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3gb vs 4gb of VRAM, The GTX 770, 280x, and the 290

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November 12, 2013 3:43:33 PM

I have a few quick questions. Essentially, over the past few weeks as various price cuts and developments in the GPU market have occurred, I've narrowed down my search for a new GPU to a few different choices.

On a 1080p monitor, is there a significant benefit to getting a card with 4gb of VRAM over 3gb? I'm wondering if there's any future proofing benefit to going for the extra gb of VRAM if I plan to just do a single 1080p monitor (I have two monitors, but don't plan on getting a third so I don't think it'd make sense to play most games on just two monitors)

My next question relates to the 290. At a $400 price point, it's not very far from the 770s and 280x models I'm also considering. Is it worth waiting until December for the 3rd party versions of the 290 that are supposed to fix the card's noise issues and inconsistencies? From the benchmarks I've seen on this site's review of the card, the 290 gives anywhere from 8-20 more FPS than the 280x and 770. I'm just unsure if the difference is worth the wait/extra money compared to the other cards so if anyone has opinions I'd appreciate it.

Last question operates on the condition that I wouldn't get a 290; at that point I'd decide between a 4gb 770 and a 280x. For the 770, I'm finding two different versions of the EVGA 770, "superclocked" and "classified", along with a cheaper Gigabyte Windforce version. If I were to get a 280x, I was thinking I'd go with one of the cheaper Asus models (the Matrix seems unstable and is out of stock everywhere) or the Sapphire Vapor-X model (Toxic is out of stock everywhere)
Anyone have opinion on choosing between these cards/suggestions?
November 12, 2013 3:52:45 PM

If you're using but a single monitor, there really won't be much difference between 3 gigs and 4 gigs of VRAM. Even the most modern games rarely use more than 2 gigs (Battlefield 4 recommends 2). Plus, VRAM isn't all that important anyway. However, in terms of cards, the 280X is a great card for the money, but if you want to wait, the 290 will deliver a bit more performance. They both outclass the GTX 770, though.
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November 12, 2013 3:56:07 PM

If you plan on getting a 290, wait for the third party versions. The sound profile is just not acceptable at the moment.

Asus R9 280X DCII is a great card, the cooler is fantastic effective and quiet.
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November 12, 2013 4:10:10 PM

VRAM amount:
2GB is currently all you need up to the level of the GTX770 at 1920x1080 or 2560x1440.

Future proofing?
It's very difficult to say at what point you'll need more than 2GB. BF4 can use more than 2GB but you'd need a more powerful GPU to process that level which is why a GTX780 has 3GB.

3GB vs 4GB:
Since we're barely maxing 2GB, going beyond 3GB is going to take a while.

R9-290:
I can't comment really until new cards are released such as an Asus DC2U cooler.

GTX770 2GB:
The Asus DC2U, or MSI TF cards are really great for about $330.

Games:
770/780 cards come with three great games: Batman Arkham Origins, SC Blacklist, AC4

NVidia featurs:
- Shadowplay (stream/save up to 1080p @60Hz. works great and little/no frame rate drop)
- PhysX
- G-Sync (newer monitors in 2014. amazing tech to reduce lag/tearing/stutter)

4GB 770?
Almost the cost of the 290 so hard to recommend.

R9 290?
Very interesting card, again need future reviews.

Summary:
My advice really boils down to THREE different price points, which depends on the upcoming cards. You will also want to look at the NVIDIA GAME DEAL and see how long that lasts. $150 for three games on a $330 770 is amazing.

I love the Asus or MSI 770 2GB cards. Plays over 90% of the games at full quality 60FPS. The 4GB versions won't benefit for quite a while so at almost $400 I'd wait and see how the 290 does. It has 3GB of VRAM which is more than adequate. As said, even more than 2GB might not be used for a while at 770 level so 3GB is plenty.

At $500, the EVGA 780 3GB 967MHz base is a really great card.

You really need to think about some of the NVidia features, especially G-Sync which is coming to future monitors and is the ONLY WAY to fix lag/tearing/stutter at the same time.

I'd still recommend WAITING if the R9 290 is on your list, but again note the NVidia game expiration dates for redeeming.
November 13, 2013 10:17:23 AM

photonboy said:
VRAM amount:
2GB is currently all you need up to the level of the GTX770 at 1920x1080 or 2560x1440.

Future proofing?
It's very difficult to say at what point you'll need more than 2GB. BF4 can use more than 2GB but you'd need a more powerful GPU to process that level which is why a GTX780 has 3GB.

3GB vs 4GB:
Since we're barely maxing 2GB, going beyond 3GB is going to take a while.

R9-290:
I can't comment really until new cards are released such as an Asus DC2U cooler.

GTX770 2GB:
The Asus DC2U, or MSI TF cards are really great for about $330.

Games:
770/780 cards come with three great games: Batman Arkham Origins, SC Blacklist, AC4

NVidia featurs:
- Shadowplay (stream/save up to 1080p @60Hz. works great and little/no frame rate drop)
- PhysX
- G-Sync (newer monitors in 2014. amazing tech to reduce lag/tearing/stutter)

4GB 770?
Almost the cost of the 290 so hard to recommend.

R9 290?
Very interesting card, again need future reviews.

Summary:
My advice really boils down to THREE different price points, which depends on the upcoming cards. You will also want to look at the NVIDIA GAME DEAL and see how long that lasts. $150 for three games on a $330 770 is amazing.

I love the Asus or MSI 770 2GB cards. Plays over 90% of the games at full quality 60FPS. The 4GB versions won't benefit for quite a while so at almost $400 I'd wait and see how the 290 does. It has 3GB of VRAM which is more than adequate. As said, even more than 2GB might not be used for a while at 770 level so 3GB is plenty.

At $500, the EVGA 780 3GB 967MHz base is a really great card.

You really need to think about some of the NVidia features, especially G-Sync which is coming to future monitors and is the ONLY WAY to fix lag/tearing/stutter at the same time.

I'd still recommend WAITING if the R9 290 is on your list, but again note the NVidia game expiration dates for redeeming.


From the opinions I've gotten in the past, it seems like banking on a 2GB card wouldn't be a wise idea if I wanted to use my card for like the next 3 years. At the same time, when you say that pushing over 3gb is going to take a while, how long is a while? Like over 3 years? In that case it'd obviously be logical to just get a new GPU 3 years from now and go for a 3gb card now.

And my main hesitation with the 290 is just whether or not the difference between it and the 770/280x is worth it. As you said, the 4gb 770 would be the same price as a 290 (which is also 4gb), so going with that a 4gb 770 probably wouldn't make sense.

As far as the Nvidia features go; I can't really see myself recording much, I haven't encountered a large number of games using Physx, and I'd have to get new monitors for the G-sync thing.

I figure that it also might be wise to wait for a bit to see if AMD extends the Never Settle deal to the R9 series. I can't seem to find any date that the Nvidia game deal is set to end by, their site just says they can cancel it at any time. So I don't know if you have an opinion on that.

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November 15, 2013 6:19:56 AM
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When is 2GB of VRAM not enough?
Nobody has an answer on that yet.

While I absolutely do agree more than 2GB will be needed, it's just a matter of WHEN and how much extra you wish to pay for that.

So I think you should:
a) wait for the 290's with custom coolers
b) get at least 3GB of VRAM
c) weight all the pros and cons once the cards are out and get the best approx. $400 you can.

NVIDIA DEALS:
End date is Nov 26th 2013.
http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/announcing-th...
November 16, 2013 10:23:21 AM

photonboy said:
When is 2GB of VRAM not enough?
Nobody has an answer on that yet.

While I absolutely do agree more than 2GB will be needed, it's just a matter of WHEN and how much extra you wish to pay for that.

So I think you should:
a) wait for the 290's with custom coolers
b) get at least 3GB of VRAM
c) weight all the pros and cons once the cards are out and get the best approx. $400 you can.

NVIDIA DEALS:
End date is Nov 26th 2013.
http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/announcing-th...


Yeah that's what I figure is the best choice; given that the 290 seem like a really great deal but needs those third party cooling solutions. And yeah I think I'd want to avoid only 2gb (given that the 290 has 4, I'd just go with that).

Thanks a lot for your help.
!