performing within less than 5 fps for 100 dollars less. and also note, the 4gb versions are useless. its been proven that extra vram made zero difference in gaming even at 5760x1080p resolution. in fact, the 4gb versions tend to perform worse
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 181 U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 10:41:24 AM

get gtx 670 2gb over gtx 680
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a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 10:49:43 AM

You all are giving him bad advice. By the time he buys this summer the 7xx series cards will be out.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 608 U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 10:51:00 AM

I've have actually been changing my perspective on the VRAM issue. I'm now starting to think that the 4GB is a good idea. Before, it was clear that 2GB would be enough in everything but heavily modded Skyrim. But now Crysis 3 is there, just about 2GB and above, and so it won't be long before you will want more, particularly with an eye to the future.

And, yeah, the GTX 780 is supposed to come out at the end of May with 5GB of VRAM, so it might be worth it to wait. On the other hand, the free Metro: Last Light offer may expire before then as well.
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a b 4 Gaming
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 12:31:17 PM

First of all, here's a blurb on Nividia's upcomming 700 series GPU's:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Nvidia-GeForce-GTX-700...

So you need to wait at least until next month to get a handle on what all exactly is released, their performance, and the new prices on everything, AMD included no doubt, as they will probably lower their prices making the decision more difficult.

As for the RAM, yet we are just beginning to see where 2GB isn't enough in rare cases, even at 1920X108 in Skyrim with an ungodly number of custom add-ons. But in 3X1920X1080 you can see much more often where the 2GB limit is reached. And believe me, when you run out of RAM, you are out of luck, the FPS drops like a rock over a cliff, totally unacceptable.

Per the Big Troll, it's not all that clear though. I read an exhaustive test where they purposely examined how real the 2GB issue was. It boils down to this:

A single or even dual SLI 670 simply doesn't have enough graphics horsepower to use more than 2GB of ram. As you approach 2GB, the FPS will be dropping and you don't want to be there gaming anyway, you will reduce the AA or whatever before you run out of ram and your game starts stuttering with second long pauses. They showed that you actually need a triple SLI 670 before you can have decent performance using more than 2GB ram.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 216 U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 4:44:07 PM

In all those charts, it took 8x MSAA and higher to get close or in one case, pass the 2GB threshold. I personally would never use 8x MSAA. I'd stop at 4x MSAA, as there is barely a difference.

However, what he is saying is that things are close to needing more than 2Gb, and before long, you may wish you had more.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 216 U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 5:58:13 PM

babernet_1 said:


If you were to read the conclusions of that second article, you would see that it mirrors what I wrote. Though I saw another review where they really did use 3 SLI 670's.


I read the same thing. Even when the extra VRAM helped, even 670 SLI didn't have enough power to take advantage of the settings needed to need the extra VRAM.
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a b 4 Gaming
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 6:03:53 PM

bystander said:
babernet_1 said:


If you were to read the conclusions of that second article, you would see that it mirrors what I wrote. Though I saw another review where they really did use 3 SLI 670's.


I read the same thing. Even when the extra VRAM helped, even 670 SLI didn't have enough power to take advantage of the settings needed to need the extra VRAM.


Right, you are really needing a super card like the Titan for stuff like this. And even that you need to SLI.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 216 U Graphics card
April 26, 2013 6:04:58 PM

That said, it is possible things may change with some games in the future. It is getting close now, but we just aren't quite there.
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