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Radeon HD7950 vs GeForce 760

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September 8, 2013 12:44:45 PM

As the title suggest I'm having trouble deciding between the two.

What I'm considering in my build is building for long term use with some upgradability, but nothing major. Hopefully the build can last me a good 4-6 years and can keep up with the times (albeit slower/lower settings for gaming/video editing/etc in the future).

I originally gravitated to the 7950 as my single GPU chip, but after checking around it seems like for "about" the same price, 760 is a good equivalent (or even better). Then I got into the whole CrossFire/SLI stuff. It seems SLI is better in general than CrossFire?

In short, I'm wondering what you guys would think about 7950 vs 760 in terms of long term use. Also, which of the two chips would be better supported for a SLI/CF dual GPU setup in the future in case I decide I want to run dual GPU for a boost in performance?

I guess the other question is would it be more cost efficient to SLI/CF in the future or just upgrade to a better GPU? How much performance boost would SLI/CF offer?
September 8, 2013 12:50:08 PM

Even though I have a radeon in my primary rig (it was free), I prefer nvidia. It's really a tossup with those cards - if you don't have the games that radeon offers, go for that option.

As far as SLI/Xfire goes, I would not do either. I don't want to play with drivcer issues or tune ups, etc. I buy the BEST single card solution I can afford.

Mark
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September 8, 2013 1:04:28 PM

The 760 is 8% faster than a 7950 and 7% slower than a 7970. For $250 it doesn't get much better! SLI is also better than Crossfire at the moment.

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September 8, 2013 1:53:30 PM

Hmm okay.

I think I'm decided on going single GPU and upgrading that when needed instead of CF/SLI.

On that note then, which of the two (7950 vs 760) would offer me a longer lifespan/gaming performance? Should I considering investing a little more for a 7970/770 for that extra mile in the future or will the 7950/760 hold up just fine in 4-6 years? (doesn't have to be ultra settings, but medium-high settings for future games)
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September 8, 2013 2:16:39 PM

I don't think there is a creditable answer to "will it hold up". If you mean will the technology still be usable in 4-6 years, then the answer is probably yes. There is really no way to predict where graphics and games will be in 4=6 years. GPU's from 4-6 years ago can play today's games, but at highly reduced settings/quality. I think you should expect the same 4-6 years in the future.

I have always purchased the BEST single card solution I could afford. When the performance no longer satisfies me, I replace it with the BEST single card solution I can afford at that time. I figure if I get 2-3 years of acceptable performance, I'm ahead of the game.

If you can afford a 770, go for it - if you can afford a 780, go for it. IMO, a single card is better than SLI/Xfire unless you are running 3 or 4 way, in which case money is most likely not an issue.

Mark
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September 8, 2013 3:16:33 PM

syrup said:
Hmm okay.

I think I'm decided on going single GPU and upgrading that when needed instead of CF/SLI.

On that note then, which of the two (7950 vs 760) would offer me a longer lifespan/gaming performance? Should I considering investing a little more for a 7970/770 for that extra mile in the future or will the 7950/760 hold up just fine in 4-6 years? (doesn't have to be ultra settings, but medium-high settings for future games)


Definitely go with the fastest card you can afford. One thing to consider, however, is that the 9000 series is just around the corner. The price/performance won't be too great at first because new cards always get premium pricing, but it might be worth considering.

As far as choosing between nVidia and AMD, as long as you buy a video card capable of achieving acceptable frame rates on your display of choice with reasonable settings, there are very few scenarios where you’ll truly regret your purchase. Regardless of the brand you choose, there will be someone to say, “You should’ve gone with [brand].”

But there are a couple more things to consider about the current state of video cards:

nVidia 700 series are newer – NVidia will be developing several iterations of drivers during the life of the 700 series. Video cards tend to get considerable performance boosts, as time goes on, through these driver updates. Radeon 7000 series, however, has been optimized extensively since its release, and is almost certainly at its peak performance now. So, while the cards are similar in performance and price now, nVidia has the potential to improve in performance over time. However, this is not guaranteed, and perhaps even less likely than usual because A) the 700 series uses the same architecture as its predecessors, which have also been around for quite some time, and B) Maxwell (800 series) will be here early next year.

VRAM is becoming a stronger point of consideration: I can’t argue with the fact that most of today’s games, even at 1440p, you don’t necessarily require more than 2GB of VRAM, but I do know that with next gen consoles around the corner, HD gaming becoming the norm, games are gearing up to be memory hogs by design. Remember, a LOT of popular PC titles are console ports, ports that were originally designed to use 512GB VRAM max. The next gen consoles are going to have access to several GB of memory for their GPUs (even after you factor in the memory for the console’s OS, networking, and the other background functions). Those PS4 and XBox One ports will be part of our list of things to play. But it's perhaps just as likely that it won't make a difference at all.

That may have over-complicated your decision process, but it's worth thinking about the coming months, next-gen console ports, and what your expectations are.

Also, on the topic of Crossfire/SLI. While I still agree you should start with the best single card you can afford, Crossfire is not the dirty, ghetto upgrade solution it once was. There have been some remarkable improvements in the latest AMD beta drivers.
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September 8, 2013 4:08:08 PM

StephenP85 said:


Definitely go with the fastest card you can afford. One thing to consider, however, is that the 9000 series is just around the corner. The price/performance won't be too great at first because new cards always get premium pricing, but it might be worth considering.

As far as choosing between nVidia and AMD, as long as you buy a video card capable of achieving acceptable frame rates on your display of choice with reasonable settings, there are very few scenarios where you’ll truly regret your purchase. Regardless of the brand you choose, there will be someone to say, “You should’ve gone with [brand].”

But there are a couple more things to consider about the current state of video cards:

nVidia 700 series are newer – NVidia will be developing several iterations of drivers during the life of the 700 series. Video cards tend to get considerable performance boosts, as time goes on, through these driver updates. Radeon 7000 series, however, has been optimized extensively since its release, and is almost certainly at its peak performance now. So, while the cards are similar in performance and price now, nVidia has the potential to improve in performance over time. However, this is not guaranteed, and perhaps even less likely than usual because A) the 700 series uses the same architecture as its predecessors, which have also been around for quite some time, and B) Maxwell (800 series) will be here early next year.

VRAM is becoming a stronger point of consideration: I can’t argue with the fact that most of today’s games, even at 1440p, you don’t necessarily require more than 2GB of VRAM, but I do know that with next gen consoles around the corner, HD gaming becoming the norm, games are gearing up to be memory hogs by design. Remember, a LOT of popular PC titles are console ports, ports that were originally designed to use 512GB VRAM max. The next gen consoles are going to have access to several GB of memory for their GPUs (even after you factor in the memory for the console’s OS, networking, and the other background functions). Those PS4 and XBox One ports will be part of our list of things to play. But it's perhaps just as likely that it won't make a difference at all.

That may have over-complicated your decision process, but it's worth thinking about the coming months, next-gen console ports, and what your expectations are.

Also, on the topic of Crossfire/SLI. While I still agree you should start with the best single card you can afford, Crossfire is not the dirty, ghetto upgrade solution it once was. There have been some remarkable improvements in the latest AMD beta drivers.


Thanks! This is actually really helpful because this is stuff I'm actually hoping to find out from you guys.

A few questions
1) Going off of your explanation on driver updates for the nvidia 700 series, there's a potential chance that performance will decrease over each update?
2) If I went the AMD 7950 route with updated drivers, will I experience a problem with the drivers/chips not keeping up with the newer games/programs, esp with the new series being released? ie, will support for the 7000 series drop as time goes by, hence running into potential problems?
3) I'm not looking to buy my computer just yet (hoping to wait for large sales like Black Friday) so probably be building around Christmas. By then, the mentioned 9000 series "should" be out. LIke with the nvidia 700 series, those new gpus can run into driver problems right?
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September 8, 2013 4:18:56 PM

Driver updates should help, not hurt. Typically the driver updates address specific games and improvements therein.

The AMD updates will be aimed at improving the 8000/9000 series - any help to the 7000 series will be coincidental.

Any new series of gpus will have teething pains - nvidia or amd.

Since you are not building now, I suggest re-visiting your questions in December or whenever you are ready to pull the trigger. It's almost impossible to guess what the state of gpus will be in 4 weeks, let alone 4 months.

Mark
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September 8, 2013 4:31:28 PM

syrup said:


Thanks! This is actually really helpful because this is stuff I'm actually hoping to find out from you guys.

A few questions
1) Going off of your explanation on driver updates for the nvidia 700 series, there's a potential chance that performance will decrease over each update?
2) If I went the AMD 7950 route with updated drivers, will I experience a problem with the drivers/chips not keeping up with the newer games/programs, esp with the new series being released? ie, will support for the 7000 series drop as time goes by, hence running into potential problems?
3) I'm not looking to buy my computer just yet (hoping to wait for large sales like Black Friday) so probably be building around Christmas. By then, the mentioned 9000 series "should" be out. LIke with the nvidia 700 series, those new gpus can run into driver problems right?


1) No, theoretically performance would increase with driver updates/improvements -- Sure, there have been drivers that just totally borked performance (not on purpose), but they're usually fixed quickly, or you simply roll back your driver. But overall, driver updates are meant to improve upon some aspect of a particular generation of graphics cards (almost always the latest generation will be the focus). I'm not saying the drivers will definitely improve them, but it's always something to consider in brand new releases that perform about equal with older releases. The older a card gets, the less likely any further significant improvements will be made.

2) Short answer, no. The only decrease in performance you'll experience will be the result of new games becoming more graphically demanding as the years go by. Sure, there will come a point years from now where a game's minimum requirements will be beyond the spec with any card you buy today, but that's unavoidable.

3) As I said in number 1, drivers are meant to improve performance and compatibility with games, not the reverse. I'm sure the 9000 series architecture will have its fair share of problems with various games (probably mostly crossfire issues, though). That's inherent in any new piece of hardware, but not an absolute. The biggest issue with the 9000 series will be the initial price (unless AMD aggressively prices them to shut out nVidia 700 series from the getgo). New cards always have premium prices. Remember, the 7970 was close to $600 at launch if I remember correctly. About a year later I bought one for just under $400. Today, you can get one for less than $300. I always wait until at least one big price reduction before I buy into a new GPU architecture, but others who have more money to spare (and perhaps don't have a wife, a toddler, and a baby on the way) will jump on the next greatest thing.
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September 8, 2013 4:47:03 PM

syrup, I know I told you I would not post on your new thread about your graphics choice so you could get some fresh input from other people here, but I have been following to see how you ended up, just curious I guess because of your depth of justification on such a wide scope concerning a video card. I hope you don't mind much and hope I can add a bit more to help you make a decision. One thing you never told me was you are not getting anything now, but waiting until December, that changes everything. Perhaps both of your threads here will be purely academic at that point in time. Yet this discussion has I hope helped you get a feel for things, find reviews on GPUs to get an idea where they line up in the food chain. And other considerations other than synthetic FPS graphs and such.

Some good advice given here by everyone. Let me put together a comment about what is expected to happen between now and Christmas then shortly after. That is why I said this talk about these specific cards may not be relevant in a few months. If nothing else it is food for thought, right.
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September 8, 2013 4:48:36 PM

Good info for all so I will just bring it here for everyone, guess we should start with AMD and then some info on Nvidia. It looks like AMD will strike first with the release next month of their new line up, the R-200 series (not the 9000 series everyone expected as the 8000 series was reserved for mobile). Then Nvidia will answer with releases of more 700 series to be followed in Feb-Mar of 2014 with the 800 series release.

The graphics power of today's cards is truly amazing compared to last year at this time, and in a few months both companies will bring things to a new level in performance. I think it is going to be a pretty exciting time in the graphics world and perhaps make high end cards affordable to most everyone. I am hoping mid-high class cards like the 7970, 760, 770 and 780 will drop in price/performance ratios to accommodate the new hardware being offered.

FROM VIDEOCARDZ: AMD

The AMD Radeon 9k series are just around the corner. Few weeks ago we told you that the new series will launch in October. Since then we did not have any proof. That’s until now. Most of you probably know that Hawaii GPU will be shown by AMD in late September. Of course this will only be the official announcement. The new retail models will hit the shelves in mid October according to our latest information.

Digitimes already confirmed that the mass shipment of the Hawaii-based graphics cards will commence in October.

As AMD is set to announce its next-generation high-end GPU codenamed Hawaii, graphics card players including Asustek Computer, Micro-Star International (MSI), Sapphire and PowerColor are expected to start mass shipping related products in October, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

My source is slightly different. The picture you are going to see is from the headquarters of one of the main AMD AIB partner. Of course I cannot tell you which one, because this could get them into trouble. The funny thing about this is that if they ask me to remove it, they would confirm it at the same time. The photograph is not very straightforward. In fact it’s quite fuzzy and unclear what is shows. I will give you my best bet, but of course you are welcome to add your thoughts right below this post.

So let’s summarize what it probably shows:

Two GPU variants XT and Pro (this could be either Hawaii or other GPU)
Three memory configurations: 8x DDR5, 4x DDR5 and 8x DDR3
Maximum memory capacity of 4GB
Mid-October launch confirmation
The 13xxxxxx labels could potentially mean internal PCB model markings
Some PCB models could use both XT and PRO GPUs
The XT/PRO+{number1}:{number2} label could mean the overclocking level of the memory and the GPU respectively
Apparently one model (probably not the only one) will have two fans, but they need to order them first

We have two important bits of information. Most of the cards will launch in mid October, this will include both DDR3 and DDR5 models. I find it hard to believe that Hawaii or any high-end card would use DDR3 memory, so apparently they would launch entry-level or mid-range segment along with Hawaii cards. The other interesting information is that the manufacturer is planning 4GB cards. At this point we don’t know if this number is referring to Hawaii or other GPU, that’s because we don’t see the whole board, thus we might be missing some information.

So far I have not seen anything that would confirm the new R9-Dxxx naming scheme. That said, I will will continue to use both names until we confirm it.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for new leaks.

NEW UPDATE:

We might have just learned the final name of the new Radeon Volcanic Islands series. With the data provided by our friends from techPowerUp, we can conclude a list of the upcoming Radeon graphics cards.

Although this information was already confirmed by three different sources I cannot guarantee that AMD will change their plans right before the launch, thus please take it with a grain of salt.
AMD Radeon R-200 Series

When I first wrote about the new Radeon naming I wasn’t really sure if that was true. All we had was an article from Semi Accurate and speculation. Today I can tell you more. Apparently AMD made a survey few months ago asking how to name their next cards. One of the possibilities was Radeon Rx 200. According to the latest information this is in fact the final naming of the new cards. The high-end models will probably end up with R9 prefix, other segments will be named under R8, R7, R6 and R5 labels respectively. The Rx symbol will then be followed by a model number. The next series will start from 200, then move to 300 and so on. So yes, it’s pretty much what we’ve expected, only without the Desktop part.

I will give you an example for Radeon HD 7990 successor, supposedly based on dual Hawaii GPU, also known as Tonga. The AMD Radeon R9 290, as it’s believed to be named, is plain and simple. Things get little confusing if we move to Radeon HD 7970 successor. At this time we don’t know if it’s going to be named R9 285 or 280. If we move down the list to HD 7870 successor we will end up with R8 275. Of course this is just the speculation, all we know for sure is that AMD itself suggested R9 290, so we treat it as a starting point.

With the new naming schema, AMD can position their products in more reasonable way, with a smooth transition from high-end to entry-level segments. That’s important since some leaks suggested few Hawaii variants. If that’s the case, then we shall expect cards named from R9-290 to 270 based on on the same processor, only with disabled units and less memory modules (this would also explain quite a few memory configurations in earlier leak).

Furthermore we should also mention that Radeon R-200 series will include many rebranded GPUs. Starting from Cape Verde and Pitcairn and Bonaire.
AMD Radeon R-M200 Series

AMD is also working on mobile graphics cards. It was earlier revealed by an entry in Catalyst files that mobile parts will receive the M prefix right in front of the model number. So far we know about Radeon R5 M200, most likely based on Sun GPU.

Of course that’s not the end of R-200 series. The new naming will most likely be adopted for integrated graphics, expect R-D200 or R-I200 as well.

I will keep digging into this story, if something new pops up I will update this post or make a new entry.

Source: techPowerUP

NOW ABOUT NVIDIA:

New graphics cards this year

New models would probably include more GK104/106 rebrands. NVIDIA could launch more GK208 entry-level models as well. We are probably expecting more Titanium cards with boost mode enabled. With GeForce 600 series NVIDIA launched three x50 cards, I expect 700 series to be no different.
GeForce GTX 790 in few months?

However this is not all. NVIDIA is also working on a new high-end model. At this point I don’t know if this is the so-called TITAN ULTRA with fully enabled GK110 GPU or, more likely, GeForce GTX 790 with two GK110s. Assuming that the full GK110 processor is somewhat dedicated to the professional segment, and NVIDIA made dual-gpu cards a standard, my bet is on GTX 790. You are probably wondering how much would it cost. I’m more than sure that $1000 range won’t be exceeded. This card is made as a response to AMD Hawaii cards which will arrive in two months. Then NVIDIA will most likely (slightly) lower their prices on GK110 graphics cards.

In the end, Santa will have a lot of work this Christmas.
GeForce 800 series “Maxwell” in Q1 2014

Just as I told you in my previous posts, NVIDIA will launch next series sooner than expected. I was told by one of the manufacturers that NVIDIA will release Maxwell series in early 2014. It is expected that GeForce 800 series will arrive in the first quarter of 2014, somewhere between February and March. What it basically means is that the chances for 20nm process are low. Of course NVIDIA could already have first 20nm samples sooner than that, but TSMC will not be ready for mass production till June 2014. Thus, unless my source is wrong the first Maxwell GPUs will not be made in 20nm fabrication process, but if they are expect huge graphics cards shortage and more paper-launches.

A LITTLE INSIGHT:

Quinn asked me if I could post his thoughts about Maxwell architecture being released in the first quarter of 2014, most likely on 28nm process. I encourage you to discuss this topic further in the comments – WhyCry.

If Maxwell is to be hard-launched before 2H2014 it will have to be on 28nm. Nvidia is likely to launch at least a few Maxwell chips before this to compete against new GCN 2.0 chips, coming in October. The reasons why this is happening are diverse. They have to do with the history of GPU and production processes troubles that are making new process nodes worth less and less, a new competitor for TSMC’s cutting edge process, and Nvidia not having a Kepler refresh. Oh, and AMD’s release schedule.

Nvidia and ATI (now AMD) have had a “pattern” when it comes to moving to smaller processes that has continued to the writing of this article to my knowledge. ATI would be the first one onto a node, and would benefit from being able to make smaller GPUs that were as strong as Nvidia’s larger ones. This also meant they dealt with many of the risks and problems that arose in that node, and Nvidia could move onto it once it was safer. Now, to my knowledge, this held true as being what more-or-less happened until the jump to 40nm came.

ATI still leapt ahead of Nvidia, but Nvidia was unable to make a chip that matched ATI’s yields, and the chips were barely faster. That node is when Nvidia had miniscule early yields on its highest end part (about 2%) the GF100, it should also be noted that AMD had yields on its highest parts that were 200-300% over the GF100: about a 5% yield. The node was horrible for yields, AMD fixed its problems quickly, due to having more experience with troublesome nodes. This was the start of the node issues for Nvidia and AMD.

Fast forward a little, TSMC’s 32nm process was canceled due to technologies TSMC was trying for the first time not working, in addition to being power hungry and being scheduled to arrive only shortly before 28nm would. It was delayed multiple times, and eventually canceled it. This caused ATI to have to remake its 6000 series on 40nm, instead of 32nm. A foundry which had the best technology next to Intel (who has the best (large scale) fabrication technology in the world) was failing to make a working node. This is the first time that TSMC had ever done this to my knowledge.

TSMC’s 28nm process was much better than its 40nm was, or its 32nm process would have ended up being. Here is where Nvidia brought up something that is extremely important to why Maxwell is on 28nm to start. In the past, jumping to a new node meant that the cost per transistor would get lower once it was mature, on 20nm, Nvidia does not predict that. Meanwhile, the cost of wafers would start to rise drastically at 20nm. Meaning cost savings gained from smaller chips are lessened. Separately, typically smaller nodes mean it costs more to design chips on those nodes. Starting with 40 to 28nm (I believe) the cost began to rise drastically. To make this worse, foundries like TSMC generally require their partners (AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm) help them support the cost of getting the new node working. The price of that has gone through the roof, and is continuing to rise.

The reason that probably contributed most to Nvidia deciding to initially make Maxwell on 28nm was due to Apple becoming a fourth player who wanted TSMC’s cutting edge process nodes — Apple — the company that knows what it wants, demands it, and has the money to ensure it gets it

Normally, Nvidia has a refresh, Fermi version one was GF100-GF109. Fermi version two, faster, lower power, and better yielding, was under the badge of GF110-119. Nvidia either did not plan to refresh Kepler, canceled the refresh because it was not a large improvement over Kepler version one. This leads to a major problem, AMD’s GCN2.0, coming out in October-ish, over half a year before 20nm could even launch.

Nvidia needs to remain competitive with AMD, and well GK110 might do well in the high end, the lower end is more valuable. Nvidia could either give up the lower-end by keeping Kepler, lower its margins by selling larger Kepler chips against smaller GCN2.0 chips, or release Maxwell on 28nm.

If Nvidia had not made Maxwell for 20nm, there is a large chance that AMD not only would have had the 28nm GCN 2.0 chips have no real competition, but also, based on history, would launch a 20nm GCN2.0 part before Nvidia had even revealed Maxwell.

According to VC sources, Maxwell will not be as drastic a jump as Tesla to Fermi was, or as Fermi to Kepler was. Mostly it would be updating technology and adding new ways for data to be managed, such as hUMA. Nvidia almost may just improve the CUDA cores in the SMXs, or add more too each SMX. There will be no chip like the GK110 coming on the 28nm node, the Maxwell Refresh onto 20nm will bring the monster chip people are waiting for.

To summarize, Nvidia is probably going to make at least some 28nm Maxwell chips because they don’t know when they could launch 20nm Maxwell in large numbers, they don’t want to launch their new architecture over half a year after AMD launched theirs, and they would be caught in a position of having no speed bump against a massive 20%+ speed bump. Maxwell also ensures that Nvidia won’t fall behind in data management, which is a large part of GCN 2.0. Nvidia is launching 28nm to remain competitive both in power, and in ways to manage memory.

Source: SemiAccurate, CDRinfo, Bit-tech
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September 8, 2013 5:17:58 PM

endeavour37a said:
syrup, I know I told you I would not post on your new thread about your graphics choice so you could get some fresh input from other people here, but I have been following to see how you ended up, just curious I guess because of your depth of justification on such a wide scope concerning a video card. I hope you don't mind much and hope I can add a bit more to help you make a decision. One thing you never told me was you are not getting anything now, but waiting until December, that changes everything. Perhaps both of your threads here will be purely academic at that point in time. Yet this discussion has I hope helped you get a feel for things, find reviews on GPUs to get an idea where they line up in the food chain. And other considerations other than synthetic FPS graphs and such.

Some good advice given here by everyone. Let me put together a comment about what is expected to happen between now and Christmas then shortly after. That is why I said this talk about these specific cards may not be relevant in a few months. If nothing else it is food for thought, right.


Yeah thanks to everyone on the advice. For the most part it's academic for sure, because I'd like to know what I'm putting into my build rather than just going with the "suggested build." To be a little clear, I'm looking now because I'll be likely shopping ASAP, but waiting to collect all the parts from time to time when things go on sale. I just mentioned December because I'll be likely getting a chunk of my stuff from Black Friday (hopefully). Stuff like the video card, I enticed to pick out the AMD 7950 now because of the 3 free games deal. It's kind of collecting things over time.

Thank you very much though endaevour
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September 9, 2013 7:14:05 AM

Your welcome, now you know a bit about what is coming down the line and what to look for, as things develop you can adjust your choice accordingly, in Dec the good people here may not be searing you to a GTX-760 at all :) 
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