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Upgrading GPU, would like some thoughts.

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  • Graphics Cards
  • SLI
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 10:40:12 AM

So I currently have two EVGA GTX 570s running in SLI with watercooling. I game on a 120Hz 1080p monitor, and I'm not intending on moving up in terms of resolution for a long time. That said, my graphics cards, while nice, are starting to lag behind in modern games. I'm getting about 80 FPS in BF4 at medium graphics. So I'm hoping to get back up to Ultra at ~120 FPS. This doesn't have to be instantaneous, and the problem I'm having is deciding how I want to upgrade.

I'm looking at the range of the EVGA GTX 770 - GTX 780Ti in terms of cards, and I guess I'd like your commentary on what you think would be the best way to go.

So the options are as follows:

1. Buy two GTX 770s right now and SLI
2. Buy one GTX 780 now and another in a couple months.
3. Buy a GTX 780Ti now and another in more than a couple months.

Some points I'd like to hear your views on:

1. GTX 780 vs GTX 780Ti Price Vs. Performance Vs. "future proofing"
2. GTX 770 SLI longevity, i.e. if this will cost more now and not last as long as a 780/780Ti (eventual) SLI setup
3. Stock Clocks Vs. Overclocked Cards
4. Stock Coolers vs Aftermarket

What I'm not interested in hearing about:

1. Why I should buy AMD cards.
2. Why I should consider a different GPU manufacturer. I have never had a problem with EVGA, and don't expect I ever will.

Thank you in advance for any insights you provide.

More about : upgrading gpu thoughts

a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 10:57:37 AM

My two cents:

Get the highest performing SINGLE GPU that your budget reasonably affords and then go with the second one when performance drops and requires the SLI array.

The 780 has better price to performance than the 780ti. Usually the higher you go with pretty much any item ever made, not just computer parts, the 'bang for your buck' drops quickly. Graphics cards seem to fall off rapidly in price to performance around the $250-$300 mark.

I think it would be best bang for your buck to get the 780, some waterblocks for them since it sounds like you have your loop(s) in place, and OC the single card, add in second card when necessary. I've read the 780 has some headroom left in place for OC while the 780ti has a little less since it is already pushed up by the manufacturers.

Going with an SLI array right out of the gate is usually the worst for futureproofing, especially if your MB won't support a 3 or 4 way array which other than the top 25% of MB's don't.

But man, those AMD cards...haha. Cheers dude. All those choices will get you a killer rig, starting with the higher single cards will get you a bit longer lifespan. Kill some baddies.
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November 26, 2013 11:05:07 AM

All I have to say there is that dwatterworth is right here and if you never had any problem with EVGA I hope you will never, they are a good company.

And...Why so much AMD hate?

Good luck with your PC, hope your CPU is good enought to avoid bottleneck.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 11:06:22 AM

I should add in that I am not very interested in overclocking cards myself, and I'm not sure if I want to continue my water cooling setup, if I did, I would probably want to buy the Hydro series from EVGA, it's too much of a pain to put on a heatsink, I lose all the tiny screws needed for an RMA (should it ever come to that). My motherboard supports 2 way SLI at a max.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 11:15:47 AM

Definitely get the 780 or 780ti then if you can't go over 2 way SLI. Maybe get an OC version from the manufacturer. Definitely something with a good cooler, especially important on the cooler side of things if an SLI array creates the situation where the top/primary GPU fan(s) are blocked mostly by the 2nd GPU. I would also recommend waiting a bit for the 6gb versions of both cards to appear. 3GB of Vram is great for now but with the performance on tap from a 780 or 780ti, those should last quite a while, well into the range where you will need the extra Vram.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 11:22:42 AM

dwatterworth said:
Definitely get the 780 or 780ti then if you can't go over 2 way SLI. Maybe get an OC version from the manufacturer. Definitely something with a good cooler, especially important on the cooler side of things if an SLI array creates the situation where the top/primary GPU fan(s) are blocked mostly by the 2nd GPU. I would also recommend waiting a bit for the 6gb versions of both cards to appear. 3GB of Vram is great for now but with the performance on tap from a 780 or 780ti, those should last quite a while, well into the range where you will need the extra Vram.


Luckily, I have a space between my x16 slots (thank you designer) so there will be airflow, but I agree with the idea of more cooling when you can get it. As for the 6 GB of VRAM, I doubt I'll use that (again 1080p for the forseeable future) While I get near my max with my 570s, 2 and some change GB is what I use now, and moving to 3 (and then 6 in the future) should be more than enough for me, I think it's much more likely that by the time I need more than 6Gb of RAm, I will be in the upgrade phase again.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 11:29:01 AM

ben123a9 said:

And...Why so much AMD hate?


Long story short and oversimplified, I like nVidia because they practice efficiency and resource management while AMD (IMO) is more of the "brute force" mentality. If two cards have roughly the same performance, but one uses more power, has more of everything (stream processors, etc) then I can't justify buying it, even if the more efficient card costs more.

Take for instance the R9 290x, this is a card that performs on par with the Titan in some situations, but it runs incredibly hot, and is incredibly loud, and at release many of the retail cards downclock due to heat issues. On paper I was very interested to see if AMD had a diamond that was cheap, but I was (one again) disappointed by the offering.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 11:38:07 AM

I agree with your thoughts on AMD, but only in regards to the high end segment. I can't ever imagine shipping a product that has so many glaring faults. I wonder what those 290X cards can do under water though as far as performance. If they can get the aftermarket coolers right on the 3rd party cards, everyone will win since it will force Nvidia to drop pricing accordingly.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 12:16:43 PM

dwatterworth said:
I agree with your thoughts on AMD, but only in regards to the high end segment. I can't ever imagine shipping a product that has so many glaring faults. I wonder what those 290X cards can do under water though as far as performance. If they can get the aftermarket coolers right on the 3rd party cards, everyone will win since it will force Nvidia to drop pricing accordingly.


Yes, I bet it will. I expect to see a major drop about one week after I purchase my next card(s). I'm sure that the 290X would be beautiful under water, but I'm just too in love with the green team. It may be a bias fault, but I probably won't change unless AMD does something amazing.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 12:25:54 PM

They do create some awesome and reliable products for sure. Not a fan of either sides aesthetic lately but I'm right there with you at the efficiency. I recently took a stab at a bunch of ITX builds for various uses, so it's like an obsession now to get the watts and noise down.
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a c 273 U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 12:28:02 PM

Wait until Maxwell, it's not that far away.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 12:31:45 PM

Mousemonkey said:
Wait until Maxwell, it's not that far away.


Do you have any proof of that? From what I've read, my expectations are low that it will be out before Fall 2014.
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a c 273 U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 12:38:06 PM

I've seen rumours of Q1 2014.
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November 26, 2013 12:41:12 PM

I'm in the same boat, however I can only afford a Gigabyte Windforce 770 4GB. I am wondering about Maxwell as well...
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November 26, 2013 12:41:15 PM

Double post, sorry. On my phone.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 12:55:51 PM

Mousemonkey said:
I've seen rumours of Q1 2014.


Yeah those are the rumors I've heard too, but my belief is that if I keep waiting until the next generation, I'm just doing myself no good. I upgrade in cycles, so I'm now on my GPU/HDD/PSU/Peripherals cycle. I'm two generations behind right now, which is pretty far back in terms of graphics power.
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a c 273 U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 1:02:23 PM

P1nnacle said:
Mousemonkey said:
I've seen rumours of Q1 2014.


Yeah those are the rumors I've heard too, but my belief is that if I keep waiting until the next generation, I'm just doing myself no good. I upgrade in cycles, so I'm now on my GPU/HDD/PSU/Peripherals cycle. I'm two generations behind right now, which is pretty far back in terms of graphics power.


Your 570's are only one gen back.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 1:06:04 PM

Mousemonkey said:
P1nnacle said:
I'm two generations behind right now, which is pretty far back in terms of graphics power.


Your 570's are only one gen back.


I would be 1 gen behind if we were in the 6xx Series, we are in the 7xx series, thus two.
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November 26, 2013 1:10:10 PM

P1nnacle, what are your views on the 770 2GB and 4GB versions?
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 1:14:54 PM

I28 said:
P1nnacle, what are your views on the 770 2GB and 4GB versions?


I'd go with the 4GB version, it's available, and extra memory is always nice. Not actually owning one, I can't give you much in terms of anecdotal evidence, I defer to someone with more knowledge.

I can tell you that you'd be getting an excellent card at a good price though. A 770 @ $350 is definitely worth considering.
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a c 273 U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 1:20:06 PM

P1nnacle said:
Mousemonkey said:
P1nnacle said:
I'm two generations behind right now, which is pretty far back in terms of graphics power.


Your 570's are only one gen back.


I would be 1 gen behind if we were in the 6xx Series, we are in the 7xx series, thus two.

I disagree, the 7xx is a refresh of the 6xx series, I count generations by architecture so the 6 and 7 series are one and the same gen in my book.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 1:23:20 PM

Mousemonkey said:

I disagree, the 7xx is a refresh of the 6xx series, I count generations by architecture so the 6 and 7 series are one and the same gen in my book.


Roger, I got you. I go by numbers, less confusion when I'm talking to people who aren't as familiar with GPUs. One generation by architecture then. Does nVidia use a tick/tock cycle like Intel or do they have a different method?
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a c 273 U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 1:25:59 PM

P1nnacle said:
Mousemonkey said:

I disagree, the 7xx is a refresh of the 6xx series, I count generations by architecture so the 6 and 7 series are one and the same gen in my book.


Roger, I got you. I go by numbers, less confusion when I'm talking to people who aren't as familiar with GPUs. One generation by architecture then. Does nVidia use a tick/tock cycle like Intel or do they have a different method?


Both Fermi and Kepler have had a refresh so there is no reason at this point to think that the same thing won't happen with Maxwell.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 1:29:06 PM

Mousemonkey said:

Both Fermi and Kepler have had a refresh so there is no reason at this point to think that the same thing won't happen with Maxwell.

So that would make the 5xx series the "tock" cycle. To me, it makes more sense to stay on the same cycle, which would mean the 7xx series is where I should be looking for my next GPU, not the 8xx series.
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a c 273 U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 1:31:35 PM

P1nnacle said:
Mousemonkey said:

Both Fermi and Kepler have had a refresh so there is no reason at this point to think that the same thing won't happen with Maxwell.

So that would make the 5xx series the "tock" cycle. To me, it makes more sense to stay on the same cycle, which would mean the 7xx series is where I should be looking for my next GPU, not the 8xx series.


That's certainly one way of spacing things out I suppose.
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2013 1:45:57 PM

One has to have a strategy, especially when you don't have money to throw at every new card that comes out.
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