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Need advice on MMO gaming graphics card

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May 11, 2011 10:44:23 PM

I am looking for some advice and knowledge on graphics card for mmo gaming. I am looking to get a new graphics card for some upcoming mmos I plan to play. I am looking to play Star Wars the Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, or Tera. I would like to play the game on the highest settings possible.

I have read and talked to people who say MMO games are not very graphic intensive compared to crysis and other games, so I am trying to figure out how powerful a graphics card I need without it becoming overkill. Do I need the top end card to play an MMO on ultra settings? Do you need SLI or crossfire? Is it true that CPU is more important for MMO gaming than the graphics card?

I am trying to find that sweet spot for price and performance, trying to avoid buying the best of the best when most of it will just be overkill for an mmo game.

All advice is welcome, thank you.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 2 months BUDGET RANGE: no more than $450, but I am trying to avoid overkill.

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, upcoming mmos, SWTOR, Tera, GW2...I think Final Fantasy 14 would be more graphic intensive than any of the newer ones that I am looking to play.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: I have Nvidia 9400, upgrading to a 650 watt power supply.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: building a new gaming computer, stuck on which video card would be best value and performance before settling on other components.

OVERCLOCKING: NO Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: If needed, will I need SLI or Crossfire for mmo gaming?

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680 x 1080
a c 153 U Graphics card
May 11, 2011 11:04:14 PM

You don't need SLI or Crossfire, however, post your entire computer that you are looking to build. We can help you fix it up and tweak it, as well as finding the best graphics card for your choices. You want to make sure you get the right CPU and what not.
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May 11, 2011 11:08:07 PM

Planning on getting the Intel 2500k for CPU, mostly concerned with price/performance for mmos gaming graphics card. I would be building the rest around the graphics card. From what I have read Intel 2500k is best cpu for price /performance in gaming. I would consider AMD for mmo gaming if it provided the performance needed, but from what I have read mmo's are CPU intensive compared to GPUs and Intel CPUs seem quite superior to AMD at the moment.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
May 11, 2011 11:09:40 PM

Typically, to play at good settings in MMO's you don't need Crysis type of spec's. If you don't mind having bad FPS in towns where a lot of people congregate you do not need Crysis type spec's.

However, if you do want max settings, and have good FPS in towns, it usually takes both a fast CPU and GPU. Even more powerful of a CPU than Crysis would need, and close to just as powerful of a GPU setup.

At least this is the case with Rift, and WoW used to be that way and still requires a lot more power than the benchmarks show, due to not showing FPS in towns or in 25 man raid situations.

However, in the case of WoW at least, the game is built to look pretty good at less than max settings, so you may want to compromise a bit.
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a c 153 U Graphics card
May 11, 2011 11:18:37 PM

Yeah, as Bystander said (I was just about to post the same thing), in town and sometimes in many man dungeons with extremely high settings maxed out you DO require a pretty hefty GPU. If you can deal with slight town lag, or even turning down (in WoW Terms) the spell detail settings for raids, you don't need quite as good a GPU.

However you have picked out the perfect CPU in my opinion, what power supply are you getting? Just becuase its 650W doesn't mean it is any good.

And finally what is the price for the card you are looking for? Do you prefer Nvidia (since you had one before) or ATI, or does it matter.
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Anonymous
May 12, 2011 12:09:17 AM

All three of the MMO games you want to play have not been released yet so no-one will be sure what GPU you will need to marry with the 2500k to max those games out!

Is your resolution 1680x1050 or 1920x1080 ( you have 1680x1080)

If it is 1680x1050, you will need a slightly less powerfull card, say 6870 or gt560, if it is 1920x1080, then 6950, gt570, 6970 will do.

This is theoretical as these games are not out, but I would be surprised if they will not run full spec on those cards at the given resolutions.

For informations sake, I run Phenom x6 @3.8Ghz with HD 5850 @900Mhz on all the MMO's I play or have played ( LOTRO, Champions Online, STO, Black Prophecy, DDO, WoW, Aion, Guild wars ect..) and have never run into one yet that i cannot max out, even in crowded areas on 1920x1080!
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May 12, 2011 2:00:30 AM

Anonymous said:
All three of the MMO games you want to play have not been released yet so no-one will be sure what GPU you will need to marry with the 2500k to max those games out!

Is your resolution 1680x1050 or 1920x1080 ( you have 1680x1080)

If it is 1680x1050, you will need a slightly less powerfull card, say 6870 or gt560, if it is 1920x1080, then 6950, gt570, 6970 will do.

This is theoretical as these games are not out, but I would be surprised if they will not run full spec on those cards at the given resolutions.

For informations sake, I run Phenom x6 @3.8Ghz with HD 5850 @900Mhz on all the MMO's I play or have played ( LOTRO, Champions Online, STO, Black Prophecy, DDO, WoW, Aion, Guild wars ect..) and have never run into one yet that i cannot max out, even in crowded areas on 1920x1080!


So assuming that the new mmos coming out are slightly more graphics intensive and I am willing to play at high graphical setting (not ultra), with a 1680 x 1920 resolution monitor, that a 6950 or 6970, SHOULD, be enough GPU to enjoy mmo gaming?

How much, if any, difference would it make between the 6950 and 6970? Realistically, would it be noticeable?

Any reason to get Radeon over Nvidia or vice versa other than personal preference?

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a c 153 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 2:41:05 AM

Radeon has Eyefinity (which you aren't using), Nvidia has Physx (which I doubt those titles will have). So not really ... no.

I would get a 6950 2GB that you can unlock to a 6970 personally.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 3:55:44 AM

The HD6950/70 are high end gaming cards for people that want to be able to play all games(or close to it) on the highest settings possible at high resolutions. If your focus is MMOs and especially if your resolution is 1680x1050 they are really more than you need. Something on the level of a GTX 460/HD6850/HD5850 would be a good choice for you imo.
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May 12, 2011 3:15:44 PM

jyjjy said:
The HD6950/70 are high end gaming cards for people that want to be able to play all games(or close to it) on the highest settings possible at high resolutions. If your focus is MMOs and especially if your resolution is 1680x1050 they are really more than you need. Something on the level of a GTX 460/HD6850/HD5850 would be a good choice for you imo.


Awesome, thank you for the advice. I am really trying to stay away from overkill. I will do some more research, I have read good things about the gtx 460, that would be great if it was strong enough for mmos.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2011 3:35:39 PM

Pashtun said:
Awesome, thank you for the advice. I am really trying to stay away from overkill. I will do some more research, I have read good things about the gtx 460, that would be great if it was strong enough for mmos.


Just be aware, that while MMO's are "known" for not needing a lot of graphics horsepower, they frequently require the highest end gear for their highest settings when in crowded areas. Rift, for example, still dips into the 30's with two 6950's in crossfire at 1200p. WoW also dips into the 30's with a 580 at 1080p when at the highest settings.

But if you go away from the towns or high end raids, were there is much less going on, then you can do good with a 460 at your resolution.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 4:26:10 PM

bystander said:
Just be aware, that while MMO's are "known" for not needing a lot of graphics horsepower, they frequently require the highest end gear for their highest settings when in crowded areas. Rift, for example, still dips into the 30's with two 6950's in crossfire at 1200p. WoW also dips into the 30's with a 580 at 1080p when at the highest settings.

But if you go away from the towns or high end raids, were there is much less going on, then you can do good with a 460 at your resolution.
As far as I'm aware the dips you are talking about are in general CPU bottlenecks and not related to the video card.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2011 6:43:54 PM

jyjjy said:
As far as I'm aware the dips you are talking about are in general CPU bottlenecks and not related to the video card.


From experience, it's usually both. OCing the CPU gives good boosts to performance, and OCing the GPU also gives good boosts.

I'm not sure if you seen Rift, for example, but it uses some high end visuals in their engine. It looks as good as most FPS engines, visually.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 12, 2011 7:39:06 PM

Yeah, not too familiar with Rift particularly so that comment was more about WoW.
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May 12, 2011 10:12:55 PM

What is your guys advice on this scenario then... would you guys recommend getting a Nvidia gtx 460 with a motherboard and power supply ready for SLI and upgrade to 2 gtx 460s if needed? OR going with ATI 6970/6950?

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a c 217 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2011 10:15:35 PM

I'd go 6950, unless you were an Nvidia man, then a 560ti and upgrade if needed. Not all games are the same. Rift seems to be about the most power hungry, but if you aren't playing Rift, what does that matter? :p 

Note: This is under the guideline of playing everything maxed all the time. If you don't mind turning down a couple settings here or there, a 460 is a good choice.
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May 12, 2011 10:18:07 PM

How well would the 6950 handle rift? Will it run it on high end graphic settings in 25 mans? Not the highest settings, but the higher end with shadows turned down. I don't care about crowded towns, but I do care about group content game play.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2011 10:24:06 PM

I was running a 6950 with unlocked shaders doing a large event in Rift. There were probably 50 people near me. Most people in my guild were complaining that the game was a slide show. I however managed 20-35 FPS. It wasn't a slide show, although it wasn't as smooth as I'd like.

This was with Ultra settings. Although there are higher settings available if you select each item manually, but Ultra is the best preset setting. This is at 1920x1200.
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May 12, 2011 10:30:35 PM

Sweet. Thank you guys for helping with the graphics card. I will now take it over to the motherboard and power supply forums. Thank you all who responded.
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Best solution

May 12, 2011 10:35:10 PM

Pashtun said:
How well would the 6950 handle rift? Will it run it on high end graphic settings in 25 mans? Not the highest settings, but the higher end with shadows turned down. I don't care about crowded towns, but I do care about group content game play.


It would run it very well.

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1608/1/ advice on which cards flash and how to flash (unlock) a 6950 > 6970.

If i were you I'd buy a reference 6950 2GB version and unlock it to 6970 via flash. As noted above, MMOs tend to require a beefy CPU along with a capable GPU whereas FPS tend to lean towards the GPU. With an MMO you don't need to have FPS >30 whereas an FPS generally looks and feels better with over 60. The 6950 (6970) would handle any MMO out right now quite well, as well as any MMO in the near future. I wouldn't crossfire them, but would instead buy another GPU when you feel the card isn't able to supply enough power, because, as stated above, you would probably require a CPU/GPU upgrade -- which would likely be a platform upgrade.

Hope this helps :) 
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May 12, 2011 11:40:38 PM

Best answer selected by Pashtun.
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May 12, 2011 11:43:16 PM

Yes, this helps a ton. I will do some more research on flashing the GPU and how hard or easy it is. Then decide on 6950 or 6970. Most people have said that crossfire or SLI for an MMO is not needed, that helps me a lot. I don't think the mmos I will be playing will be more graphically intensive than RIFT, in fact I think RIFT would be the game to base my decision on. Thank you for the help.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 13, 2011 6:36:01 PM

Here's the original article on the subject;
http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar...
Lots of info and the discussion thread at the bottom is over 100 pages and full of advice and reports. In general if you want to unlock an HD6950 the reference card is the best choice because of the dual BIOS. To be safe just unlocking the shaders then overclocking to HD6970 speeds(or beyond) is a better idea than the using the full BIOS from that card.
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May 13, 2011 7:02:02 PM

in case if you haven't bought a graphics card. just get something cheap like a gts 450. I currently have a even cheaper card, hd5670, that pretty much plays battlefield bc 2 on max on a 1440x900 monitor so I'm certain a slight more expensive one can handly any mmo that's out there
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