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Looking for quality single card solution

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
July 28, 2012 7:59:05 AM

First the "basics" on what I'm dealing with.

BUDGET RANGE: As much as it takes - prefer staying under $400 but I'll go higher if needed.

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming - From Skyrm through older Splinter Cell's and Prototype 2 around to EVE online.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Radeon HiS 6870 - failing on me right now. 800w Power supply.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: i7-960 CPU - water cooled system, excellent cooling from the box - 4 silent fans in it.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: any - newegg works.

PARTS PREFERENCES: any - I've had NVidia and AMD based - I don't like the transcoder "cmd" loader for my current AMD - it seems to take a bit to load and strikes me as hokey.

OVERCLOCKING: No. Factory settings - let the kids play with that stuff.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No - single card solution preferred - if needed I'd go this route but it shouldn't be needed.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1080p (1920x1080)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I like the top-end look for what I play
- AA... I can't really tell the difference above 4x usually so I don't tend to set it beyond there.
- FPS... Reliability with the performance is key for me and I don't pay attention to frame-rates once it's smooth - No, I don't find 120 FPS to be better than 35 as long as it looks smooth when moving around so I don't care about "bigger numbers".
- Heat? Not worried about it - the system I have could handle high-heat and the power supply is solid and able to push pretty much any card setup.

Performance being a major consideration but in quality rendering (shadows, textures, etc.) If it's smooth moving with excellent rendering - that's what counts for me. (I don't recall seeing any reviews -ever- that show the degradation rates in major multi-player battles yet I recall being in fights over 2 years ago where my previous card went from about 35-45 FPS to 18 while others bragging about 100+ FPS went to single digits. That's why some want more FPS -- so it won't bog down like that)

My current card... The driver has been seizing up sporadically and has required a full restart of the computer by hitting the power button - not good for windows 7 systems being as it can cause file corruption issues. The card is a little over a year old but has rendered pretty much everything decently for me - rarely requiring any lowered settings for good performance but I have seen some oddities with the graphics from time to time so, with this replacement, I'm hoping they'll clear up (shadows not rendering correctly, bushes/trees "flickering", etc.)

The latest review isn't very helpful - no recommendations at the resolution I'm using and looking at individual card reviews show odd issues with some that are recommended at that 1920x1200 - which has shown to perform differently than 1080p (This is a standard that will be with us through the end of this decade due to it's interchangeability across output mediums - it's why I avoided any "odd" setups like 1920 -- TV's on around support and/or convert 1080p extremely well and I like that)

I'm not biased towards nor against any of the video card types but when I read review comments like: (at the bottom of the review "update")

I get a bit nervous about purchasing a card like that. Nowhere did I find comments about these issues being fixed (though it appears the 7850 had problems the 7870 didn't -- it would be nice to see if these issues are fixed *BEFORE* it's put in a "recommended" review.)

I also find things like "5 fans on the card!" to show that this is an extremely hot running card and probably something so bulky as to take up large amounts of space and quite probably require braces to be mounted in the case to keep it seated correctly.

Again, I'm looking for solid performance and reliability. Hopefully I'm clear enough with the above.

More about : quality single card solution

a b U Graphics card
July 28, 2012 8:05:22 AM

If you want an Nvidia GPU, the EVGA GTX 670 FTW is my GPU of choice, it even beats a GTX 680 in most games out the box. It uses the GTX 680 PCB, has 8 phase VRM for better OC then even a reference GTX 680, it's binned to. I have this card and can play BF3 maxed out (max AA and such too.) at 1080p with constant 60+ FPS with VSYNC on even during intense explosions and such during 64 player matches. EVGA has the best customer service out of all major brands too.

If you prefer AMD, the HD 7970 is not a bad choice either and is great at OC but cost a bit more too.
July 29, 2012 9:48:25 AM

Thank you very much for pointing this card out.

I checked out problem reports and such about the card (found the recall on a batch a couple months ago) and it looks like a solid choice.

A bit over $400 but I can live with that.