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For long life and price value which of the GPUs would you get?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 17, 2012 3:01:11 AM

Looking for the best bang for the bucks and long lasting (meaning won't have to buy a new card till a long time). My original Video card the HD5450 has served my needs well and still works but this was before I discovered the joys of computer gaming (used my computer for DVD video watching, word documents, picture viewing and editing and other tasks that I only needed a cheap video card to fulfill my needs. However a friend who is big on computer gaming got me hooked and interested. Plus considered buying and installing a Blu-ray burner to watch and burn blu-rays and updating my current LCD monitor to LED so I may have a richer picture later (currently the monitor I have is fine and might be pushed to a much later date in considering updating and instead think about updating my old sound card and speakers though they too seem to be fairing very well so the video card upgrade to be able to play games at ultra settings vs poor settings might be my latest and only upgrade in the near future as i need to be careful with spending right now). I make very little money and save alot. I was originally planing on $200 for my budget for the video card but was told to really get the best bang for my bucks and longevity so i don't have to upgrade my card again for a very long time I should higher my budget so I waited much longer to have the funds to do so with a new budget of $400.

I have the 2600K I7 Intel processor and for my motherboard I have the P8Z68 Deluxe (non gen3 version thus that and maybe my processor in the future might bottleneck me and I might have to upgrade them but hopefully that won't be happening till a long time. If I do have to upgrade both of them in the hopefully far future I hope the upgraded interface will help make the chosen card(s) be more effective in the very long haul of time using of the PCI Express 3.0 x16 to full advantage). I hope to be able to play all the recent games in Ultra settings yet remain effective for near future games coming out. Most of all I hope to gain the "best bang for the bucks" as I'm cash strapped and need to be very careful with purchases of any kind (I hope to slowly improve my build one part at a time though also the time periods be far off in the process and while I wait to have the proper funds to make each part successful I can read and ask questions during the research process of this endeavor).

Some cards are equal to or under $400 that has caught my eyes among the many (not considering the free games some might be offered with unless it's a game that has my interested). Here is the list and based on price and performance what is your thoughts:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (HD 7950) $369.99 (GIGABYTE GV-R795WF3-3GD with good reviews and three fans and I know proper cooling is very important)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (HD 7950) $359.99 + temporary 10% off code + $20 mail rebate makes this XFX a nice deal but the reviews are not as strong as the card above or the ones below)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $399.99 (GTX 670) (Gigabyte with 3 fans and good reviews)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99 + BF3 game (HD 6950) (Would two of these in Crossfire which will be $400 be equal or be better than the other single card $400 offerings or less plus best bang for the bucks and longevity? I read that single GPU are usually better then crossfire/SLI configurations for longevity reasons and that sometimes such things can cause problems for systems and the cards)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $409.99 (670) (this is slightly $10 above my budget but is the extra worth it? MSI I read is considered to be a reliable company and the card has great reviews)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $419.99 (670) (this is slightly $20 above my budget but is the extra worth it? EVGA and amazing reviews and boost clock 1084Mhz)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($270 plus 15% off code) (570 Fermi)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (was $275 plus 15% off code) Offer is gone now but I still like to know how good of a deal it might of been for future reference (570 Fermi)

Any thoughts/help would be appreciated.

More about : long life price gpus

a b U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 3:04:48 AM

Dont base anything off of customer reviews on NewEgg. Most are not very knowledgeable. The XFX brand is good and that card is a monster for the price.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 3:14:29 AM

The 670 is faster than the 7950 when both are at stock, so you'll need to make use of the 7950's far greater overclocking headroom to get proper value out of it. Don't start off with a dual GPU setup yet, especially with previous generation video cards. The 6950 2GB is a great card for doing this, but it would not be better than getting the 7950 or GTX 670 and overclocking them.
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a c 280 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 3:31:12 AM

I presume you have an adequate PSU for making the move from the HD 5450?
I normally favor Nvidia over AMD only because their drivers seem to be a bit more mature. But AMD cards are equally as powerful. They usually leap-frog each other in holding the 'king of the hill' status for awhile. One thing; I would stay away from Xfire with mid-range cards. Micro-stutter may rear it's ugly head. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut... The HD 6950 is a bit more than mid-range, but still close enough to be of concern. I'm leaning towards one of the GTX 670s.

So far, my 2 x GTX 570s haven't had any problems in that regard. But when I had 2 x HD 6850s, micro-stutter was occasionally an issue.

Btw, with that processor, board, and any of those better cards, you will not have to worry about obsolescence in gaming for quite awhile. Normally I would ask what resolution you game at. But that won't be an issue with your system unless you plan on using multi hi-rez monitors.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 3:38:29 AM

clutchc said:
I presume you have an adequate PSU for making the move from the HD 5450?
I normally favor Nvidia over AMD only because their drivers seem to be a bit more mature. But AMD cards are equally as powerful. They usually leap-frog each other in holding the 'king of the hill' status for awhile. One thing; I would stay away from Xfire with mid-range cards. Micro-stutter may rear it's ugly head. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut... The HD 6950 is a bit more than mid-range, but still close enough to be of concern. I'm leaning towards one of the GTX 670s.

So far, my 2 x GTX 570s haven't had any problems in that regard. But when I had 2 x HD 6850s, micro-stutter was occasionally an issue.

Btw, with that processor, board, and any of those better cards, you will not have to worry about obsolescence in gaming for quite awhile. Normally I would ask what resolution you game at. But that won't be an issue with your system unless you plan on using multi hi-rez monitors.


The 6950's VLIW4 GPU is far better at CF than the VLIW5 GPU of the 6800 and older cards. It is excellent in CF and 6950CF is on-par with GTX 570 SLI in both performance and micro-stutter due to it's extreme optimization for CF.

However, I still don't recommend it. If OP already had a 6950 2GB and wanted to know if adding a second one was a good idea, then it would be considerable. As this is not the case, I do not recommend it. Overclocking a 7950 or 670 would be the better option right now.
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a c 280 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 3:48:56 AM

blazorthon said:
The 6950's VLIW4 GPU is far better at CF than the VLIW5 GPU of the 6800 and older cards. It is excellent in CF and 6950CF is on-par with GTX 570 SLI in both performance and micro-stutter due to it's extreme optimization for CF.

However, I still don't recommend it. If OP already had a 6950 2GB and wanted to know if adding a second one was a good idea, then it would be considerable. As this is not the case, I do not recommend it. Overclocking a 7950 or 670 would be the better option right now.

I forgot about that! The HD 6800 series used the 5-way VLIW architecture, didn't it? Good point.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 4:14:24 AM

clutchc said:
I forgot about that! The HD 6800 series used the 5-way VLIW architecture, didn't it? Good point.


Exactly. Each core in VLIW5 has 5 ALUs and each core in VLIW4 has 4 ALUs that are used much more efficiently for gaming, although it was a small step back in compute performance which could make decent use of the 5th ALU. As of right now, only two consumer GPUs use the VLIW4 architecture... The Cayman used in the Radeon 6990, 6970, 6950, and 6930 (not a common card outside of Asia) and the devastator GPU used in Trinity. Everything else from the Radeon 5000 and 6000 families (also every card from the Radeon 7000 family below the 7700 series) uses VLIW5.
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a c 280 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 4:22:36 AM

blazorthon said:
Exactly. Each core in VLIW5 has 5 ALUs and each core in VLIW4 has 4 ALUs that are used much more efficiently for gaming, although it was a small step back in compute performance which could make decent use of the 5th ALU. As of right now, only two consumer GPUs use the VLIW4 architecture... The Cayman used in the Radeon 6990, 6970, 6950, and 6930 (not a common card outside of Asia) and the devastator GPU used in Trinity. Everything else from the Radeon 5000 and 6000 families (also every card from the Radeon 7000 family below the 7700 series) uses VLIW5.

Will the Trinity mobile APU also use the newer architecture? I've been patiently waiting to replace my laptop with a Trinity with dual graphics if they ever hit the shelves.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 5:04:59 AM

clutchc said:
Will the Trinity mobile APU also use the newer architecture? I've been patiently waiting to replace my laptop with a Trinity with dual graphics if they ever hit the shelves.


Trinity uses VLIW4. To be more accurate, Trinity uses a 32nm die shrink of VLIW4. It's not 28nm GCN, but it's much better than VLIW5 for gaming. Both mobile and desktop Trinity use this.
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June 17, 2012 1:58:14 PM

So far it seems that based on the few comments I should stick to either one of the 7950 or 670 cards for my pick and for the 7950 selections the XFX card due to the very nice temporary sale price of around $305 (I do admit the price is spectacular and I might of jumped on it now if the mixed reviews and comments of the card didn't worry me as it can either be spectacular or die fast on me and have problems with the drivers and in terms of long term that would go against in what I'm looking for and wished it came from reliable known companies such as MSI or EVGA). It's right now my top considerations but I hope to read more comments soon about the cards and which one from the list (or if anybody knows of a better card not on the list that would fit my goals even if it's a few bucks higher from my budget I'll love to hear them) would you buy and why.
Those that wrote to go for either of the 7950 or 670 seems to lean towards the 670 cards (though no one card from the 670 list seems to stand out in the pick) but admits that overclocking the 7950 will get it to the same level and beyond the 670 but would that mean if I overclock the 670 it will surpass a overclocked 7950 or is the 7950 better in terms of overclocking (as I wrote I hope for long term reliability so I might not start out overclocking if I feel I don't need to and overclock once the games and videos demand it of such as I don't want to stress out and destroy my card as I want it to be around for a long time making the value more than worth while). Also which plays and edits blu-rays better if any?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 2:15:55 PM

The 7950 has far more overclocking headroom over stock than any GTX 670 does. Overclocking the 670 is a little less effective due to its memory bandwidth bottle-neck and it has less headroom. The 7950 is actually often very slightly ahead of the 7979 in overclocking performance if you know what you're doing due to the scaling of increasing core count having diminishing returns and the 7950 and 7970 are where the diminishing returns can turn around which card overclocks better because they get so bad. The 7970, at stock, is only faster than the 7950 because it simply has a higher default clock frequency, not because it as more cores and such.

Between the 7950 and the 670, I prefer the 7950, but I do some more professional work where the 7950 can be between 40% and more than 6 times faster than the GTX 670 while still meeting the 670 in overclocking performance. The 7950 and 670 are fairly on-par once overclocked and depending on the individual model, either one can pull ahead of the other (but not noticeably). They would trade blows depending on the game, but the 7950's losses would be more minor than the 670s losses because the 670 would lose greatly in memory bandwidth heavy games whereas the 7950 would only lose somewhat in games that prefer Nvidia's cards.

Both overclocked are still very reliable. You tend to not run into any reliability problems at all so long as you don't overvolt the cards much. However, each card can be different, even with the same model. For example, maybe whatever card that you buy has its cooler seated improperly, so it can't overclock well until you clean, reapply thermal paste, and re-seat the cooler. However, this can happen with both GTX 670s and with Radeon 7950s, despite it being rare. Normally, if an overclock causes problems despite being reasonable, it is because the card is faulty and it would have failed soon anyway. Remember, the 7950 has the same Tahiti GPU as the 7970 and it can take much more punishment than it is getting at stock, even in the 7970. I'll look at some models for both the 7950 and the 670 to see what should be the best for your computer.
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a c 280 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 2:58:43 PM

@blazorthon: You obviously know from whence you speak when it comes to hardware. When it comes to the software, how do you feel about the difference in present and future driver maturity between AMD and Nvidia?
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a c 230 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 3:28:28 PM

None of the above......the Asus 670 TOP ....well..... "tops" any card on the list

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite: Hard Reset, COD-MW2, Far Cry 2, ANNO 1404, Metro 2033, ANNO 2070, BFBC2, BF3, Crysis 2, AvP, Lost Planet 2. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

Card - Cost ( Single / 2-way SLI /CF ) $ / Frame - $ / Frame SLI/CF
GTX 680 - $ 500 ( 989 / 1578 ) $ 0.51 - $ 0.63
680 DCII Cu TOP - $ 520 ( 1077 / NA ) $ 0.48 - ERR
GTX 670 - $ 400 ( 917 / 1539 ) $ 0.44 - $ 0.52
670 DCII Cu TOP - $ 430 ( 999 / 1679 ) $ 0.43 - $ 0.51
7970 - $ 480 ( 872 / NA ) $ 0.55 - ERR
7970 DCII Cu - $ 580 ( 924 / NA ) $ 0.63 - ERR
7950 - $ 400 ( 746 / NA ) $ 0.54 - ERR
7870 - $ 360 ( 701 / NA ) $ 0.51 - ERR
7850 - $ 260 ( 596 / NA ) $ 0.44 - ERR
7770 - $ 150 ( 375 / NA ) $ 0.40 - ERR
7750 - $ 110 ( 291 / NA ) $ 0.38 - ERR

In the table above for example, the Asus 670 Cu DCII TOP costs $430 each and gets 999 fps in single card configuration at a cost of $0.43 per frame and 1679 in SLI at a cost of $0.51 per frame. The AMD cards w/ NA did not complete all games in the test suite. This should be resolved in an upcoming driver fix. The nVidia card w/ NA was not tested in SLI.

At that $0.43 per frame, it provides the "best bang for the buck" over $150

http://www.guru3d.com/article/evga-geforce-gtx-670-sc-r...
EVGA SC Boost Clock is 1046 outta the box....stable at 1200 Mhz
EVGA SC gets 3DMark Score of 8691 outta the box and 9443 OC'd
Idle temp is 29C / load temp is 78C
Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 43 dBA under load

http://www.guru3d.com/article/asus-geforce-gtx-670-dire...
Asus TOP Boost Clock is 1137 outta the box .... stable at 1280 Mhz
Asus gets 3DMark Score of 9340 outta the box and 9839 OC'd
Idle temp is 30C / load temp is 72C
Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 38 dBA under load

http://www.guru3d.com/article/asus-radeon-hd-7970-direc...
Asus 7970 TOP Core Clock: is 1000 MHz outta the box, stable at 1250 MHz
Asus 7950 gets 3DMark Score of 8280 outta the box and 9680 OC'd
Idle temp is 32C / load temp is 69C (before OC)
Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 39 dBA under load

That makes the Asus 7% faster outta the box than the EVGA SC, 6C cooler and almost 1/4 as loud under load (every 3 dBA is a doubling of sound level). The FTW is slightly faster than the SC, leaving the Asus model w/ just a 5% performance advantage.

Despite popular rumor, the 7970's OC headroom does not quite bring it up to the 670. The 670 TOP "tops" the 7970 TOP by a 3D mark 11 score of 9839 to 9680. The 7950 OC doesn't have a shot at approaching 7970 OC speeds. Here you see a factory OC'd 7950 OC'd to max stable settings and it garnered only a 9017 3D Mark score
http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-radeon-hd-7950-twin-f...

Keep in mind that nvidia pulled a lot of the workstation performance outta "little kepler" to concentrate on gaming performance. I don't see anythng like that on ya list but if it is, that would be a reason to go AMD. Largeer screen resolutions than 1920 x 1200 also shrink and oft eliminate the gap and even take the lead at 2560 x 1700

Both have had driver issues.....to be expected actually every time new game comes out. nVidia is much quicker to the gate but when talking SLI / CF the gap widens greatly.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 3:34:34 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
None of the above......the Asus 670 TOP ....well..... "tops" any card on the list
...



You like to throw numbers around, but you don't seem to know what you're talking about if you think that the 7970 can beat the 7950 in overclocking and you've obviously never seen a 7970 or 7950 pushed to their reasonable safe limits with Catalyst 12.6. You also don't seem to have much experience at all with Catalyst 12.6. I notice how you like to use outdated and incomplete benchmark numbers to prove your point and I'm left having to say this every time. I don't mean to be rude, but you are not looking at the whole capabilities of any of these cards, including the GTX 670.
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a c 230 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 3:38:27 PM

Simple to win ya argument ....show us published results with non-reference cards with a properly designed VRM and identical coolers across a wide range of tests. By my math 9017 is smaller than 9839 or 9680. Using a reference 7970 and a non-refence 7950 won't count.

And in ya response, it's not necessary to copy 10 paragraphs ....a sentence or two of ya issue will suffice.

This basically sums up the 670's position in the market

http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/129276-geforce-gtx-67...
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a c 264 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 3:58:11 PM

Of the cards listed, I would pick the EVGA GTX670 FTW http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1) EVGA is a good company with us support. Check their web site.
2) The newer 28nm based cards are more efficient. They require less power, and generate less heat.
3) For long term life, buy the strongest card you are willing to pay for.
4) I like the direct exhaust reference cooler. It gets the hot air directly out of the case. Other type coolers are good at cooling the graphics card in an open test bed, but in a case, they heat up the cpu and the gpu cooling air.

Value is something only YOU can determine. I have found that I rarely regret paying more for the best.
A bargain price is sweet for a short time only.
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June 17, 2012 4:00:44 PM

FWIW--I just got a 7950, the XFX for $304 you mentioned. I have previously bought 4-5 XFX cards and had very good luck with them. Especially during the double-lifetime warranty days. Those suckers went for a premium on Ebay. That said, a friend of mine had a terrible time with an XFX card and their RMA process.

Honestly, I think you will do well with any card on your list. Go for the newest possible, however. The 6950s were great, but there is a reason they are so cheap now; they are obsolete. Especially when there is a new die shrink, you should get the newest generation.
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a b U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 4:11:47 PM

GTX...670 gets my VOTE!
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a c 87 U Graphics card
June 17, 2012 4:21:17 PM

clutchc said:
@blazorthon: You obviously know from whence you speak when it comes to hardware. When it comes to the software, how do you feel about the difference in present and future driver maturity between AMD and Nvidia?


Nvidia's been a little hit or miss lately. Up until AMD released Catalyst 12.6, they were having problems too, but I sill haven't heard of 12.6 having problems, although I still look around occasionally. Nvidia planned fixes this month, so they might have been released without me paying enough attention, but I don't think that they have been yet. Nvidia will probably solve their problems by the end of the month if they haven't already. These problems include some people experiencing unusually high stuttering problems (even in single GPU configurations), extremely aggressive throttling even when temps aren't high, and one or two other minor issues. Nvidia addressed the first of these a month or two ago and there was a Tom's article dedicated to Nvidia's response, so you can look it up if you want to read into it more.

@OP
The 7950, when overclocked, can trade blows with an overclocked 670. However, since this is gaming performance here, the 670 is considerably more power efficient for gaming and could be a somewhat better choice... However again, the Catalyst 12.6 driver seems to be considerably superior to Nvidia's current drivers in consistency of both apparently zero major bugs and performance. If Nvidia fixes this, then the GTX 670 is most likely the better choice for you, unless you play games that are particularly memory bandwidth intensive, such as Metro 2033, where the GTX 670's severe memory bandwidth bottle-neck makes it perform only a little better than the GTX 580 (which just happens to have nearly identical memory bandwidth).

So, if you can wait for Nvidia's new drivers (I'll have to check, but I don't think that they're out yet), then we can see if Nvidia carried out on their promise to fix their problems (I think that they will, Nvidia is usually good about fixing driver problems when they come up). If they did, then unless you play one or more memory bandwidth heavy games, then I can recommend the GTX 670 that was suggested by JackNaylor, although I would prefer a GTX 670 4GB strictly to have more future-proofed memory capacity. My two problems with Kepler cards such as the GTX 670 are purely their compute performance (SP is decent, DP on them sucks very badly) and their low memory bandwidth. Their memory capacity is also not very future-proofed on the non 4GB cards, but its probably not going to be a problem, although it is something to consider.

Basically: If you can wait for reviews of Nvidia's new drivers or at least for info on them to surface in reputable forums, then that would be the best idea. If you play memory bandwidth intensive games (most are not, but they do make up a significant minority), then get the 7950 and OC it. We'd have to make sure that it is a proper model, but it would be the better way to go. If you don't play such games, then I'd recommend getting the GTX 670 after it has fixed drivers. Even if you get it now, you might not have problems. Not everyone does. However, I've helped far too many people reporting problems on Tom's alone (let alone other places) to ignore the problems. I've also known some people who don't have problems and there are many people that don't. Like I said, with current drivers, it's hit or miss and I'm not entirely sure of the circumstances that cause the problems.
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June 18, 2012 4:03:42 AM

Thank you everybody. Here how it stands right now based on the comments I been reading:

The 7950 has more memory with 3GB which will help with memory bandwidth intensive games (not sure if that will be important for me in the future) and can overclock slightly better then the 670 and compete with the stock 7970 if OC. It also has a good driver with the Catalyst 12.6. For the 7950 the XFX card seems to have the two votes thus the 7950s that one seems to be the pick due to the great price it has temporary has however 1/3 owners seems to has problems with them based on reviews and that has me off about it http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For the 670 majority seems to lean that way due to the history of the NVIDIA in gaming and power efficiency. Being more powerful in stock and while not as strong in OCing as the 7950 it can still be OC and thus still be a step ahead for some cards. I wrote that I hope not to OC at first as I don't want to stress, heat up, and shorten the life of the card in the process so the 670 seems like a top pick for that end. The top cards that was voted for was the EVGA http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... due to the stroung reasons by geofelt. Another card that while goes over my budget by $30 is the ASUS card recommended by JackNaylor and also recommended by Blazorthon with good reasons and shown their work. I think this is the ASUS card they pick but not sure: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... however the mixed reviews for this card again has me off from settling for it.
However the 670 currently has iffy drivers which might be solved in the near future hopefully. Also "Their memory capacity is also not very future-proofed on the non 4GB cards, but its probably not going to be a problem, although it is something to consider." And since I hope to future proof the best i can that has me worried. I found this 670 card that has 4GB of memory from EVGA http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... but is also $84 higher then my budget and I'm not sure if it is worth it (plus close to this 7970 card : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) .
The deal for the XFX 7950 card end soon so I like to hear some more thoughts that might help me. If I wait for the possible update drivers and/or more memory given to the Nvidia cards (which might happen as a way for Nvidia to further provide improvements and competition against AMD) I'll miss the deal on the XFX card (but hopefully another spectacular deal might come up in the near future should I make my choice towards the 7950 series (or a similar or better card)).
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a c 87 U Graphics card
June 18, 2012 7:44:03 PM

Don't worry about shortening the life-time of the 7950, it can take a large overclock without problems unless it is a faulty card that would have failed even without a large overclock.

7950 pros:
Similar performance (can be higher, but generally not noticeably so) when overclocked highly, currently better somewhat driver support (although Nvidia's problems don't always affect all Nvidia card owners and are expected to be solved soon), more VRAM capacity and bandwidth without needing to pay more money than regular pricing, more consistent performance across a wider variety of games, far superior compute performance (some future games are expected to make much more extensive use of compute than most current games do), superior tessellation efficiency (the 7950 loses less performance when you activate tessellation), and gets faster relative to the 670 as you increase the load (increase resolution, AA, AF, other settings, etc. etc.).

670 pros:
somewhat lower power usage, somewhat lower heat generation, sometimes somewhat better performance at lower workloads (IE 7950 is better for higher workloads whereas the 670 is generally better in lower workloads with very high frame rates, IE 7950 likes high frame rates with very high picture quality whereas the 670 likes very high frame rates with high picture quality), generally smaller cards, and increasingly less importantly, CUDA and PhysX support that AMD lacks because these are proprietary formats owned by Nvidia. The 670 also doesn't need anywhere near as much of an overclock to be used to its full potential and is thus arguably a much more user-friendly card.

Overall, I prefer the 7950 because it not only comes with the $100 three free games voucher, but also has 50% more VRAM at about the same price (often times even cheaper nowadays). If, like some people have suggested, the 7950's price will drop even further when Nvidia launches the GTX 660, the 7950's overclocking value would then increase even if it's not still on sale.

However, the 670 can also be a great card, just not really as future-proofed IMO and if given an option between a Nvidia card and a cheaper AMD card that performs similarly while having a large VRAM advantage in addition to other advantages, well, I don't mind doing a little extra work to get more out of less money than I would have spent on the 670. Not everyone is as willing to do the extra work that the overclocking would take. I brought up the 670 4GB for this reason... It at least knocks off one of the 7950's main advantages, VRAM capacity. However, it is then much more expensive... Trade-offs are an inevitable aspect of building computers. Some people will prefer the 670. I'll not pretend that it doesn't have advantages of its own, such as what I listed. Maybe you would prefer it. The power usage difference is considerable and does alleviate the up-front cost difference a little over the years.

Either way, you'll get a great card. What compromises that you want to make is up to you because either way, there are compromises.
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a c 280 U Graphics card
June 18, 2012 8:31:25 PM

I remember when the 3dfx voodoo 3 was a hot item. Dang, how tech has changed, huh?
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June 19, 2012 1:40:37 PM

The XFX card sold out yesterday so that option is now out the door (but still if the 660 cards does lower the price of the 7950 cards that type of price deal or maybe even lower might show up again and this with a company I can be more confident with).

Taking into account the pros and cons:
7950:
higher VRAM capacity and bandwidth, superior compute performance, and if put in the work the card can be faster than the 670 when overclocked (but not noticeably).

670: less power consumption which will save myself money with time (this is very important to me as I wrote I'm not rich and have to save the best I can), less heat (this again is very important to me as I know that heat is a lead cause of hardware failure and I want my card to last very long plus not endanger other components with possible heat build up).

Is there any news of possibility of the 670 cards lowering in price like the 7950 cards?

Right now the only things that has me looking towards the 7950 is the: higher VRAM capacity, bandwidth, and superior compute performance which all would help future proof the computer a bit more then the 670's. The upfront costs should have the two cards equal out in time.

670's have: less power usage and less heat (both very important to me), less work to maximize it's potential (which I do put work into any hardware I install but should I every have to reinstall windows due to a Black screen of Death or BSOD it's nice to know that handling the video card would be one less problem for myself), and is a very powerful card with also a company that many seems to be standing behind with.

For blu-rays playing and burning both seem equal. For 3D gaming it's based more on the game as one cards does well and the other doesn't but it's random but also I don't care so much about 3D unless I ever own a 3D plasma or monitor that would make the most of it and I feel that is a long way from now and it's unknown if 3D gaming and movie will fade out or be better supported and used in games and movies.

With the XFX 7950 card now out of the picture I can wait a little longer. I'm currently leaning towards the 670's cards the most but I'm also waiting to see if any notable hardware updates (like more RAM capacity and bandwidth) and seeing if any great sale or lower price drops on the recommended cards on the list such as these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... but both seems to have hit or miss reviews as the cards either work fantastically or crash and burn from the start thus both are a lottery of luck if they will work or not and I had handled one time a RMA process before and it was costly and troublesome and would prefer to the best I can to NOT go though that again for a long time so I'll wait to see if the companies fixes whatever the problems that hold them back might be and also if they will lower in price as well. For 4GB of ram http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... however that card is closer in price range to the 7970 series then and I wonder if it's then just better to own a 7970 series card thus I'll wait and see if the 4GB ram 670 card lowers in price (like to or close to 400 if possible).

Thank you everybody for you thoughts and insight! I'll continue to research and read the reviews, topics, and news/forums on the graphics cards. Not in a rush to buy just want to make sure of what I'm buying is the best suited for myself and my financial hopes.
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June 19, 2012 3:37:25 PM

Another question I just thought of. If I do buy one of these cards (the 7950 or 670) and like I hope the card of choice does last a VERY long time and can play and handle vast amount of future games, editing software, and apps with great settings and speed but come the FAR future it becomes outdated and underpowered in performance and speed/benchmarks and are vastly cheaper (150 bucks or much lower) and I'm deciding one buying another for SLI or Crossfire config to update the life and power of the cards would that be recommended?
If so what starting single card to far later/future crossfire/SLI config would be best for myself and my computer setup as of present.

Here is a total computer setup I have thus far:
CPU: i7 2600K
RAM: G-Skill 16GB (4*4GB) 1600 Sniper
GPU: ASUS Radeon HD 5450
CPU Cooling: Thermalright Archon (with the one default fan that came with the cooling)
Soundcard: 2-SB Audigy
Hard Drive: A Samsung 2TB HD
SSD: 2 M4 124GB in RAID 0 = 248 GB
Case: NZXT Phantom 400
Motherboard: P8Z68 Deluxe (non gen 3 version)
Power: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850
Windows 7
DVD burner Lite On with lightscribe
Montor: Dell 2005FPW 17 inces
Speckers: Dell Speakers A525 (Zylux MultiMedia Speaker Dell 2.1 A525)
Mouse: Logitech M305
Keyboard: Dell RT7D40 (but I don't use the mouse that came with it due to hoging battiries unlike the keyboard)
A artic case fan for cooling the GPU (sucking heat out)

(plus one a side note what should I update next of my setup after (or even before if you feel it's for the best) the video card situation? I download and burn music alot so I'm thinking of updating my soundcard to a much better card and the speakers as well to match in high quality.)
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a b U Graphics card
June 19, 2012 3:42:37 PM

Not sure what you consider a long time. But that rig will be good for about 2 years, maybe 3.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
June 19, 2012 5:41:44 PM

Starting off with one card and considering SLI/Crossfire in the future is generally the recommended way of ensuring an upgrade path and is a good idea.

Any setup really lasts as long as you want it to last. At 1080p, the GTX 670 will likely last four to six years because it is very fast for 1080p gaming right now (same is true for the 7950). However, you might eventually need to lower AA or a setting or two as games get more and more intensive. If you really wanted to, you could easily make your 670/7950 last until DX11 is completely obsolete if you don't mind lowering settings significantly many years from now (but by that time, replacement would be ideal). With supreme quality, the GTX 670 should last you at least until it's time to get a new computer, probably even without SLI. The same is true for the 7950 and CF.

The GTX 670 probably won't be going down in price any time soon. It already has a low price for its stock performance and Nvidia probably won't drop it any lower. The 7950 would only drop because although it has incredible overclocking, not everyone overclocks and MSRP must be based on stock performance for reference cards, not overclocking performance for those cards. The 7950's lower stock performance means that it can undercut the 670 in price fairly easily, especially with the $100 set of three free games in consideration.

The power usage and heat difference isn't a huge deal for these cards because it's fairly close, although the 670 does pull ahead in this. For the heat, keep in mind that heat generation isn't what causes problems, inadequate cooling for the heat generation is what causes problems. Any 7950 worth buying does not have inadequate cooling and should not have heat trouble unless its cooler was installed poorly and in that case, you an re-seat it yourself fairly quickly and easily.

Unless you have a driver that keeps TRIM working in RAID 0, you can expect those two M4s to gradually slow down over one to three years until they are so slow that they might as well be dead. RAID is generally best not done on SSDs that aren't SandForce because current SandForce controllers are the only SSD controllers (to my knowledge) that can work properly without TRIM due to their excellent foreground garbage collection. Other SSDs, especially SSDs with Marvell controllers (such as the Crucial M4 drives), are generally best not used in RAID because they are far more reliant on TRIM than SandForce drives are. A single Vertex 4 with the latest firmware and NTFS compression enabled would have probably been a better solution than two M4s in RAID.
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June 20, 2012 3:21:30 AM

When I first got the two Crucial M4 drives I wanted something over 240 GB's to hold my OS and main programs and I got a fantastic deal on the two 124GB last year that was much cheaper than any 230-250 GB single SSD that was out but it was after did I learn about how SSD and Raid didn't mix. However they are still running very well and once I do need to upgrade I hope the 250 and up GB one SSD and whatever upgrades and fixes that past SSD had will be met and cheaper to buy then before.

I think I will get a 670 (just waiting now for more reviews of the new drivers plus waiting to see if one might have 4 GB of Ram and/or meets and maybe surpasses the benchmarks of the ASUS recommended one without the possible unlucky problems that might come with it and possible at the 400 or even 430 budget range vs 80+ above it).

After the video card I'm think of then concentration on a blu-ray burner (some very good ones out there for a good price so unlike the Video card I don't feel as worried of that upcoming decision) then on my soundcard and speakers then monitor, then whatever I feel necessary for my rig (new 250+GB SSD, keyboard and mouse however I like the one I have now so perhaps not unless it does break, controller (I have a Logitech usb wired RumblePad 2 that works well and I like the usb due to not needing batteries plus reliability of a wired connection that also isn't in my way at all). Some of the parts in my current rig was transferred over from my old dell XPS 400 computer that lasted some time before dying completely so some are old or not as powerful as what is out there today but still works fine and as I wrote I'm taking each step one at a time. What do others feel I should look into after my official video card decision and purchase is made?
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a c 99 U Graphics card
June 20, 2012 3:52:01 AM

In my opinion. The Gigabyte GTX 670. The cooling solution is great. Also, the only thing that can run down the life of the card is heat.
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