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GTX 480 SLi or GTX 680

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 10, 2012 11:15:53 PM

Hey there,

Currently, I have 2 GTX 480s in SLi. One I've had for 2 years, the other for a year. They have served me well, but all the hassles that come along with SLi, as well as the power consumption and heat these cards produce have been driving me up the wall, and I have been debating on an upgrade for quite some time now.

Well, recently I have come across the funds in order to get a graphics card upgrade, and I needs Tom's Hardware to help me make the decision.

A little background:
One of the 480s I have I won in a contest, the other I got for $150 a year later from a friend. So basically, I currently have an offer if I were to upgrade at $225 for both from a friend which I would use to contribute towards the new card, meaning I would be paying $275-300 out of pocket for a new GTX 680.

I want lower temps as well, as my case and my room typically run hot, especially as the cards get closer to full load. I use dual monitors at 1920x1200 and 1680x1050. Most games I play (Skyrim, BF3 and Alan Wake most recently) run well, with occasional SLi bugs every now and then. I need something future proof as well, and would plan on investing in SLi. I'm not much of an overclocker, and really I just want something to run all my games at 1920x1200 at a constant 60fps.

My main question to you all is, should I upgrade to the GTX 680 (in terms of the cost I'm paying, efficiency, performance, future proofing, etc.)?

Should I hold out for something better? Where would I see the biggest performance differences? And if I were to upgrade, 2gb or 4gb model?

More about : gtx 480 sli gtx 680

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a b U Graphics card
August 10, 2012 11:55:01 PM

I'm a little confused, do you play in Nvidia Surround? If you do, I would highly recommend the GTX680 4GB version. Otherwise, the 2GB will do you perfectly fine @ 1080p.

Also, since you said you won't be overclocking, the 680 is an excellent choice for you. The Radeon HD79xx Series of cards proved to be very well with the recent driver updates, but they only begin to shine after you overclock. Whereas the 680 will perform extremely well right out of the box.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1273746/radeon-7970-will-out...

There's an excellent post from OCN.
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a c 117 U Graphics card
August 11, 2012 12:04:14 AM

Quote:
Should I hold out for something better?

the 680 is arguably the fastest card on the planet; what would be better?

SLI 670s? yeah but if you want to dump the SLI set up; go for the 680.
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August 11, 2012 12:05:26 AM

+1 to mocchan

get the gtx680
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a c 217 U Graphics card
August 11, 2012 12:17:35 AM

A single 680 is not as fast as the 480's in SLI you currently have, but they won't have any of the drawbacks of two hot/loud cards and SLI.

Are you prepared to lose performance for this change?
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a c 170 U Graphics card
August 11, 2012 12:19:14 AM

If you don't mind a 3-slot solution, this is the card I have and spent a long, long time researching:

Asus GTX 680 Direct CU II TOP
http://usa.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/NVIDIA_Series/GTX680...

*You want the "DC2T" version, and NOT the "DC2O" version. They bin the GPU's so the "DC2T" has a GPU tested to overclock better hence the card is overclocked slightly higher (only a $10 difference when I bought my card).

I've been very happy with this card. I even looked at the very recent GHz edition HD7970's but overall the benchmark scores arguably didn't favor them (really depends on which benchmark so lets just say back and forth).

The NVIDIA cards do have several advantages: PhysX, TXAA/FXAA, Adaptive VSYNC (in drivers but AMD does not have).

**the new Unreal 4 engine, not in any games yet, has been optimized for Kepler on the PC side and will probably generate code for the PS4, XBOX720 and PC simultaneously. It emphasizes the new Anti-Aliasing (either TXAA or FXAA) found in Kepler but NOT in any AMD cards so the AMD cards would be at a disadvantage here alone.

The UNREAL 4 engine is a truly incredible engine designed to be more efficient, have better graphics, prevent most coding mistakes and be cheaper to design.

In fact, the UNREAL 4 tools can actually build a game with NO computer coding at all! The engine checks all links (like dialogue/quests) to make sure they aren't broken etc.

Just FYI and please no flaming about NVidia fanboism.
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a c 170 U Graphics card
August 11, 2012 12:28:26 AM

CPU/RAM

I forgot to ask about your hardware specs.

You'll probably want an i5-750, i7-860, i7-920 or better CPU to prevent many bottlenecks. I have an i7-860 and at stock speeds it is rarely the bottleneck. Maybe 10% or less of most games would benefit from an overclock of my CPU.

RAM:
2GB is not enough. 4GB is adequate for most games. 8GB is OPTIMAL. More than 8GB is wasted for just gaming.

**If you play Batman Arkham City, please note the built-in benchmark is useless. I've tested the game extensively for performance. The OPTIMAL setup for Batman AC with a GTX680 is this:
- DISABLE DX11 completely
- DISABLE PhysX completely (too many severe dips in frame rate)
- 1920x1080
- everything else at MAXIMUM

(setup is done before you start the main game. In STEAM the option appears when you click PLAY like in any game.)
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a c 217 U Graphics card
August 11, 2012 12:29:29 AM

TXAA is not on AMD in any form though Nvidia doesn't have it yet either (we'll see how dev's handle this), but FXAA is a little less of an advantage, if at all. FXAA is in several programs that allow it to work with AMD, and for other games which you might want to force it on, AMD has MLAA 2.0, which is very similar.

This is just to make sure things are compared evenly. PhysX is something, on a few games, very few use GPU accelerated PhysX. I finally have a game now that uses it well, Batman: AA and AC. It's pretty cool, just not used often, unfortunately (or fortunately for non Nvidia users).
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a c 217 U Graphics card
August 11, 2012 12:32:10 AM

photonboy said:
CPU/RAM

I forgot to ask about your hardware specs.

You'll probably want an i5-750, i7-860, i7-920 or better CPU to prevent many bottlenecks. I have an i7-860 and at stock speeds it is rarely the bottleneck. Maybe 10% or less of most games would benefit from an overclock of my CPU.

RAM:
2GB is not enough. 4GB is adequate for most games. 8GB is OPTIMAL. More than 8GB is wasted for just gaming.

**If you play Batman Arkham City, please note the built-in benchmark is useless. I've tested the game extensively for performance. The OPTIMAL setup for Batman AC with a GTX680 is this:
- DISABLE DX11 completely
- DISABLE PhysX completely (too many severe dips in frame rate)
- 1920x1080
- everything else at MAXIMUM

(setup is done before you start the main game. In STEAM the option appears when you click PLAY like in any game.)


I hope this changes with 680's in SLI, but in 3D Vision. I haven't played it yet, I'm still working on Arkham Asylum, which everything is maxed on (not able to without SLI though).
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a c 170 U Graphics card
August 11, 2012 12:36:10 AM

bystander said:
TXAA is not on AMD in any form, but FXAA is a little less of an advantage, if at all. FXAA is in several programs that allow it to work with AMD, and for other games which you might want to force it on, AMD has MLAA 2.0, which is very similar.

This is just to make sure things are compared evenly. PhysX is something, on a few games, very few use GPU accelerated PhysX. I finally have a game now that uses it well, Batman: AA and AC. It's pretty cool, just not used often, unfortunately (or fortunately for non Nvidia users).


I agree.
But when all things are more or less equal (raw benchmarks) I might as well throw in PhysX. It's kind of like a condom. I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. I don't use PhysX in several games because even with a GTX680 it drops me below 60FPS and I'd rather keep 60FPS VSYNC'd with the highest quality possible to manage that.

Whichever standard the XBOX720 adopts will likely become the standard for PC-based anti-aliasing. I think that's likely TXAA which I believe is currently found ONLY on the Kepler (GTX6xx) series. So an HD7970, for example, wouldn't support that and would have to use a less-efficient method of AA and hence frame rates would be LOWER.

(Tim Sweeney has been trying to get Microsoft and Sony to up their hardware. He managed to do that with the XBOX 360 so it's hard to say. All this shouldn't affect anybody buying a Graphics Card for PC too much since the XBOX 720 likely isn't out until Q4 2013. I also just realized the GPU is supposed to an HD7xxx possibly which wasn't designed with TXAA. My guess is we'll see TXAA in the final GPU regardless of what it's based on.)
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August 11, 2012 3:46:09 AM

Best answer selected by imnotyourdude.
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August 11, 2012 3:53:19 AM

While I think most people ignored the bulk of my post, mocchan's article was definitely a deciding factor for me,

I went with http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... because I had more than enough money to shell out for the 4gb model, and I plan on running Nvidia Surround and SLI within the year.

Thanks guys for all the information though!
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a c 273 U Graphics card
August 11, 2012 12:31:35 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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