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Build complete - but with 460 or 470? Seeking input plz

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September 15, 2010 1:59:30 AM

After much deliberation I've settled on this build for my $1000 gaming PC. I'll list it as it stands, with a 460 (I intended to add another later for SLI).

Problem is I have like another week or two before ordering, so I'm driving myself nuts with options. Now I'm thinking about starting with a 470 instead. Then adding another one of THOSE later. Wondering if it's worth it. Here's the current setup:

i5 760 and ASUS P7P55D-E PRO mobo combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

MSI cyclone 1gb gtx 460
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Antec 300 illusion case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX black edition 750W PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

*would this PSU be able to handle SLI 470s???*

G.skill 4gb ram
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hyper 212 heatsink/fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Spinpoint F3 HD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS DVd burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

All of the above comes out to right at 1000, which is what I was shooting for. Question is, is it worth spending the extra ... what, $100 bucks on a 470 instead??? I mean maybe the 460 is close enough and good enough in SLI and sufficiently cheaper to make it the wiser choice.

Seeking thoughts and suggestions.
September 15, 2010 2:17:47 AM

The GTX 460 is the best card FOR THE PRICE, but the GTX 470 is a better card OVERALL. In addition, the 460 is only 2-way SLI compatible, but the 470 can do 3-way SLI, which could be a huge advantage for you depending on your needs in the future.
September 15, 2010 2:40:26 AM

Hmm making this build 3-way SLI compat would raise the cost significantly i think, with a good mobo. By the time I would have gotten a third 470, I'm thinking it might be time for a newer model anyway...
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September 15, 2010 3:17:13 AM

muckle said:
By the time I would have gotten a third 470, I'm thinking it might be time for a newer model anyway...


That is a true statement. Pretty much the only people who need 3 or 4-way SLI/CF are building it that way from the start.

Check out SLI Zone for 470 SLI-approved PSUs. Not to say that others won't work, but unlike RAM, where you can usually make it work, not enough power isn't the same. The XFX 750W PSU is on the Dual 470 SLI list if you don't feel like checking the link. :) 

What resolution are you gaming at? I'd expect a 460 to be a little weak at 1920x1080, but a 470 will handle it fine. At 1680x1050 with no plans to upgrade in the near future, I'd stick with a 460.

EDIT: For 3x 470s (probably not worth it anyway), I'd want closer to 1000W. There's at least one 850W unit on the list, but I'd be concerned about going that low.
September 15, 2010 3:17:22 AM

boiler1990 said:
... but the 470 can do 3-way SLI, which could be a huge advantage for you depending on your needs in the future.


And regards to the PSU? Could that xfx 750 handle dual 470s? If they're worth it which is still in the air to me
September 15, 2010 6:03:17 PM

coldsleep said:

What resolution are you gaming at? I'd expect a 460 to be a little weak at 1920x1080, but a 470 will handle it fine. At 1680x1050 with no plans to upgrade in the near future, I'd stick with a 460.


I have a single GTX 460 that runs Just Cause 2 at moderate-high settings at 1920x1080, and it does pretty well doing 3D too (which basically swallows up my GPU haha). I use MSI Afterburner to overclock the core to 825 MHz and the Shader Clock to 1600 MHz or something like that. I'm going to get a second 460 and SLI them to boost my 3D performance, but it's great already for regular gaming.
September 15, 2010 6:15:22 PM

I suspect it largely depends on the game. Well, and settings, of course. I should have specificed "at high/ultra" in my previous post.

Looking at modern (DX11) games, a single 460 seems to be adequate for most games, but not amazing at 1920x1080.

Anandtech benchmarks
BattleForge
BF:BC2
STALKER:CoP - verging on difficult to play at below 30 fps
Dirt 2 - the only DX11 benchmark above 50 fps for a GTX 460 1 GB.
September 15, 2010 6:19:21 PM

I think you should go with a gtx 470. Two of those in the future will be much better than two 460s. It's worth it. ALSO, check out this case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's a bit more spacious and has room for more fans and larger fans. Might be a worthwhile consideration. It's also cheaper.

EDIT: same price after shipping, since antec case's shipping is free.
September 15, 2010 6:34:50 PM

I like your build.

How well do you think a single GTX460 will serve your needs today?

If you will be happy with it, then by all means get a GTX460. They scale very well in sli, and adding a second one later will give you GTX480 speeds.

I would suggest a card with a direct exhaust cooler. The MSI cooler will do a good job of getting heat off of the gpu die, but it will just dump that heat back into the case where case cooling will have to deal with it. That heats up the air that both the gpu and the cpu need for cooling. Based on previous experience, I will not buy a high end graphics card without a direct exhaust. How about this EVGA unit?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you have doubts, then look at the GTX470, realizing that you will pay more for the incremental performance.

Your cpu is capable of driving anything well. Perhaps it might be best to get a GTX480 initially if you can afford it.
To paraphrase an old saying: " The bitterness of disappointing performance is remembered long after the sweetness of the price is forgotten"

The XFX750 is an outstanding unit and value. It will run anything that has been discussed so far. Modular, silver efficiency, well reviewed.. What's not to like?
(I know, I know, the green fan.)

---good luck---
September 15, 2010 11:53:03 PM

coldsleep said:
I suspect it largely depends on the game. Well, and settings, of course. I should have specificed "at high/ultra" in my previous post.

Looking at modern (DX11) games, a single 460 seems to be adequate for most games, but not amazing at 1920x1080.

Anandtech benchmarks
BattleForge
BF:BC2
STALKER:CoP - verging on difficult to play at below 30 fps
Dirt 2 - the only DX11 benchmark above 50 fps for a GTX 460 1 GB.


Yeah, it doesn't do max settings too well (I got about 35 FPS on my settings), but that's why I differentiated between best bang for the buck and best video card overall. If I had the funds, I would've gotten a 470 or 480 so I could SLI them in the future, but I'm still happy with my 460 :) 
September 16, 2010 1:57:29 AM

mortonww said:
I think you should go with a gtx 470. Two of those in the future will be much better than two 460s. It's worth it.


Ok so playing devil's advocate... If I WERE to go with a GTX 470... what are some of the best models?
September 16, 2010 2:35:47 AM

muckle said:
Ok so playing devil's advocate... If I WERE to go with a GTX 470... what are some of the best models?


Doesn't really matter too much. Price/warranty are probably most important. I think that generally EVGA is considered to be the top manufacturer, but Asus, Gigabyte, and others are probably right up there.
September 16, 2010 2:45:50 AM

I picked out 5 of the best rated real quick, from the most popular manufacturers:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|14-130-550^14-130-550-TS,14-130-549^14-130-549-TS,14-127-513^14-127-513-TS,14-127-501^14-127-501-S01,14-121-372^14-121-372-TS

Asus, MSI, EVGA... they're all about $50 bucks within range of each other after rebates. I've been looking for comparisons... I can't tell the difference. Looking for some knowledgable input... most expensive does not mean best to me
September 16, 2010 2:52:24 AM

yeah i'm having difficulty seeing the differences here. the specs on the msi's... the specs on the asus's... the specs are almost identical. comes down to physical design/cooling or whatever?

need help telling the difference.
September 16, 2010 3:03:32 AM

That's the thing, there really aren't significant differences until you get to the branded cooling/overclocked versions of the cards. Even then, it's debatable whether or not it's worth the extra money for the fancier cards. (If you're willing to pay more for an overclock or special cooling, that's fine, just pointing out that in general, the performance gains are relatively minimal, and you frequently are better off just moving up to the next card.)

Sure, someone may tell you that brand A is better than brand B because they use flux capacitors that are 99% copper instead of brand B's 98% copper, or that brand A has special magical fairy dust that keeps it running cool...but without real inside knowledge, I think it's safer to assume that they're all basically the same, and judge based on how you judge other interchangeable parts. Price, warranty, and looks. :) 

Take all of the above with a grain of salt, of course, I have a Sapphire 5870 Vapor-X that I probably paid too much for (but I am pleased that I usually can't hear it). :p 
September 16, 2010 3:41:49 AM

coldsleep said:
... judge based on how you judge other interchangeable parts. Price, warranty, and looks :p 


You give good advice, but I also heavily weigh my components decisions on reviews... Customer and professional.... Can't find too many of the latter on these cards

Best solution

September 16, 2010 4:25:33 AM
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muckle said:
yeah i'm having difficulty seeing the differences here. the specs on the msi's... the specs on the asus's... the specs are almost identical. comes down to physical design/cooling or whatever?

need help telling the difference.


1) All the gpu chips and architecture will be identical.
2) Some will have the reference double slot cooler, which I think is superior. It exhausts the hot vga air directly out the back of the case. Other coolers may do a better job of getting heat off of the gpu die, but then they dump it back in the case where case cooling has to deal with it. That heats up the air that both the vga and the cpu need to cool themselves. I won't buy a high end card without direct exhaust.
3) Some of the cards are higher priced because they are higher quality binning, and are factory overclocked. You can usually do this yourself, but the quality of your particular chip is not guaranteed.
4) Some cards have 3 year warranties, others have limited lifetime warranties.
5) EVGA cards have a "step up" program where you have 90 days to apply your purchase price to a more expensive card.
6) Some companies are US based and have good customer support. EVGA is one of those. Check out the forums to see what kind of support you might get.
7) Some cards come with worthwhile games.

Of the cards you listed, I think the best is the EVGA superclocked EVGA 012-P3-1472-AR .
September 16, 2010 4:35:51 AM

Thx for the informative post Geofelt.

So what would distinguish the superclock evga from its slightly less expensive counterpart is higher factory overclocking...? Don't see much else..?

In that regard, I was under the impression that you can save by doing the overclocking yourself.. but then again i guess the most exp card can handle more altogether
September 16, 2010 11:52:47 AM

The differences you'll see in the cards is
A) Memory size (sometimes; the GTX 460 has a 768MB, 1GB, and 2GB version)
B) Core clock
C) Shader clock

Essentially, higher is better in all cases, though the 2GB version of the 460 isn't that great apparently. You can easily overclock your GPUs with MSI Afterburner (you move a slider to overclock it, in all seriousness), so if the overclocked versions cost too much, just get the normal ones.

A note about the EVGA cards: The last 2 digits of the model number refer to the length of the limited warranty. The "AR" cards have a lifetime warranty, so it may be worth the extra buck or two. I read it and basically you can't physically break (like snap in half) the PCB or GPU, but you can still overclock it.

Like I said before, I overclock my EVGA 460 (AR) using MSI Afterburner and get a improvement in performance. It's really simple.
September 18, 2010 5:45:28 AM

Best answer selected by muckle.
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