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Need a new card, ~$550 budget

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
June 24, 2012 3:23:49 AM

Hello, everyone!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a month or so.

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, game development, video watching

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: A GTX 295 and a Corsair 750W power supply.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: i7 860 CPU (no unlocked multipler), 8GB RAM, motherboard does NOT support SLI/XFire.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Wherever it's cheap including shipping to Sweden.



OVERCLOCKING: Whatever it takes, but low noise is preferred.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 and no sign of an upgrade anytime soon.

Update triggered by the lack of DX11 support and VRAM of my GTX 295, which I want for my homemade games. I've been suffering a lot from micro-stuttering in a few games, so I'd like to avoid a multi-GPU card this time (also mobo does not support multiple cards).

Games (worth noting) I will be playing are BF3, Crysis 2, Metro 2033/2034 and Stalker: CoP.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, I am an anti-aliasing freak. I can easily see the difference between 8xMSAA, 8xSSAA and even higher combined modes. I spend hours configuring graphics settings and forcing anti-aliasing with Nvidia Inspector trying to get the best image quality while maintaining 60 FPS minimum (at least for online games). Therefore, performance WITH antialiasing far outweighs performance without. Basically, I want to max the above 4 games with 4xMSAA at around 70-80 average FPS.

VRAM is also somewhat important, since the 896MBs I have on my GTX 295 just isn't enough. Got horrible stuttering/freezes in Starcraft 2 with 4xMSAA due to running out of it even though performance was well above 70 FPS, and I've also killed it by running a Playstation 2 emulator at 3840x2160 with 4xMSAA, again before the GPU actually bottlenecked.

Considering my pretty large budget, it all comes down to either a GTX 680 or a HD 7970. The following are the pros and cons I see in these cards in no particular order.

Pro Nvidia:
- Nvidia Inspector: profiles, combined AA modes, SGSSAA, OGSSAA which works with any game
- Perfect BF3 Ultra performance at my resolution
- Wins but barely in Crysis 2 ultra
- Has extra features I want to check out with my own programming (bindless textures, )
- Very good acoustics
- Dynamic V-sync
- TXAA (= somewhat future-proof)
- Pretty quiet, so overclocking is more acceptable

Con Nvidia:
- "Only" 2GB VRAM
- Lower memory bandwidth might limit MSAA/SSAA performance
- Loses hard in Metro 2033 (and most likely 2034) with 4xMSAA (10 FPS loss)
- Where the hell IS TXAA?! Update your stupid developer site, Nvidia!

Pro AMD:
- Awesome Metro 2033 performance
- Overclocks well
- Better compute performance
- 3GB memory
- Much better bandwidth
- GPU compute advantage

Con AMD:
- Having no tweakable game profiles makes it a hell setting up everything before starting a game
- Sometimes buggy OpenGL drivers (that's what I use for my own games, but it might be fixed by now)
- Generally somewhat unreliable drivers (a boost from drivers 6 months after launch? Not too reassuring...)
- Performs a little worse in BF3
- Pretty loud, even worse when overclocking

In short: Nvidia wins feature-wise, while AMD wins in raw stats (memory, bandwidth, overclocking).

What complicates it all even further is that I will probably get a factory overclocked card, and I might also do some overclocking myself. Currently I'm leaning towards Nvidia and I plan on going with this card:


I believe the overclock might just push all the GTX 680's weak games into acceptable frame rates, but it's so difficult to judge. Is there anything I've overlooked? I honestly don't know much about AMD cards nowadays...

More about : card 550 budget

a c 99 U Graphics card
June 24, 2012 3:38:15 AM

That's probably the best card out of all the GTX 680 in regards to performance and clocks.

If you are that much of a gamer, the GTX 680 will suit your needs for quite a while.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2012 3:40:08 AM

Go with the GTX 680.
Related resources
a c 185 U Graphics card
June 24, 2012 3:58:33 AM

I would just get GTX 670 it's only 5% slower than the GTX680 which cost $100 more lol
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2012 4:00:50 AM

+1 to that ASUS GTX 680
June 24, 2012 4:52:39 AM

I was going to get a GTX 670. I was looking at the DC2T version of it at online retailers in Sweden. Turns out the most powerful GTX 680 on the planet is cheaper at Newegg than a vanilla GTX 670 in Sweden. What. The. Hell. Since I was ready to spend that kind of money anyway I just figured I could go with a GTX 680. I might have to go with a GTX 670 if the GTX 680 I want isn't available...
June 24, 2012 5:19:43 AM

If you cannot get a cheaper 670 - go for a 680.

A 670 basically matches the performance of the 680 but in the US, the 680 is priced 120 American Dollars higher.

So if somehow the choice is between a cheaper 670 or a 680, go for the 670.

But if a 680 is the lowest in price, go for the 680.

Here are some benchmarks
June 24, 2012 1:03:43 PM

I know they're pretty close, but what about the DirectCU 2 TOP version of those cards? Are they even closer?
June 24, 2012 1:56:22 PM

The DC2T version of the GTX 670 seem to be suffering from unstable clocks due to it boosting to high though, leading to red screens of death during load. I wouldn't mind buying that lottery ticket since I can just return it, but since the Swedish stores are so outrageously expensive returning the card would be a pain if the worst happened...

I mean, come on! This is from the biggest store in Sweden (something like our own Newegg I guess).

Sweden: 4390 SEK = $626.5
Newegg: $429.99

The GTX 680-DC2T-2GD5 is cheaper at $539.99 at Newegg, even if I have to pay a few bucks for shipping. The only thing that's better in the Swedish store is that they have over 40 of those GTX 670s in stock. Geez, I wonder why?

Fun fact: A GTX 680-DC2T-2GD5 in Sweden is $792.0 and out of stock everywhere. Lol.

Basically, since I was planning on spending the money for a GTX 670 in Sweden before I discovered what a ******* ripoff it was, I might as well save $150 and get an identical card OR save $50 and get the GTX 680. Jesus, my spawn point sucks at times. -___-'
a c 99 U Graphics card
June 24, 2012 8:38:51 PM

No worries, you'll get a great card :)