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Upgrading Radeon HD 6670 for high/ultra Skyrim. $250-300 budget

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 21, 2014 5:05:13 PM

When did buying a graphics card become so confusing? I've read tons of reviews and articles. I get the main stuff, but the details are making my head spin so I need some advice.

I'm looking for quality and value- this card has to last me a long time. Currently using 1024MB ATI AMD Radeon HD 6670 with graphics overdrive. It runs fine and handles two monitors easily. I'm getting this card to improve Skyrim which I'm currently running at low resolution and medium graphics settings with lots of mods. According to System Performance Monitor, it's maxing out my GPU and RAM so I need to upgrade my graphics card.

I'm looking for:
- steady 40fps+
- Price range: $250 +/- $50 (spending less money would be great!). I can get a bit more if I buy used, but I'm not sure how safe that is
- high or ultra graphics on Skyrim
- current resolution is 1152x648 since that's the only way I can get decent fps. I'd like to increase that.
- purchasing immediately

I have:
CPU- Intel Core i7 3770K @ 3.50GHz; Ivy Bridge 22nm Technology
RAM- 16.0GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 679MHz
Motherboard- ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. P8Z77-V PRO (LGA1155)
Power Supply 600 watt "Silent Power Supply"
Hard drive- Samsung SSD 840
Dell SP2309W monitor- native resolution 2048x1152
Win 8.1

Slots
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1
2 x PCI

Cards that looks good to me:
GIGABYTE GV-R928WF3OC-3GD Radeon R9 280 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDCP Ready Video Card ($280)- one of few R9 280s that runs on 600 watt
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE DUAL-X 14-202-099 Radeon R9 280 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 CrossFireX Support Video Card ($270)- one of the few R9 280s that can run on 500 watt
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA GeForce GTX760 2GB GDDR5 256bit, Dual-Link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI,DP, SLI Ready Graphics Card ($250 Amazon) Tom's recommendation
http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-SuperClocked-Dual-Link-Graph...

ASUS R9270-DC2OC-2GD5 Radeon R9 270 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card ($220 newegg) Tom's recommendation
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So which card should I be looking at? Is there anything I'm not taking into account when choosing a video card?

Thanks!
April 21, 2014 5:56:49 PM

Gigabyte R9 280 is good but I heard it sacrifices acoustics with a high factory clock (meaning its fast out of the box).
Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 has lower clock than Gigabyte but its quieter, so there's that.
EVGA 760 is overall good. Silent with a decent clock.
Asus R9 270 will not be able to smoothly run Skyrim at High/Ultra.

I would go with the EVGA 760.
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April 21, 2014 6:07:58 PM

Why not get the MSI Gaming r9 270 from Amazon(.com)? It is currently priced at $175 and should be able to run Skyrim no problem on ultra at 1080p with over 60 fps

EDIT: If you want the card to last a long time (as you said in your post), the 280 might be a better bet.
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April 21, 2014 6:11:06 PM

justcallmetom13 said:
Gigabyte R9 280 is good but I heard it sacrifices acoustics with a high factory clock (meaning its fast out of the box).
Sapphire Dual-X R9 280 has lower clock than Gigabyte but its quieter, so there's that.
EVGA 760 is overall good. Silent with a decent clock.
Asus R9 270 will not be able to smoothly run Skyrim at High/Ultra.

I would go with the EVGA 760.


The r9 270 will have no problem running Skyrim on ultra.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-280x-r9-2...

This benchmarks used the 270x, but performance won't be much different on the 270.
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Best solution

April 21, 2014 6:27:09 PM

as far as bang for your buck the evga 760 is going to be your best bet. as far as skyrim, if you have boat loads of texture and mesh mods and ini mods plus an enb, it can get quite demanding graphically. if your just running vanilla skyrim, any one of the cards you picked out will work perfect because stock skyrim is very cpu limited. you have a 3770k which will blow through skyrim with any modern video card... even a 750ti would give very playable gaming....
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2014/02/18/nv...

according to the above benchie even a r9-270 offers more than enough fps running maxed out settings. but you "should" leave a little bit of headroom anyways and since $250 +/- is your wiggle room, the 760 would be your best bet.

skyrim does react very well to boris's original enb which can be found over and enbdev.com. with that enb it will inject smaa which is much more performance friendly than using any form of msaa. by the way, 8xmsaa in the benchie above is overkill even for 1080p, most just run 4xmsaa, or force 4xmsaa in the amd catalyst/nvidia control panel which would likely give all the video cards an additional 5fps at least. not only does the enb inject smaa, it has its own AF settings at 16x which is better than the built in skyrim af setting, plus it injects ambient occlusion, and a few other dx10 type enhancements, and has a memory management function which drastically improves vram consumption.

my old amd 7950, which is roughly equal to a 760, ran skyrim pretty damn good at 1440p resolution running the full highest quality texture pack combiner(it combines about 60 extreme resolution texture/mesh mods all into one), quite a few skyrimperfs.ini/skyrim.ini mods to extend draw distances and other graphical things, and boris's enb, and i would only rarely dip into some choppy fps in certain areas of the game.... and remember this is at 2560x1440 resolution. 1080p is quite a bit less demanding graphically. granted my 2500k@4.5ghz didnt hurt, and now i have gtx780 so those little hiccups are gone.

this benchie shows the 2560x1600 benchmarks which consistantly show 20fps less than 1080p across all cards.
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2013/11/13/am...

if you dont plan on running extreme mods and messing with enb's and doing .ini mods, AND you want to save money, the r9-270 would be more than enough to enjoy the game at 1080p fully maxed out.
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April 22, 2014 12:08:30 PM

Thanks a lot, guys! I really appreciate your help. I am currently running Skyrim with an ENB and low-res graphics; I'll be moving up to the high-res asap! And good point about leaving some wiggle-room; I don't want something I'll have to replace in 6 months.

I'm off to buy the card right now!
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April 22, 2014 12:13:05 PM

Double post, sorry.
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