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Debating video card upgrade, Opinions please.

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April 19, 2014 3:13:48 PM

Currently running a HD 6950 Crossfire set up. Looking into a solid upgrade that will be futureproof. Was looking into a GTX 770 or 280x. I know the 770 slightly outperforms the 280x on benchmarks but memory size seems to be a deciding factor. If upgrading to a 770, It seems like 4GB model would be better since some games are starting to push past the 2GB mark. Plus the price of a 770 4GB model is hitting $400 mark. I am currently seeing a MSI 290 on amazon for $439 brand new. Prices for a gtx 780 average at $500 brand new. Looking at benchmarks it looks like the 290 and 780 are about on par with each other.

I'd rather keep to a budget but also want to get a futureproof product that will last for a few years.

Thanks for the help everyone.

a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2014 3:15:46 PM

770 is one good card . but if your are not playing on 4k or multi monitorsetup . so 2 gb is perfectly fine. .why 4gb then
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a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2014 3:21:44 PM

A non-overclocked GTX 780 is slower than a non-overclocked R9 290 with a decent (non-reference) cooler. Not MUCH slower, but still.

And bear in mind the GTX 780 has 3GB VRAM while the R9 290 has 4GB. That may make a difference later on (right now either is kinda overkill for 1080p)
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April 19, 2014 9:42:38 PM

STACKS ON DECK said:
770 is one good card . but if your are not playing on 4k or multi monitorsetup . so 2 gb is perfectly fine. .why 4gb then


I definitely know the 770 is a great card. I'm considering something with higher than 2GB memory because of the newer gen of games that are now starting to consume and recommend 3GB now. I had read that Battlefield 4 can actually consume a little extra than 2GB and even their official system requirements recommend 3GB. I also read that Watch Dogs will be pushing more requirements as well. I'd definitely consider the 770 4GB model, but for the price of almost $400...just seems too much for what it is. At that point it seems might as well shoot for a 290 since a MSI 290 goes for $440.
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April 19, 2014 9:46:31 PM

ezskills said:
A non-overclocked GTX 780 is slower than a non-overclocked R9 290 with a decent (non-reference) cooler. Not MUCH slower, but still.

And bear in mind the GTX 780 has 3GB VRAM while the R9 290 has 4GB. That may make a difference later on (right now either is kinda overkill for 1080p)


Yeah I hear you on the memory part. I know games will be balancing under the 3GB memory spot for awhile. The new gen games are starting to utilize just over 2GB now. I could deal with a 3GB card for the moment as long as it would last, then again never know.
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April 19, 2014 9:48:03 PM

Do you guys think its worth even bothering with a 280x or 770 coming from a 6950 2GB crossfire set up?
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a b U Graphics card
April 20, 2014 1:04:32 AM

6950 in crossfire is close to 280 . so if you can go for crossfire for that so it's ok
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a c 197 U Graphics card
April 20, 2014 2:33:40 AM

Run benchmarks on your system and compare with those found on tech sites, (use their settings), all the CF tests and reviews out there will use older games in their testing suites: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/Radeon_HD_6950_...
And also here: http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/radeon_hd_6950_cro...
If those are 2Gb cards you'll really need to go GTX780/R9 290 to get roughly equal performance, a single GTX770 or R9 280X is going to be a definite downgrade.
The GTX780 has a big advantage over the R9 290: It's lower heat output, which translates into a quieter card.
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April 20, 2014 12:37:06 PM

coozie7 said:
Run benchmarks on your system and compare with those found on tech sites, (use their settings), all the CF tests and reviews out there will use older games in their testing suites: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/Radeon_HD_6950_...
And also here: http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/radeon_hd_6950_cro...
If those are 2Gb cards you'll really need to go GTX780/R9 290 to get roughly equal performance, a single GTX770 or R9 280X is going to be a definite downgrade.
The GTX780 has a big advantage over the R9 290: It's lower heat output, which translates into a quieter card.


Thanks for the information. It's pretty much what I was thinking of taking the leap and upgrading into the 290/780 area. I'm currently seeing the prices for the 290 slightly cheaper than a 780. Looking at benchmarks also, they are pretty much neck to neck. Getting one of these would also futureproof me for quite i awhile I believe.
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a b U Graphics card
April 20, 2014 1:03:25 PM

Okay so I play bf4 on ultra with a 780 yes mine has 3 GB but I've never seen more than 1700mb used no game will hit the vram wall of a 2 GB unless your play at high resolutions. Of course a non reference 290 will beat a reference 780 but a non reference vs a non reference the 780s win its most benchmarks even amd optimized games. You don't need 4 gbs really but if it makes you feel safer go for it. This forum is about opinions and information its not going to change your mind because definitively no one can tell you a 2gb is better than 4gb or vice versa pick a card and what memory you feel safe using. I'm just saying at 1080p you won't use more than 2gbs or even touch that so your spending more for unused memory.
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April 20, 2014 1:41:26 PM

Avocade said:
Okay so I play bf4 on ultra with a 780 yes mine has 3 GB but I've never seen more than 1700mb used no game will hit the vram wall of a 2 GB unless your play at high resolutions. Of course a non reference 290 will beat a reference 780 but a non reference vs a non reference the 780s win its most benchmarks even amd optimized games. You don't need 4 gbs really but if it makes you feel safer go for it. This forum is about opinions and information its not going to change your mind because definitively no one can tell you a 2gb is better than 4gb or vice versa pick a card and what memory you feel safe using. I'm just saying at 1080p you won't use more than 2gbs or even touch that so your spending more for unused memory.


Hi Avocade, Thanks for the input on this. I am really considering going for a 770 2GB as right now i am seeing the MSI and ASUS go for $319 brand new on Amazon. Could even go little cheaper and get used from Amazon Warehouse deals. Thinking brand new would be better for the warranty. Been reading on how the 770 performs slightly better than the 280x and for the price being the same, I'd say its a no brainer on this one.

Only reason I was worried about the amount of vram was because of some articles and post I had read around regarding games like BF4 actually dipping into the 2.2GB of memory and even skyrim with mods pushing into that amount as well.

I just looked into the officially announced Recommended specs for Watch Dogs (Which I will be purchasing) and they recommend a video card with at least 2GB which makes me feel more at ease, since this game is definitely a system pusher, it looks like its going to be a more CPU intensive game in the requirements.

Thanks for the information on this.
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a b U Graphics card
April 20, 2014 1:47:28 PM

Of course skyrim uses more vram due to thevmods opening up more of the world. And higher resolutions.
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April 20, 2014 1:50:04 PM

Anyone have a recommendation as for a 770 ASUS or MSI?
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a c 197 U Graphics card
April 20, 2014 1:59:28 PM

It's a potent rig you have there, especially if those are 2Gb cards.
Realistically, unless you're gaming on, or intend to use at least dual 1080 monitors either the GTX780 or R9 290X is going to be wasted money, if my guess is right and you're on a single 1080 display the current cards will easily handle anything you can throw at them, they'll probably even handle a single 1440 display well, so for now I'll say: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." There will ALWAYS be something better/faster/cheaper in a few days/weeks/months and, frankly I see no need for you to rush.
Besides, the new GTX800 cards are coming... fairly soon ;) 
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a c 197 U Graphics card
April 20, 2014 2:02:05 PM

A single GTX770 will be a downgrade as far as I can see.
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April 20, 2014 2:33:24 PM

coozie7 said:
It's a potent rig you have there, especially if those are 2Gb cards.
Realistically, unless you're gaming on, or intend to use at least dual 1080 monitors either the GTX780 or R9 290X is going to be wasted money, if my guess is right and you're on a single 1080 display the current cards will easily handle anything you can throw at them, they'll probably even handle a single 1440 display well, so for now I'll say: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." There will ALWAYS be something better/faster/cheaper in a few days/weeks/months and, frankly I see no need for you to rush.
Besides, the new GTX800 cards are coming... fairly soon ;) 


You are probably right. I can try to wait it out longer if possible. I just know that there is issues with Crossfire here and there, mainly when new games are released until they update for better support. I just updated my signature, but you are right that my 6950 cards are 2GB, otherwise I would've really upgraded a long time ago if they were 1GB haha.

One other upgrade I'm thinking of doing at the moment is stepping up to a SSD. You happen to think its a great upgrade from a Western Digital Black hdd?

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a c 197 U Graphics card
April 21, 2014 1:55:19 AM

It wasn't really a hard guess. ;) 
Keep an eye out for the new GTX8xx cards from Nvidia, they're still some months away but if they perform as well as the Maxwell cored GTX750 it'll be worth the wait.
Currently I don't have an SSD, so cannot comment but the general consensus seems to be it's a useful upgrade and makes the system more responsive.
Usually, they'll install Windows plus their most commonly used software to the SSD for speed leaving a HDD for less commonly used software and bulk storage.
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April 21, 2014 8:08:24 AM

coozie7 said:
It wasn't really a hard guess. ;) 
Keep an eye out for the new GTX8xx cards from Nvidia, they're still some months away but if they perform as well as the Maxwell cored GTX750 it'll be worth the wait.
Currently I don't have an SSD, so cannot comment but the general consensus seems to be it's a useful upgrade and makes the system more responsive.
Usually, they'll install Windows plus their most commonly used software to the SSD for speed leaving a HDD for less commonly used software and bulk storage.


I had read that the GTX 800 series may be delayed until 2015. Guess we'll have to wait and find out.
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