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GTX680 and 7970 vram

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April 25, 2012 7:42:12 PM

I've been becoming rather annoyed by the lack of solid answers with reference to the vram amounts on the two top single-GPU cards available at the moment being sufficient for gaming. What is certain is that as it stands, the GTX680 is the best, despite it's smaller amount of memory.

I am not concerned about pricing, temperatures, fan noise or appearance. I merely want to have a card which will be able to sustain playing every single game that is currently out and will be released before the next generation of GPUs are launched. I want to be able to play them with ALL the settings on MAX, everything that can be enabled, enabled and with 'decent' FPS (ie. no lag.) I have been doing the same thing for ages - buying the top single-GPU card, playing everything on max for a year and then getting another, so as to keep up with the games which are released.

I have a number of questions that are unanswered, despite my reading and watching numerous reviews (both specific to each card and comparative) and scrolling through a large amount of threads related to the topic.

1. Why is it that Nvidia released the 680 with 2GB when they knew that AMD had a card out with 3GB. Providing more memory would make the cards last longer. Was it due to their knowing that without it, the card would still win, and therefore they saved on costs? I have read, on multiple sites, that the 680 is in fact what the 670 was going to be and was labelled the 680 when Nvidia saw that their expectations of the 7970 were greater than what was produced.

2. How is it that Nvidia managed to get the 680 to win, with less memory? Is it due to the fact that games don't require more than 2GB at present? Is it because of the memory clock being higher? (I have read somewhere that this may be the case.) Does the processing power counter the card having less memory?

3.Do games at present require more than 2GB of vram? I know this relates to the above question, but it's distinct. Will there be games throughout the next year that do? The next Metro, Crysis 3 and Max Payne 3 are all games that I suspect of doing so.

4. Is there a way to tell, genuinely, how much memory a game uses? I have seen opinions amounting to 'a game uses whatever is available, so if the card has 3GB, the usage results will be close to this.' If that is true, how is the actual usage determined?

I can already see this thread being filled with people saying 'blahblah, games don't require more than 1GB of ram, i still have a card-x and it runs everything on max' and 'if you want to run multiple monitors, you need more than 2GB, otherwise not nonsensenonsense.' There will probably be a lot of biased opinions, due to certain people liking one of the two brands more. Hopefully, there won't be much of that though, and the thread can be a logical, fact-motivated discussion, rather than a harsh debate.

I am accustomed to building PCs and keep up-to-date with the latest hardware developments. I say this so that people don't suspect me of being a complete noob, with a lack of understanding, and decide to explain things using simple terms.

I am gaming with a 27" 1080p LCD and would like (if possible with a single card) to get above 60fps in all games. If not, I may consider getting another. No other components in my system will result in the card's performance decreasing. For the sake of equality, I will be buying a stock card, using a reference PCB design and cooler. If it turns out that the 2GB 680 will last until the next generation of cards, then I'll get it, as I like the new technology that Nvidia has included, such as FXAA, adaptive V-sync and the proven-to-make-a-difference-in-visuals PhysX. I don't care that only a few games use PhysX, if the option is available, I'd like to be able to make use of it. Better graphics are better. Aah, circular logic.

More about : gtx680 7970 vram

April 25, 2012 7:54:22 PM

Well, not ALL games. It's cool though, I'm fine with less, so long as it's above 30, so as to prevent lag.

It's hard to believe that 2GB of vram can support that much. I've seen BF3 use 2GB of memory in MP, on the large maps. Perhaps it's, as I mentioned above, a matter of 'use what the card has' or at least, SAY that the usage is close to what the GPU has.
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April 25, 2012 8:05:18 PM

The 680 doesn't only have less memory though:


680:

bandwidth - 192.256
bus width - 256


7970:

bandwidth - 264
bus width - 384


Are those aspects relative to the amount of memory? If they aren't then it means the 680 is a worse card when considering memory as a whole. It also means that it's a bigger accomplishment that the 680 is better than the 7970.
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April 25, 2012 8:18:45 PM

Fair enough. Another example is the memory clock being 1375 on the 7970 and 6008 on the 680. To a tard, it'd seem as though the 680 is over 4x better in that aspect. It's just amazing how different the numbers can be, yet how close the performance is.
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April 25, 2012 8:27:05 PM

A few thoughts:

1) Recently, Nvidia almost always has less vram on their high end cards than AMD

2) VRAM quantity matters very little for the overall speed of a GPU, so it doesn't affect really at all which card "wins". You just have to have enough so that your card doesn't totally bottleneck and choke out due to vram limitations.

3) Which card "wins" depends on what game you are looking at, and if you are willing to include overclocked results in your comparison or not (7970 is an awful card if you aren't willing to overclock it IMO).

4) How much vram games "require" can be difficult to quantify. Currently, at 1920x1080/1200, the vast majority of games will not use more than 2GB. Some games will use more (Crysis 2 and BF3 can use 2000-2400 MB of vram, modded skyrim can use 3GB of vram). However, just because a game "uses" more vram, doesn't necessarily mean it "requires" it. The vram is only required once the game can no longer load the necessary assets to the GPU, and thus your framerate plummets down to 10% or less of original performance. As all reviews of the GTX 680 will tell you, there are no games that "require" more than 2 GB of vram, and most suggest that games don't require more than 1 GB until crazy resolutions.

It is easy to tell how much vram a game will use... just fire up Afterburner and check it.

5) It is impossible to predict how much vram future games will need.

6) There are literally a million threads on pretty much every tech forum discussing the 680's vram quantity, so I don't know why you feel so "annoyed" by the "lack of solid answers" to your questions, because the answers are on most forums I've been on, and available from pretty much all the reviews out there as well.
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a b U Graphics card
April 25, 2012 8:29:28 PM

Kinda like when AMD chips were faster than Intel Pentium 4's at lower clock speeds because they ran on a different architecture.
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April 25, 2012 8:41:34 PM

Are the plans I've heard about for a 4GB version of the 680 true? Wiki lists a 4GB variant. I wonder if that card will have increased bandwidth and bus width, or if just the memory amount will increase.

BigMack70, that info is very helpful.

Why does the game use the extra memory if it doesn't require it? It'd be interesting to know what the frames were when it was using those different amounts.

The Witcher 2 is another game which has extremely high requirements in terms of playing it on max, especially with ubersampling on. The frames drop rapidly if it's enabled.
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April 25, 2012 8:56:02 PM

The game will often use a lot of memory that it doesn't technically "need" because it will pre-load textures etc to the vram even if it is not using them. This theoretically could result in smoother play (though often there is no noticeable benefit) since the card doesn't have to re-load assets. Also, the card may simply not purge old textures etc from the vram if it has room to load new assets without doing so, resulting in higher vram usage.

There is a 4 GB version of the 680 - there's a couple reviews floating around of the Palit Jetstream 4GB and Gainward Phantom 4GB variants - they perform basically no different at regular resolutions. They also have the same memory bus width.

Witcher 2 is crazy demanding with ubersampling but I typically am seeing it around 700-800MB of vram usage.

In my opinion, get the 4GB version of the card if you plan to SLI, but just get the 2GB version if you are going single card. Reasoning:
-If you are looking at a 680 SLI setup, the small budget increase shouldn't matter all that much.
-A single card is likely to run out of pure GPU muscle before the vram becomes a bottleneck, but 2 cards may not, since vram doesn't stack. Therefore, I'd go with 4GB just to be on the safe side with vram for 2 cards, even though in 99.99% of cases it will not matter.
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April 25, 2012 9:10:51 PM

The only time I'll consider having an SLI or Crossfire configuration is when a single card no longer allows me to play the latest games on max.

If a situation arises where one of either of the two aforementioned GPUs lasts until the next launch, next year, then I won't even consider a second.

That amount of vram usage in The Witcher 2 is surprisingly low, considering what I've seen most people say it uses. All instances were of usage around 1.2 - 1.6GB. Apparently the .ini file says that the game allocates 600MB of vram just for textures, when they're set to max. That makes sense though, considering how amazing the game looks.
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April 25, 2012 9:31:15 PM

With my oc'ed 7970 (1100/1475) The Witcher 2 runs at 60fps capped without ubersampling and around 30-40fps with ubersampling on - however, the first minute of gameplay after the first loading havs some bad fps drops and then its all good.

On skyrim I've gone past 2.2GB of Vram usare (but I've stopped playing that game a month ago or so).

Generally 2GB for 1 screen is LARGELY enough. I think if I had to choose a card now that the GTX680 is out, I'd pick a pre-oc'ed GTX680 version mostly due to better prices for the same performance. (I currently have XFX 7970BEDD). I score 9100 points in 3dmark11 with a 4Ghz i7 930, so I don't know why in reviews with uber systems the 7970 scores so much lower.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
April 25, 2012 9:43:15 PM

GTX680 2GB vs 4GB

First of all, let me just say that 2GB is plenty. For people stressed about 3GB on the HD7970 vs 2GB on the GTX680 quit overthinking it. That's what BENCHMARKS are for.

I monitored the VRAM usage at Ultra settings for several games (don't have Skyrim or BF3) and never once went above 1200MB's.

Just Case 2 (2560x1440, MAX SETTINGS) used 700MB.
Dirt 3 (2560x1440, max) used 930MB.

4GB cards:
Tweaktown just did a review comparing 4GB vs 2GB 680's and the results are completely incorrect. They showed a small performance boost for every game with the 4GB. Where they screwed up is that the improvements is soley due to GPU BOOST as a result of the better cooling solution.

For example they showed a 10% improvement in Just Cause 2 which is basically impossible since it couldn't even use 1GB so it certainly didn't need more than 2GB.

There might be a game or two that can actually use more than 2GB of VRAM, but I'd be surprised if that was while ALSO achieving 60FPS.

*Simply put, 2GB of VRAM is the proper amount of memory for the GTX680 when paired with a single monitor up to 2560x1600.
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April 25, 2012 9:47:25 PM

tlg, awesome to get some actual results.

The fact that The Witcher 2 can run on a 7970 with ubersampling on at over 30fps is pleasing. I'm leaning towards it now, as getting it will enable me to be sure that if games come out within the next year that do require more than 2GB of ram, which I think will occur, I'll be able to play them. If I run out of processing power elsewhere on the card, or want higher framerates I can always get another.

For me, "generally" isn't good enough. I want to be assured that I'll have enough vram for every game.

When you're playing The Witcher 2, is everything on max? Is your skyrim modded? (I assume so, since the vanilla skyrim doesn't look very good, and I can't believe that it'd require that much memory without being customized.)

Do you have any coil whine? That was something that made me rather skeptical of getting one. I've seen SO MANY threads of people raging about it and none about the 680 having the same problem. It's shite that cards that cost so much, and are supposed to be advanced and BETTER than their predecessors, have stuff like that.
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April 25, 2012 9:48:57 PM

At present there are no games which can use more than 2 GB, but I am sure before the next generation cards come out all modern games will be using more than 2GB. because the present games are reaching the 2 GB limit.
So for your requirement I would go with the 7970.
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April 25, 2012 9:52:57 PM

Settings I was referring to:
1080p resolution
Witcher 2 completely maxed (not ultra - maxed... including ubersampling) ==> ~700-800MB of vram use

Skyrim = Maxed settings; STEP 2.0 mods installed, doubled shadow resolution from ultra, ugrids increased to 7, increased draw distances from ultra on most things ==> 2.7-3.0GB of vram use.

I have experienced no coil whine, either on my old XFX DD BE 7970 or now on my MSI Lightning 7970.
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April 25, 2012 10:36:10 PM

With the difference between "ultra" and "maxed" being?

Those skyrim settings constitute an example of what I wouldn't be able to achieve with a 680.

Is it a possibility that the coil whine happens to a certain number of cards released at a specific time, and the next shipment doesn't have it? It's either that, or one out of every x number have it and the consumer who buys that one is sad. Many people who have have RMAd theirs, which is what I'd do if I got one that had that insanely tiring noise.
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April 25, 2012 10:43:53 PM

I don't really know what the coil whine cause/issue is... I never had it so I haven't looked into the problem. I tend to see things like that and figure "eh... that's probably really rare and if I happen to get it, I'll just RMA" so I don't worry about it.

The default "ultra" spec on Witcher 2 doesn't max every setting... there's a couple that you can increase further - draw distance and video memory, I believe. I mentioned it because video memory is one of the things that you can increase beyond ultra, and yet it has never even approached 1GB in my limited playing time. Granted, I've only just bought the game and played for a couple hours, but still... 800MB is nothing these days.

I do think that very heavily modded skyrim would have trouble on a 2GB 680, given that it can sit there maxing out my 7970. However, it is worth pointing out that it takes a CRAZY amount of mods and beyond-ultra graphical increases to get it to that point.
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a b U Graphics card
April 25, 2012 10:52:53 PM

One thing I'd add is that running another display on the side tends to drive up VRAM usage too. I do my gaming on a 1080p monitor with a 1440x900 secondary monitor with task manager, skype, GPU-Z, etc running. I've also been playing Witcher 2 with everything maxed except ubersampling on my 7870 and I've seen memory usage much higher than the 1GB figure (more like 1.7 GB). My guess is that Windows does some optimizations (perhaps swapping data from VRAM to system RAM to free up some GPU resources) when a full-screen DirectX application is running. This obviously wouldn't work with a second active display that wasn't used by the DX application.
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a c 595 U Graphics card
April 26, 2012 4:54:35 AM

The 3gb is a marketing thing. With the previous generation 6900 series, everyone was happy with 2gb, but now that the 7900's are out, suddenly 2gb is not enough. In reality, even if you max out your memory, it's only going to have a minimal FPS impact. It doesn't make the game unplayable. All the same, you're not going to max out 2gb on a single screen.

To check your in-game memory usage, use Afterburner and monitor the memory usage in the performance graph. I use 1.4gb on Skyrim with 8x AA, 2x TrSSA, and the Hi-Def textures.
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April 26, 2012 5:45:47 AM

First of all, great thread, Bl1zz4rd. I wanted to ask the same question myself long time ago:) 

Now, I have a reference Gigabyte 7970. I am thinking of selling it and getting 680 GTX (or wait for 685 GTX????) for a few reasons:

1. PhysX. I tried to persuade myself by common amd-fanboys-clan's replicas like "it is not that important feature", "only few games use it", "it is not fair! Nvidia pays game developers for PhysX forcing them to use it! Nya!" or "it cripples your performance" but... You cannot lie to yourself:)  It is an amazing feature! I have never seen a better INTERACTIVE physics in any other game, maybe except Source engine games like HL2 or CS: Source, those are great too. I personally think PhysX should be used in more games, not just in a few.

2. If I would be buying a VGA right now, I would go with 680 GTX, simply because it has better performance. Ignore people saying that 7970 will beat 680 GTX at the same clock speeds, cuz it won't:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/04/04/nvidia_kepler...

I guess VRAM does not make much difference at least on 23-27" screens, as you can see from the link above, in half of the games tested, 680 GTX still outperforms 7970 at the same clock speeds but with less VRAM and lower memory bus interface. Too bad HardOCP didn't do a triple monitor benchmark comparison of those 2 video cards clocked at the same frequencies...

3. Driver problems. It is not that big and terrible problem as Nvidia-fanboys think it is. I had games crashes about 8 times during 3 months I own it. The way crashing goes is I get a game freeze, then desktop crash with error message in tray saying something like "Catalyst drivers were shut down and been recovered successfully". Most of the crashes were in Witcher 2 with ubersampling on. When I turned US off, drivers stopped crashing in that game, but continued to do so in Shogun 2 with everything on max. And I also get 30-40 FPS in Witcher 2 with ubersampling on, which makes game looks so much better, but it cripples the performance.

4. Coil whine. Guess what, it presents and it's annoying. I actually hear it constantly during some game menus: Anno 2070 and STALKER: SoC, as well as in 3DMark 05 during loading screens of benchmarks tests.

That were my 2 cents:) 
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April 26, 2012 3:07:41 PM

mitunchidamparam, I've already established, in this thread, that a heavily modded skyrim uses a lot more than 2GB of vram. The chances of games being released soon that do make use of more than 2GB are quite high. The fact that current games are using so close to that amount supports that.

matto17secs, as per the above point, 3GB of memory can't be only for marketing purposes. Having said that, there is no doubt that it is used as such, but rightfully so, as it results in the 7970 being better.

If I manage to "max out" the memory, it probably means that more is needed.

Veirtimid, hopefully the content will be beneficial to both myself and others asking the same questions. Long, descriptive comments like yours, with substantiation, are really nice. If only everyone provided the same.

I can testify to the fact that the drivers aren't as bad as what they are said to be. I know various people with 7000 series cards, none of whom have experienced one single driver-related problem. Perhaps they WERE bad, but that aspect has been addressed along with the release of the new GPUs.

PhysX is amazing. I used it on my GTX470 in numerous games and it made a noticeable difference. I don't really care about the fact that few games use it in terms of deciding which card to get. If ANY games use it, I want to be able to enable it. It makes things better, and I, as mentioned previously, want to run the games with EVERYTHING on max and all possible settings enabled. It would be nice if more, or all new games started using it.

Perhaps getting a custom 7970 will allow for abnormal noises to be avoided. The Asus direct cu2 version looks awesome, and it also runs cooler and quieter (according to, uhm, Asus.) No reviews are online, which is strange, considering how long the card's been available for.

I really can't see how someone can see a comment stating that someone has managed to get a game to use over 2GB of vram, and then say that no game uses more than that. Either trolls or people comment without looking at the rest of the thread, in which case... dafuq.
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a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2012 5:54:16 PM

darksalvatore said:
you said that 7970 can beat gtx 680 only on 3 monitors .... look at that ....

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/04/10/sapphire_hd_7...

gtx 680 was beaten by 7970 1000mhz edition :) 


Actually that review said that only the OC editions can beat or match the 680 gtx. Btw the 680 isnt the flagship model of Nvidias 600 series, its supposed to be the 685 with over 1500 cuda cores.
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April 26, 2012 5:58:03 PM

Bl1zz4rd said:
mitunchidamparam, I've already established, in this thread, that a heavily modded skyrim uses a lot more than 2GB of vram. The chances of games being released soon that do make use of more than 2GB are quite high. The fact that current games are using so close to that amount supports that.

matto17secs, as per the above point, 3GB of memory can't be only for marketing purposes. Having said that, there is no doubt that it is used as such, but rightfully so, as it results in the 7970 being better.

If I manage to "max out" the memory, it probably means that more is needed.

Veirtimid, hopefully the content will be beneficial to both myself and others asking the same questions. Long, descriptive comments like yours, with substantiation, are really nice. If only everyone provided the same.

I can testify to the fact that the drivers aren't as bad as what they are said to be. I know various people with 7000 series cards, none of whom have experienced one single driver-related problem. Perhaps they WERE bad, but that aspect has been addressed along with the release of the new GPUs.

PhysX is amazing. I used it on my GTX470 in numerous games and it made a noticeable difference. I don't really care about the fact that few games use it in terms of deciding which card to get. If ANY games use it, I want to be able to enable it. It makes things better, and I, as mentioned previously, want to run the games with EVERYTHING on max and all possible settings enabled. It would be nice if more, or all new games started using it.

Perhaps getting a custom 7970 will allow for abnormal noises to be avoided. The Asus direct cu2 version looks awesome, and it also runs cooler and quieter (according to, uhm, Asus.) No reviews are online, which is strange, considering how long the card's been available for.

I really can't see how someone can see a comment stating that someone has managed to get a game to use over 2GB of vram, and then say that no game uses more than that. Either trolls or people comment without looking at the rest of the thread, in which case... dafuq.


I am sorry that I did not see your comment because when i was commenting i had a call and I did not post it and i posted some time later, so I did not see your comment.
So ya, i think a custom 7970 would be awesome because the 7970 ghz edition beats the 680 in clock to clock.
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a c 595 U Graphics card
April 26, 2012 6:37:15 PM

You guys shouldn't speak in absolutes. There are just some games where there is no amount of OC that can make up the difference.
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April 26, 2012 6:45:22 PM

mightymaxio, are you sure about the 685 being the fastest card? All evidence points towards the 680 being the best that Nvidia's going to release in this series. If it's the fastest single-GPU card available, there's no reason to release a GTX685.

My previous point about the 680 actually being what was intended to be the 670 si related to this. I've seen that rumor numerous times online and I can see how it could be true. It'd also explain why the 680 has the lower memory specifications.

Nvidia designs multiple cards and has a more powerful one in mind as the competitor to the 7970. The AMD card is released and Nvidia realises that it's not as good as they expected it to be. They use what would have been the 670 as the 680, as they figure out it can beat the 7970, and everything shifts down. They save on costs (and can maybe use the 680 tech for the next series.) It's possible.
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April 26, 2012 6:51:30 PM

That 685 info is pure speculation at this point. We know that Nvidia has a GK110 chip somewhere that is significantly more powerful. We have no real info on what it will eventually become (685? 690? 695? 780?) or when we will see it.

There's always better tech around the corner. That's how it works. The GTX 680 is the GK104 chip, which was originally designed to be the midrange Kepler chip. However, due to poor yields on their GK110 (high end) chip and 7970 performance being lower than they expected, they rebadged GK104 as the high end card.

We don't know what GK110 will end up being.
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April 26, 2012 6:58:25 PM

Pretty sure that's the 690 based on discussion from around the 'net, but what I'm interested in is if it's the dual-GK104 as rumored or if Nvidia is gonna pull a fast one on us and release the GK110 as the 690.
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a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2012 7:01:17 PM

The 7970 is definitely a competitive part with the 680. The 680 has a higher density of compute units per die area than the 7970 due to the latter's extra hardware needed to implement hardware scheduling. The 680 tends to have better performance in games, but the 7970 crushes the 680 in compute performance (even the 7850 and 580 easily beats the 680). I'm interested to see what they'll do with the Quadro and Tesla customers that they really helped out with Fermi and its hardware scheduler. They're alienating that market now with Kepler.
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a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2012 7:12:34 PM

Looks like a monster but I can't help but think the power consumption is going to be pretty high and the die is going to be huge. I could see why TSMC had issues with GK110.
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April 26, 2012 7:39:20 PM

I've seen a lot of comments elsewhere relating to an Nvidia release in November this year. Aside from whether it'd be the 685 or 780, I can't see why they'd do that, considering they've just released the first card from the new series.

The next 'world's fastest GPU' should only be released next year, or even the following year. I honestly don't know how those people can speculate the way they do or what they base said speculation on. There are, after all, no facts to support their claims.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
April 27, 2012 12:39:25 AM

GTX690.
It's very likely that this will be announced shortly and will essentially be comprised of TWO GTX680's at slightly lower clock speeds.

I would expect performance to be similar to about 80-85% of a 2xGTX680 SLI setup if the rest of your computer can keep up.

You'd likely want a 3-slot solution with awesome non-reference cooling.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
April 27, 2012 12:50:24 AM

Bl1zz4rd said:
tlg, awesome to get some actual results.

The fact that The Witcher 2 can run on a 7970 with ubersampling on at over 30fps is pleasing. I'm leaning towards it now, as getting it will enable me to be sure that if games come out within the next year that do require more than 2GB of ram, which I think will occur, I'll be able to play them. If I run out of processing power elsewhere on the card, or want higher framerates I can always get another.

For me, "generally" isn't good enough. I want to be assured that I'll have enough vram for every game.

When you're playing The Witcher 2, is everything on max? Is your skyrim modded? (I assume so, since the vanilla skyrim doesn't look very good, and I can't believe that it'd require that much memory without being customized.)

Do you have any coil whine? That was something that made me rather skeptical of getting one. I've seen SO MANY threads of people raging about it and none about the 680 having the same problem. It's shite that cards that cost so much, and are supposed to be advanced and BETTER than their predecessors, have stuff like that.


I think your game play experience would be far better on the GTX680 with the quality tweaked so you can achieve 60FPS most of the time.

There are situations where you can use more than 2GB to make the HD7970 seem a better choice but then you tax the GPU so much that your frame rates drop far below 60FPS.

Remember that if you can't achieve VSYNC you get screen tearing, not to mention the lower frame rates aren't as enjoyable.

Adaptive VSYNC:
The GTX680 can cap to a rate of say 60FPS and if the game drops below that instead of the sudden STUTTER you normally get VSYNC is disabled instead so you just get screen tearing.

*You should definitely go to the NVidia site and read through the features of the GTX680. It's very interesting. There are other advantage to the GTX680 that the HD7970 does not have which will pull it further ahead of upcoming games, especially with the new UNREAL 4 engine.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
April 27, 2012 1:02:54 AM

Why 3GB?

The 3GB of VRAM in the HD7970 is primarily for CROSSFIRE, not single card setups.

If you KNOW you're going to game on three monitors the best choice will be the 4GB version of the GTX680.

VRAM and SLI/Crossfire:
VRAM is not added. You do NOT get a 6GB with a 2xHD7970 3GB setup. You get 3GB. The clone the data. So that effective 3GB is then used for say 3x1920x1080 which is basically a 5860x1080 screen.

This is my recommend:
- GTX680 2GB for single monitors up to 2560x1600
- 2xGTX680 4GB for triple monitor (i.e. 5860x1080)
- HD7970 3GB (for gamers with COMPUTE needs that can utilize this card)
- 2xHD7970 3GB (for gamers with COMPUTE needs gaming to multiple monitors)
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April 27, 2012 1:24:41 AM

The skyrim setup we've been referring to runs pretty much at a constant 60fps on my rig, so it is not true that all the scenarios where you need more vram you also need extra GPU power. That's true in some cases, but not all.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
April 27, 2012 3:54:19 AM

BigMack70 said:
The skyrim setup we've been referring to runs pretty much at a constant 60fps on my rig, so it is not true that all the scenarios where you need more vram you also need extra GPU power. That's true in some cases, but not all.


I agree.
The 2GB amount of VRAM on the GTX680 is optimal for the processing capabilities of the GPU.

Games can buffer textures and data in the VRAM but not necessarily be processing them at the moment.

It's also interesting to note that the next gen of CONSOLES is likely to use about 2GB of SHARED VRAM/System RAM. Since consoles so heavily influence PC games it's unlikely that VRAM usage is likely to spiral up and up.

So the 2GB of VRAM will be enough for years to come likely for single monitors (and you'll want a new card by then).

Tessellation and VRAM:
Tessellation and other optimizations will actually require LESS memory than current designs. We'll likely see the amount of VRAM peak, drop slightly, then stabilize.
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April 27, 2012 4:34:01 AM

I can only give you some average fps I get in the most current demanding games with my 680 (1920x 1080 monitor) . I don't think more than 2gb vram would help right now btw.

Crysis2: All ultra, high res textures above 50 fps to 70
Battlefield 3: All ultra in campain above 80 fps, in multiplayer above 60 to 80
Dirt 3: Benchmarked at 90 fps
Skirim: All ultra, patch 1.5 around 60 fps
Batman arkhgam city: Benchmarked at 55 fps, but it runs at 60 until it gets down to 30 fps (unpatched)
Metro 2033: Around 50, unpatched

Hope it helps
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April 27, 2012 5:09:40 AM

davemaster84

Battlefield 3: All ultra in campain above 80 fps, in multiplayer above 60 to 80

multipalyer with 60+ fps ? can you get that with stock clock ? or you had overlock it to like 1250 mhz ?
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2012 6:19:34 AM

Will see in the next year or two when vram comes more into play.Right now these cards are virtually identical in performance at same clocks.3GB of VRAM is more future proof then 2 so 7970---> GTX 680.If you are someone that plans on not upgrading for 2,3.4 or even 5 years you will be far better off with the 7970.If you are someone that upgrades on a yearly basis then maybe the gtx 680.Not to mention if you overclock the 7970 does that better to.Infact some guy posted a thread of certain benchmarks and 8 of the 10 best performance scores were the 7970
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a c 147 U Graphics card
April 27, 2012 7:21:18 AM

How to monitor VRAM:
1) download and run Process Explorer v15.13 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/sysinternals/bb89665...

2) VIEW->System Information->GPU (view "GPU dedicated memory")

Monitor game usage:
Do the above but close any web browsers and switch desktop to Windows Classic in themes.

Play your game, close it then go back and put your mouse on the HIGHEST peak in the GPU memory usage.

(You should show under 50MB of GPU memory usage before starting the game. If you use an Aero theme I'm really not sure if it's being buffered in VRAM or not. It probably stays there until you get close to using your VRAM up but again I'm not sure. Aero can use up to 200MB.)

CHEERS!
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a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2012 3:56:51 PM

Or you can enable an overlay that monitors those stats such as EVGA precision, MSI afterburner, Nvidia control panel to name a few.
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April 27, 2012 3:56:54 PM

Quote:
...Infact some guy posted a thread of certain benchmarks and 8 of the 10 best performance scores were the 7970


Really?:)  Can we see those "certain" benches, please? I read many sites with 7970 vs 680 benchmarks and never seen OC 7970 beat stock 680 GTX in more than 50% of games tested.
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April 27, 2012 4:00:56 PM

Bl1zz4rd, did you consider to wait and get 1 or even 2 690s GTX 4GB? How long should they be good for? 4 years? maybe... 5? I can see as good long term solution, of course, you will have to spend a lot of money on them right away...
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April 27, 2012 4:35:16 PM

Veirtimid said:
Really?:)  Can we see those "certain" benches, please? I read many sites with 7970 vs 680 benchmarks and never seen OC 7970 beat stock 680 GTX in more than 50% of games tested.


You should browse through a review like this:
http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/gpu_displays/nvidia_...

7970 OC beats a stock 680 in nearly all tests, and yields similar performance to a 680 OC.
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a c 595 U Graphics card
April 27, 2012 6:30:21 PM

BigMack70 said:
You should browse through a review like this:
http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/gpu_displays/nvidia_...

7970 OC beats a stock 680 in nearly all tests, and yields similar performance to a 680 OC.

... at the expense of heat, noise, and power consumption.
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April 27, 2012 6:36:17 PM

No question, the 680 is a more efficient GPU than the 7970.

Doesn't really matter to me personally - it's not like the 7970 is bad in any of those categories, the 680 just happens to be amazing in them. I think to many people in the market for $500+ GPUs, it's a nice feature that can help you decide if you are on the fence one way or another, but not a key selling point.

For anyone who really cares about those things, though - absolutely the 680 should be their purchase.
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April 27, 2012 7:11:27 PM

BigMack70 said:
You should browse through a review like this:
http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/gpu_displays/nvidia_...

7970 OC beats a stock 680 in nearly all tests, and yields similar performance to a 680 OC.

Nice:)  Now I remember I got sight of this review a while ago.

Interesting, that in all of the DX9 and DX10 games tested, 7970 is a clear winner, even in stock-for-stock comparison. However, in DX11 games, which is still pretty fresh tech, the story is different. I wonder, what if after a few driver updates and releases of more optimized DX11 games, 7970 could be, perhaps, ahead of 680 GTX later on?
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April 27, 2012 8:58:41 PM

matto17secs, as I said at the beginning of the thread, those are things I don't care about, so I'd be happy to get a 7970 and have those aspects be slightly worse as a result.

BigMack70, that's an awesome review. I didn't see it in the result when I searched for "7970 vs 680 review." I'm assuming from comments above that not many other reviews show the same results, favoring the 7970 to such a level.

That was the first review I've read in ages on that site. Forgot about it. Do you frequent it? It was quite thorough and the only thing I didn't really like was the graph just for 'highest FPS.'

I agree with the point about the 7970 not being much worse than the 680 with reference to the above aspects. It's also a very efficient card. I wonder how many people are concerned about those things though. Excessive noise and heat I can understand, I'd hate to have something that sounds like a jet next to my ear whilst melting my arm away during my gaming, but how many people bother about how much power the card uses? If you're buying a 680 or 7970, your PCs gonna be able to supply more than the necessary power to use them.

Veirtimid, to answer your earlier question, I haven't actually thought about the 690 at all, but I think I should consider it. My reason is that there hasn't been much talk about it (in terms of actual facts) and Nvidia still hasn't said when it's going to be released, which annoys me. They do that all the time. It'd be so much easier for me to plan PC upgrades if I knew the release dates of all the hardware. If it's a case of them not knowing, then that's acceptable. Still annoying, but acceptable.

I doubt the 690's gonna have as big of a gap between itself and the 590 as the 680 and 580 do when looking at all the factors I never waste time on, such as price, heat, noise and power usage.

It'd be ******* amazing if the 7970 pulled ahead of the 680 because of drivers. If that does happen, hopefully it'll be soon, so that I can see the benefits in the games I'm constantly playing as opposed to finishing more before it does.

Has that been the case with any AMD GPUs in the past? If not overtaking their Nvidia competitors, at least improving substantially after time. If that's a possibility, then I'll be even more partial to getting a 7970.
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April 27, 2012 9:11:49 PM

That OC3D review is one of very few that puts the overclocked results side by side of the cards for more than one game. A lot of sites that look at overclocked performance just look at the overclock vs reference score and don't add it in to the performance chart, OR they only pick one game to test overclocking in. Both approaches are unhelpful in a scenario where so much of a card's value is in its overclocking headroom.

I started going to the reviews on OC3D when I was looking for power supply reviews a few months ago and just liked it - I like their in depth video reviews and I like that they cater reviews more to the enthusiast crowd than most sites do.

I also think they have the best GPU review methodology out there for gauging performance of one card vs another, if you care about overclocking (techpowerup is best if you don't care about overclocking).

I imagine both the 680 and 7970 will improve with driver updates, so I don't think their relative positioning will change.
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