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Good graphics card for next 3 years?

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August 21, 2012 8:22:42 PM

hey, im thinking of buying a graphics card that wont need to be replaced in 3 years time,

i want to be able to play crysis 3 all maxed out and any other demanding game being released in the near future (like bf4, metro last light, or total war: rome 2)

i have a budget of 500 dollars, and i was thinking of getting just one GTX 680 when it gets cheaper (im hoping to buy it this christmas, hopefully the price will be cut by 50 dollars or so by then)

should i buy this card or are there any better options out there?
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 8:29:33 PM

As far as gaming goes, the GTX 670 is only marginally slower than the 680 and a good bit cheaper. If you want 3 years out of it, buy a 670 now, and a year or so down the road, buy a second 670 and SLi them. The single 670 will best any game for the next year or so and the SLi will cover a few years after that.
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 8:35:26 PM

Your only other option is the 7970 GHz edition (or to just overclock a regular model).
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-ghz-...

But the 680 is still an amazing GPU (most would say better) and both take some games while losing in others.

Main difference is price though. You can buy a regular 7970 and overclock it on your own for about $75 cheaper. BTW if you do want a reference 680 they only cost $500.
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August 21, 2012 8:46:26 PM

At your budget buying a high end will probably last that long or longer depending the minimum graphical quality you expect out of games. Playing at 1280 by 720 with medium quality will allow you to play somewhere around what consoles typically aim at. Buying a card like other have suggested with high price performance like the 670 and using dual graphics later is probably going to be your best long term option. What kind of cpu do you have? Your going to need a decently overclocked i5 or better to not bottleneck a dual graphic set up especially if your going with AMD. In some stages of battlefield 3 a i5 @ 4.5ghz slighly bottlenecks 2x AMD 7970's. After looking at your configuration your best of just buying a single 670 or a 7970 since they cost nearly the same to save money so you can upgrade when your cpu becomes obsolete. Your cpu won't do will trying to do a dual graphics setup.
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 8:59:41 PM

Playing in 720 is pointless for a gaming system. Might as well buy a console. I'd recommend a 7970 GHz edition. It will survive when all the rubbish consoles are replaced by the new generation and it will still have the balls to up settings when the 670 starts to get creaky due to its 3GB RAM + 384 bit bus.
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August 21, 2012 9:02:45 PM

Smeg45 said:
Playing in 720 is pointless for a gaming system. Might as well buy a console. I'd recommend a 7970 GHz edition. It will survive when all the rubbish consoles are replaced by the new generation and it will still have the balls to up settings when the 670 starts to get creaky due to its 3GB RAM + 384 bit bus.


No need to get angry, just making a suggestion. In the end it up to the person. Though it is sort of strange for someone to buy a expensive high end hardware and expect to milk it to its last drop. I think you do have a good point since the 7970 has faster and more vram it'll outlast the 670 even though they are about equal know. Another plus to the 7970 which could prolong its life span is its gpgpu performance, new games are using it and it might become very important in knew titles.
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August 21, 2012 9:02:47 PM

i currently have a 1920 x 1080 monitor, and i dont plan on getting a new one anytime soon.

im not too sure about SLI though, im pretty new to stacking multiple video cards, but will my current desktop be able to support SLI?
im currently running on this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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August 21, 2012 9:18:30 PM

A 7870 should be all you need for a single 1080p monitor, they'll be $250 soon, and ought to crossfire well in the future
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 9:21:03 PM

get the most expensive one you can afford - out of the newest bunch - typically, the more $$$ you throw at it, the longer it'll compete
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August 21, 2012 9:45:16 PM

lordofdeath242 said:
A 7870 should be all you need for a single 1080p monitor, they'll be $250 soon, and ought to crossfire well in the future


The 7970 still offers good value compared to the 7870 and it has faster and more vram. This'll be very important as games us more vram.
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 9:57:59 PM

Phyrexiancure said:
The 7970 still offers good value compared to the 7870 and it has faster and more vram. This'll be very important as games us more vram.


Vram is worthless over 1.5 gigs when gaming at 1080p...

so far only TWO games go over needing 2GB of vram and that's ONLY when playing with a triple monitor set-up (3760x1080 resolution)

most 1080p games use less than 1.25 gigs of vram...

Vram usage has barely went up (unless you're loading some games up with huge number of mods, even then it barely goes over 1.5 gb on 1080p) over the past 5 years... and the adoption of higher resolution monitors (main reason for needing vram) has been show as hell...

7970 ghz is a better card than GTX 680 (even when both are overclocked) and he should be getting it because it will last him a long time and not because of vram concerns...


lordofdeath242 said:
A 7870 should be all you need for a single 1080p monitor, they'll be $250 soon, and ought to crossfire well in the future


Not going to last 3 years if he wants to play 60+ fps on games with all the settings maxed...
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 10:04:04 PM

after reading some user reviews of your pc at the link you posted and based on the
known specs, I would say your current system might be a no go for an update to
a faster gpu. this would be due mostly to the multiplier locked cpu with stock cooler,
mobo that might fail on you when trying to adjust the base clock and an iffy PSU.
some folks had problems with the ram but you might be able to reuse it. you will
want a unlocked cpu, new cooler and higher quality psu in addition to the new gpu
if you stay with the current system. If you change mobo/platform you may need a
new copy of windows since yours is likely an oem copy tied to your current mobo.
all that doesn't leave you with much left over in a budget of 500 to get you a gpu
that will last for a few years at 1080p and have a platform that won't bottleneck it.
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 10:14:32 PM

jtenorj said:
after reading some user reviews of your pc at the link you posted and based on the
known specs, I would say your current system might be a no go for an update to
a faster gpu. this would be due mostly to the multiplier locked cpu with stock cooler,
mobo that might fail on you when trying to adjust the base clock and an iffy PSU.
some folks had problems with the ram but you might be able to reuse it. you will
want a unlocked cpu, new cooler and higher quality psu in addition to the new gpu
if you stay with the current system. If you change mobo/platform you may need a
new copy of windows since yours is likely an oem copy tied to your current mobo.
all that doesn't leave you with much left over in a budget of 500 to get you a gpu
that will last for a few years at 1080p and have a platform that won't bottleneck it.


The computer is fine... most games aren't that cpu heavy anyways so the bottleneck isn't going to be that much of a problem (especially if he's going to be playing mostly guild wars 2)

IMHO, his computer is more than enough for guild wars 2 as it is on 1080p...
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 10:35:37 PM

did you read the original post? they want to run crysis 3, BF4 and Metro last light.

most review sites would say BF3 multiplayer is cpu limited.
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 10:42:56 PM

killerhurtalot said:
Vram is worthless over 1.5 gigs when gaming at 1080p...

so far only TWO games go over needing 2GB of vram and that's ONLY when playing with a triple monitor set-up (3760x1080 resolution)

most 1080p games use less than 1.25 gigs of vram...

Vram usage has barely went up (unless you're loading some games up with huge number of mods, even then it barely goes over 1.5 gb on 1080p) over the past 5 years... and the adoption of higher resolution monitors (main reason for needing vram) has been show as hell...

7970 ghz is a better card than GTX 680 (even when both are overclocked) and he should be getting it because it will last him a long time and not because of vram concerns...




Not going to last 3 years if he wants to play 60+ fps on games with all the settings maxed...


Wrong. Load up an elder scrolls game with a few GB's of texture mods and watch your RAM drop. Look at Max Payne 3 and Metro 2033, they will use more than 1.25GB of vram. With the new console generation, its only a matter of time before more beefy games are released.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 11:06:44 PM

A gtx670 is unlikely to last through three years of regular to heavy use due to the inductors used for power regulation. The 7870 is a good card and the gtx680 is less likely to go bad but overclocking isn't very good.

Look for custom designed cards that use a different design than the normal models as they usually use higher quality parts that may enable the card to last anywhere from 5 years to more than a decade with regular maintenance which is more than the three years that you want.

MSI, Asus, sometimes Gigabyte but from there options get fewer.
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a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 11:39:39 PM

nforce4max said:
A gtx670 is unlikely to last through three years of regular to heavy use due to the inductors used for power regulation. The 7870 is a good card and the gtx680 is less likely to go bad but overclocking isn't very good.

Look for custom designed cards that use a different design than the normal models as they usually use higher quality parts that may enable the card to last anywhere from 5 years to more than a decade with regular maintenance which is more than the three years that you want.

MSI, Asus, sometimes Gigabyte but from there options get fewer.


Source?(inductors)

the hd7870 and gtx680 have more limited overclocking potential compared to gtx670
since they are at the top of their respective stacks and gtx670 is in the middle. it is
true that a given gpu may have been binned for a certain card based on clock speed
limits. However, as the yield improves more chips pass at the highest specs and many
are allocated to lower spec cards for market segmentation purposes( sell more gtx670s
than gtx680s cuz the former is 100 cheaper).

the reference model of a card is designed to for optimal performance with the reference
specifications. while some custom cards are built better to push those specs, others may
be inferior to the reference design(mainly the cooler).

I've heard of issues on at least one gpu using MSI's twin frozr cooler.(cant whether it
was an amd or an nvidia).
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a c 172 U Graphics card
August 21, 2012 11:54:34 PM

jtenorj said:
Source?(inductors)

the hd7870 and gtx680 have more limited overclocking potential compared to gtx670
since they are at the top of their respective stacks and gtx670 is in the middle. it is
true that a given gpu may have been binned for a certain card based on clock speed
limits. However, as the yield improves more chips pass at the highest specs and many
are allocated to lower spec cards for market segmentation purposes( sell more gtx670s
than gtx680s cuz the former is 100 cheaper).

the reference model of a card is designed to for optimal performance with the reference
specifications. while some custom cards are built better to push those specs, others may
be inferior to the reference design(mainly the cooler).

I've heard of issues on at least one gpu using MSI's twin frozr cooler.(cant whether it
was an amd or an nvidia).



You are a noob, you don't even know what inductors are and must not know just how different cards can be from each other quality wise. People fap to often to the 670 and it is cheaper for a reason more than just the gpu alone. You will find out for your self if you own one after one or two years of use that is if you don't have the coil squeal problem already.
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2012 12:09:08 AM

Smeg45 said:
Wrong. Load up an elder scrolls game with a few GB's of texture mods and watch your RAM drop. Look at Max Payne 3 and Metro 2033, they will use more than 1.25GB of vram. With the new console generation, its only a matter of time before more beefy games are released.


Uh.... i'm completely fine with 2GB of vram at 2560x1600 resolution even with a *** ton of texture mods on skyrim. I've never gone over 1.5 GB of vram usage with skyrim+ mods at that resolution let alone go over 2GB.

You're talking about 2GB vs 3GB cards... (which most cards come in these days...)

You're way overplaying the vram limitations on cards these days. Unless you mod HEAVILY, you're not even going to approach 2 GB vram on 1080p.

And look at the xbitlabs review of the 4GB GTX 670... they show all of the games and vram utilization... most games cap out at 1.5 gigs at 2560x1440 at most when played normally and ONLY 2 games go over 2 GB vram utlization at 3760x1080...
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a b U Graphics card
August 22, 2012 12:15:05 AM

The 8800gt lasted me a good 3 years it was a pny. It maxed all the games I played, only upgraded it last year and right now I am getting a new card. No reason to call anyone a noob, everyone has their own opinion though.

Each brand uses different materials and specs to create the whole, if this budget is 500 then if he wants a 680 thats fine. Its not a matter of saving money it seems. The 7970 would be the less expensive option for him right now. I don't see why you couldn't get 2+ years out of either gpu. Unless you play all day everyday (no offense to anyone) and maybe screw up overclocking now and then.
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August 22, 2012 12:23:18 AM

thanks for the feedback guys, i think ill look into the 7970. not too keen on getting a 670 though IMO.
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August 22, 2012 12:25:46 AM

Best answer selected by hk144.
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August 22, 2012 4:58:42 PM

Texture's from my experience use the most the VRAM. So when the new consoles arrive games are going to get a big bump in texture resolution. So I still stand by the 7970 as a better long term card because of this. Plus the card has much better compute performance and VRAM bandwidth. If compute performance becomes more important for video games then their could be a big gap between the 680 gtx and the 7970. I have no real knowledge of how much future games are going to push compute but I'm just throwing it out.
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2012 1:29:18 AM

you said you wont change res for a while? how long? how much higher res ?
bigger panel? maybe 2 more 1080p panels to go with the one you have?

next paragraph compares competing gpus with close perf(radeons a bit faster w/12.7).

a 7970(around 400) that you overclock yourself (or a 7970ghz@450 if you dont want to
overclock) should run 3x1080p maxed w/msaa very well for a few years and are overkill
for both 1x1080p and even a 1440p at the same settings. 2GB f.b. gtx670 @400 and
gtx680@500 may stuggle at 3x1080p when you add msaa to max in game settings due
to both their lower vram bandwidths and smaller frame buffers. pricier 4GB versions of
those cards still have that lower bandwidth to contend with when pushing hi level aa.

if you are staying at 1080p for a good long while, a 2GB hd7870 should let you game at
that res with max settings and aa for several years, seeing as the card does pretty well
at 4mpixel now and very well at your 2mpixel res. it'll last even longer thru overclocking.
not that u need 2GB at 1080p. 1GB is plenty at that res(2GB@1440p+, 3GB@3x1080p).
you get that card more for the performance and price( and future performance to, like
driver updates for GCN based cards). 2GB 7870 can even go for 250 shipped w/rebate.

have you tried OCing your gtx560(non ti)? you may easily get it past the gtx560ti
performance wise and even close to 448 core or gtx570 territory. you might not be able
to run high aa too with everything else maxed, but games seem to be trending towards
using shader based aa and not even supporting old school msaa anyway (>ref.7850).
if this level of performance would be ok, maybe get a 7850 as low as 210 and oc it.

with maybe a cheap 27in korean 1440p ips lcd in mind,get a 7950(310?) and oc it yourself,
ignoring the boost bios upgrade whether it's avail. to the card or not. this is w/msaa btw.

if you don't need msaa(since many newer games exclude msaa in favor of fxaa/similar)
a 2GB 660ti@300 should last a while at @1440p w/fxaa ( radeons can do fxaa, too).

if you're thinking of maybe adding a couple 1080p panels to your setup, but can live w/o
msaa in favor of fxaa or the like, you might get a 3GB version of the gtx660ti and oc it.

sli/cf is not possible on your mobo(only 1 peg slot). not like you'd need it or want it.
pay extra to get a fps bump with a 2nd card but also get stuttering/ no thanks!

if you are considering upgrading to 3x1080p sometime in the near future, you may want
to address the potential bottleneck at that res that may show up in some games(like bf3)
due to the performance level of you cpu. i believe that game and others coming down to
pipe may need more than your 965 can provide at that res.

horizontal field of view increases by a factor of 3( much less perf loss from mounting LCDs
to go 3 portrait vs. 3 landscape, tho most go landscape for gaming so the bezels dont
annoy you so much and it may be better to see around you in shooters, mmorpgs , some
flight sims, racing, most any game type except rts, really and 3240x1920 closer to 4x say
a smaller 1680x1050 screen as far as aspect ratio). the main thing is that while a gpu up
to the task can render that many pixels fine ,the cpu has to send 3x(+ or -) as much
more basic geometry data to the gpu( magic done on gpu as geometry shading to
boost the poly count not applicable save the fact the gpu is now dealing with the extra
amount of starting vertices the cpu is sending it). come to think of it, perhaps this applies
to all standard 3way lcd setups in landscape mode, even for example 3x1680/1050 or
3x1440x900. I guess even with lower res 3way setups, an under performing cpu can
humble even more modest gpu usage. this just came to me. depending on the source
you go by, the likes of a battlefield 3(multi player) 3way setting will/will not be bottle-
necked by a modern locked core i5 quad or even a heavily overclocked i5. based on this,
if you have even the slightest inkling of running 3 panels, you must be willing to attempt
OCing your cpu or replace it with something notably faster(since a locked i5 quad usally
seems to beat a 965 handily if it isn't OCed a fair amount).

since you have phenom II x4 965(not black edition), I am guessing it's the newer stepping
with 125w tdp versus old w/140w(first 965blk ed. @140w, new stepping 125w, 975blk @
125w, 965 drops from unlocked to locked). If that is the case, you should still be able to
oc to 4ghz+ if your mobo, cooler, and ram support it. I think your mobo may be lower end,
and you have a stock amd hsf but ram ok or may hinder your efforts. maybe tinker with
your bios to see if it allows you to modify base clock, voltage and ram ratio. you can drop
your 965's multiplier to the lowest one used in power save mode, mod the ram to run at
1066 and start upping your base clock, to get used to what you'll try w/stock multi. if you
replace the stock amd hsf with something like a cooler master hyper 212 for around 30 u
can try raising the base clock 5-10mhz, torture test w/prime 95 for 15-20min and if there
are no errors and temps are ok, stop test, bump base clock a little more and repeat til
you get errors. if your temps are ok try a small voltage increase (do not exceed
10% over starting voltage, total, during entire oc process) and start testing again. do this
until you either hit the suggested voltage limit, temps you dont like, or your ram comes
back into spec with stock timings. you might consider loosening them a bit to max out
that cpu voltage increase or temperature, but I wouldn't do a final oc too much past 4ghz.
once you get a clock that seems to work, run prime95 overnight. good temps/no errors,
stable oc. if not, back of another 5-10mhz and try again. when you finally get there, you
should be able to run at these setting 24/7(if pc folds/whatever when not being used by you). may need to shut off or modify power saving features to get a consistent overclock.

seems nowadays of you dont at least try to oc a 28nm gpu, you are leaving performance
on the table. seems anyone gaming on 3 screens in landscape mode could probably stand
to overclock their processor if they dont want it holding them down.

so yeah, if you haven't attempted OCing you gtx560 yet, you owe it to yourself to try.
that is if you are will to use fxaa in place of msaa. will cost you nothing for playable
performance at 1080p for a while yet. if you need more(aa, res+aa) then minimum of a
7870(most all, i not all, 2GB, cant see laying out for only 1GB) at about 250 up to 480
for 3x1080p(7970 not ghz ed. that you oc @400 + coolermaster hyper 212 @30 to push
your cpu(again, assuming it, your mobo and ram are up to it. stock amd hsf a no go).
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2012 1:38:39 AM

dont know how to edit, but if you end up with 3 panels and 7970, you'd be OCing your
cpu anyway, so may as well do so to gpu too. forget 7970ghz @450, reg 7970 @400 u oc +
a cooler master hyper 212 evo @30 for 430 total not 480. that's if needing msaa too. if not,
see other suggestions for lower res single panels depending whether just fxaa or msaa too.

any option from zero dollars(gtx560) to 430 will be under 500 and give you the performance
you want based on your final combination of resolution and quality settings.
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a b U Graphics card
August 23, 2012 2:12:58 AM

if questions bout OCing gpu, similar process as for cpu but with a few differences.

instead of prime95 the cpu is tested with, use furmark for gpu.

free MSI afterburner software is a great tool to assist gpu overclockers.

there may be a few ways to get where you want to go or as far as you can with it.

first use afterburner or driver and set your fan speed to the highest noise level you can
tolerate for the best cooling. then start 25 pushing the core 25mhz per test til you
get errors or uncomfortable temps, then back off 25 mhz. next do the memory.

however, since gddr5 error corrects at an unstable oc, you wont see errors but lower
performance if you clock too high. so when performance starts to drop instead of
increase back off 25mhz. if thermals are still good and you want to try for better OCs
then give the voltage a bump, same rules as with cpu. basically you are done when
either you've reached 110% voltage, or you wont tolerate the temps.

a note that if you give either cpu or video card a few voltage bumps in a row with no
additional increase in performance, reset to last voltage that was success full and done.
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August 23, 2012 5:57:50 PM

furmark isn't a good indicator of stability. The best thing you can do is a trial and error process with the games you play. Make sure to turn off vsync to ensure your graphics card is stressed. Sapphire Trixx is an alternative if you can't get overvolting to work on Sapphire cards. Also remember to not set your overclock to start when the computer boots till you know they're stable.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
August 23, 2012 7:20:51 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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