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$300 Card, Which one?

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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 12:21:19 AM

So I'm assisting my friend in picking out parts for a gaming pc. He has purchased everything except the video card. Originally, his budget for a gpu was lower and I had picked out an EVGA Superclocked 560 for $135 after rebates. However, after learning he plans to purchase a 1080p monitor in the future, I explained to him it would be a good idea to spend a little more on a more powerful gpu.

So I was/am thinking the 660ti. One of the reasons being my friend has Borderlamds 2 pre ordered and was going to pay $60 for it at launch. But the 660ti comes with it for free. So it's like he's only spending $240 for the 660ti. But, with the recent price cut of the 7800 series, is this still a good idea? What do you guys think? Remember, he wants borderlands 2 so he will have to pay for that if he gets an AMD card, or it would be free with the 660ti.

More about : 300 card

a c 104 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 12:37:28 AM

Still a good idea.

A better card would be the 7950 but that's 300ish so with the game it's a total of 360 :( 
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a c 1385 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 12:38:55 AM

Yep if he is planning the game anyway why not get it with the card.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 12:56:25 AM

The 7870 is a better card and is dropping to around $240-250 MSRP. Wait for the price drops, get the 7870 and Borderlands separate, and it's a better deal. Otherwise, if the parts must be bought now, then I suppose that the 660 TI is the best way to go unless you guys get a 7850 and overclock it, but keep in mind that the 660 TI will not overclock well, handles AA poorly, tessellation isn't as good, and DirectC lighting features are pretty much unusable on it. Even the 7850 (with overclocking) is a generally better card than the 660 TI.

The 7950 is also getting a price cut and is a far superior card to the 660 TI when overclocking is considered. Not even the 7850 or 7870 can touch it in overclocking potential. Even if it was still another $60 over the 660 TI, it would be worth the money, but it's understandable if your friend doesn't want to spend that much.
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August 24, 2012 1:13:01 AM

Id go with a 660ti if your going with a single monitor, it performs very well in all current games at 1080. If you wanted to spend a little more then get a 7950 its about the same level of performance slightly more overclock headroom. From personal experience I can say the 660ti is a solid performing card and is a huge upgrade from a 560.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 1:19:59 AM

The prices have already dropped. The 7870 is running $230 after rebate with 2 free games.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 1:23:08 AM

At those prices go to go with the 7870
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August 24, 2012 1:36:07 AM

The gtx 660ti seems to be the best option, why? Well the x60 series have always had one of the best bang for the buck performance + they work great in sli , so think that maybe in the future you'll want more performance and it's going to be as easy as getting another one, and it's for 300 bucks:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 1:44:52 AM

The 660 TI has poor AA performance, poor tessellation performance, horrible DirectC performance, and even Fermi cards have better PhysX performance as well as better minimum frame rates. The 660 Ti is also a horrible card for overclocking. The 7950 doesn't just have a little more headroom, it has a huge overclocking headroom advantage. The 7950 can hang with the 7970 and such cards in overclocking performance. The 660 TI can't even really match a stock GTX 670, let alone keep up with it in overclocking.

The 660 TI is a horribly unbalanced card that is a poor excuse for an x60 card. The 560 and 560 TI were great cards (I had a 560 TI myself), but the 660 TI is a shame on their legacy. Sure, its a faster card, but it lost the balance in performance that they had achieved. I'd take even a 7850 over the 660 TI because even the 7850 overclocks a little better at a far lower price and with more balance in its performance due to its higher tessellation efficiency, actually being able to use DirectC features, and its memory bandwidth enabling better AA efficiency.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 1:57:09 AM

The 600 series card would seem like the better option if your friend wants to get borderlands 2
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:04:04 AM

blazorthon said:
The 660 TI has poor AA performance, poor tessellation performance, horrible DirectC performance, and even Fermi cards have better PhysX performance as well as better minimum frame rates. The 660 Ti is also a horrible card for overclocking. The 7950 doesn't just have a little more headroom, it has a huge overclocking headroom advantage. The 7950 can hang with the 7970 and such cards in overclocking performance. The 660 TI can't even really match a stock GTX 670, let alone keep up with it in overclocking.

The 660 TI is a horribly unbalanced card that is a poor excuse for an x60 card. The 560 and 560 TI were great cards (I had a 560 TI myself), but the 660 TI is a shame on their legacy. Sure, its a faster card, but it lost the balance in performance that they had achieved. I'd take even a 7850 over the 660 TI because even the 7850 overclocks a little better at a far lower price and with more balance in its performance due to its higher tessellation efficiency, actually being able to use DirectC features, and its memory bandwidth enabling better AA efficiency.

I'm sorry but I take your comment irrelevant, in almost every benchmark I have seen the 660 TI beat the 7950.
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a c 1385 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:04:14 AM

blazorthon said:
The 660 TI has poor AA performance, poor tessellation performance, horrible DirectC performance, and even Fermi cards have better PhysX performance as well as better minimum frame rates. The 660 Ti is also a horrible card for overclocking. The 7950 doesn't just have a little more headroom, it has a huge overclocking headroom advantage. The 7950 can hang with the 7970 and such cards in overclocking performance. The 660 TI can't even really match a stock GTX 670, let alone keep up with it in overclocking.

The 660 TI is a horribly unbalanced card that is a poor excuse for an x60 card. The 560 and 560 TI were great cards (I had a 560 TI myself), but the 660 TI is a shame on their legacy. Sure, its a faster card, but it lost the balance in performance that they had achieved. I'd take even a 7850 over the 660 TI because even the 7850 overclocks a little better at a far lower price and with more balance in its performance due to its higher tessellation efficiency, actually being able to use DirectC features, and its memory bandwidth enabling better AA efficiency.

Anandtech http://www.anandtech.com/show/6159/the-geforce-gtx-660-...
Techpowerup http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_660_Ti_Power...
Xbitlabs http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/gefor...
Bjorn3d http://www.bjorn3d.com/2012/08/msi-gtx-660-ti-power-edi...
guru3d http://www.guru3d.com/article/evga-geforce-gtx-660-ti-s...
All respectable hardware sites! According to you these Idiots do not know what they are talking about!
(not trying to take anything away from the HD7870 which is a great card and I am quite happy with my HD7850 but it does not make it the best card in the world!)
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:10:11 AM



Do you really think that many 660 TIs will get the memory all the way up to 1.9GHz to get such performance? That's not normal as pretty much any retail-bought 660 TI would show. Even 1.7 and 1.8GHz are lucky to get. That 660 TI is a very cherry-picked unit. That they also did the comparison with mere FXAA in most cases and when they didn't use that blurring crap, the 7950 pulled ahead every time. The 7950 also had consistently higher minimum frame rates despite the disadvantage to a cherry-picked 660 TI. Heck, the 7950 wasn't even a good model. Better 7950s could be found cheaper than this 660 TI and buying one of the same 660 TI model would give considerably lower performance.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:13:48 AM

rolli59 said:
Anandtech http://www.anandtech.com/show/6159/the-geforce-gtx-660-...
Techpowerup http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_660_Ti_Power...
Xbitlabs http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/gefor...
Bjorn3d http://www.bjorn3d.com/2012/08/msi-gtx-660-ti-power-edi...
guru3d http://www.guru3d.com/article/evga-geforce-gtx-660-ti-s...
All respectable hardware sites! According to you these Idiots do not know what they are talking about!
(not trying to take anything away from the HD7870 which is a great card and I am quite happy with my HD7850 but it does not make it the best card in the world!)


They used cherry-picked 660 TIs (easily shown just by looking at the frequencies) against AMD cards that were picked to show the lowest performance and tested in non-optimal settings (such as FXAA) to skewer the results further. Being reputable and doing something that isn't good for ones reputation are not mutually exclusive and they have shown this. Tom's was one of the few to do a nearly proper comparison and the 660 TI showed its true weakenss when they used a regular retail model that wasn't one of Nvidia's cherry-picked cards. I'm not saying that AMD is perfect (I've owned more Nvidia cards than Ati/AMD and my last one was a GTX 560 TI), but Nvidia is not superior this time around. Fermi was a better architecture than Kepler. Simply tweaking it differently would have given Nvidia something that can beat GCN as an architecture, but Nvidia decided to optimize for profit margins rather than quality.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:29:33 AM

Yeah it's a bit confusing. I've seen some people recommending the 660ti in other threads and saying its a great card, and others saying its horrible, which is understandable and everyone has their opinion and plays different games and uses different settings.

There are a few reasons I am leaning towards the 660ti though. One is of course borderlands 2. If he gets an AMD card like the 7870 or 7850, he will have to spend and additional $60 anyways to get borderlands 2, while the 660ti already comes with it.

The other reason is overclocking. From my understanding, to use the 7870 and 7850 at their full potential you need to overclock them. Now, my friend isn't all that experienced with computers, and although I will be building his machine for them, I'm only planning on overclocking the processor, since that is brain dead easy(3570k FTW...). However, that's not the case with video cards from what I've seen. Overclocking them involves more and isn't always guaranteed. I don't want to have to deal with him troubleshooting and adjusting clocks for certain games.

I should probably add what games he plans on playing. He wants to play Guild Wars 2, Borderlands 2, Starcraft 2, Dark Souls, and other games. His current resolution is 1680x1050 and he will upgrade to 1080p eventually.

If I'm wrong in any of what I said, let me know. Thanks for the help so far guys, I want to make sure I give my friend a good recommendation.
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a c 1385 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:37:08 AM

blazorthon said:
They used cherry-picked 660 TIs (easily shown just by looking at the frequencies) against AMD cards that were picked to show the lowest performance and tested in non-optimal settings (such as FXAA) to skewer the results further. Being reputable and doing something that isn't good for ones reputation are not mutually exclusive and they have shown this. Tom's was one of the few to do a nearly proper comparison and the 660 TI showed its true weakenss when they used a regular retail model that wasn't one of Nvidia's cherry-picked cards. I'm not saying that AMD is perfect (I've owned more Nvidia cards than Ati/AMD and my last one was a GTX 560 TI), but Nvidia is not superior this time around. Fermi was a better architecture than Kepler. Simply tweaking it differently would have given Nvidia something that can beat GCN as an architecture, but Nvidia decided to optimize for profit margins rather than quality.

One suggestion is that you read all those reviews since they do not only talk about the overclocked cards they are testing.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:40:39 AM

Even without overclocking, with the price cuts, a 7870 and borderlands 2 will be about the same price as or even cheaper than the cheapest 660 TI (let alone a good 3GB model) plus free copy of borderlands 2 while being a somewhat better card, especially if you pump up the tessellation and although not by as much if you overclock it (which is a guarantee to help, just by exactly how much is not guaranteed, but can be estimated quite well), the AA as well. Direct3D features are still unplayable in comparison to the 7870 and the 7950 takes almost no performance hit at all in comparison to even the 7870.

However, overclocking can pretty much guarantee that with a decent model of 7870 (especially the MSI models), it can go much farther than the 660 TI can go in overclocking (especially when AA is pumped up) and the 7950, although probably a slightly more expensive setup with Borderlands 2, is far superior. Also, just to clarify, FXAA is not even AA, it is just a blur effect. TXAA is an actual AA and is excellent and a true advantage of Nvidia, but it is not well supported and unlike with the 670 and the 680, the 660 TI still doesn't get enough of an advantage from it to beat the 7870 and especially not enough to even match the 7950. The minimum frame rates being low is something that is a nearly unavoidable issue with the 660 TI.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:43:01 AM

rolli59 said:
One suggestion is that you read all those reviews since they do not only talk about the overclocked cards they are testing.


Again, they tend to stick with Nvidia's specific recommendations for testing and even at stock, their cards are still cherry-picked cards with abnormally high Turbo Boost frequencies that although they don't make as much of a difference as their frequencies might suggest (due to the memory bandwidth), do make something of a difference, especially when tested with poor settings. You can't honestly expect taking the 670, an already memory-bandwidth bottle-necked card and dropping its memory bandwidth by 25% to be a good idea, can you? The 660 TI is easily the least balanced card of the Kepler series.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:48:41 AM

Get him the GTX 660 TI. Geforce is the happiest community of gamers I know. You'd get better driver support, info on latest titles, recommended specs for those games
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 3:07:50 AM

So, do you feel that a 660ti will play the games I listed and other games, save for extremely demanding titles like BF3 and Crysis and Metro 2033 at high settings with close to 60 frames for ~2 years? That's what i want to accomplish with this card.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 3:12:33 AM

That would depend entirely on what you're defining as 60FPS be it the averages or the minimums and what setting you use.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 3:14:18 AM

Average for sure. I know that minimum isn't something one can accomplish unless they spend thousands, if they can accomplish it at all. Believe me, I know, I have a 680.

My friend is not a PC enthusiast/60fps freak. He just needs the frames to be above 30 and be playable, but can notice and does appreciate 60fps.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 3:17:05 AM

Whats the rest of the specs your putting in this system? or his system?
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 3:42:40 AM

3570k(Will OC to 4.2GHz), CM Hyper 212+ CM HAF 912, 8GB Corsair Vengeance 1600mhz RAM, ASRock Z77 Extreme4, PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III Series 600 PSU. He will re-use a Hard Drive.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 3:52:11 AM

4.2GHz will limit the GTX 660 TI's maximum frame rate in several games (and thus the average frame rate) compared to what the reviews might make you expect to see and you'll turn in performance more similar to the Tom's review than those other reviews for more reasons than the cherry picked units used by most of the other reviews. I suggest going for 4.4GHz or 4.5GHz if possible. It wouldn't be unreasonable with that cooler and motherboard. Also, you might want to make sure that your friend knows to back up that hard drive's data.
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August 24, 2012 3:59:49 AM

I have owned both amd and now nidia. If he prefers one or the other then get him the 7870 or the 660ti. I LOVE nvidia, and most of my games are optimized for them. However my old 6850 lasted me a long time and loved it too. So I would just pick one based on which one has the features you like better vs the actual performance. My personal vote would be for the 660ti
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 6:06:42 AM

blazorthon said:
4.2GHz will limit the GTX 660 TI's maximum frame rate in several games (and thus the average frame rate) compared to what the reviews might make you expect to see and you'll turn in performance more similar to the Tom's review than those other reviews for more reasons than the cherry picked units used by most of the other reviews. I suggest going for 4.4GHz or 4.5GHz if possible. It wouldn't be unreasonable with that cooler and motherboard. Also, you might want to make sure that your friend knows to back up that hard drive's data.


Are you sure? I find it very hard to believe that that a 3570k @ 4.2 GHz will bottleneck a 660ti. I was under the impression that even at stock it would have very little bottleneck.

So how bad is it when you apply AA and Tesselation with the 660ti? That's the main complaint I've read about, that it can't handle those well. Direct Compute doesn't matter, as this build will be strictly for gaming. As for the lowish 192bit interface, I've seen some say that doesn't matter at 1080p and lower.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 3:16:28 PM

trogdor796 said:
Are you sure? I find it very hard to believe that that a 3570k @ 4.2 GHz will bottleneck a 660ti. I was under the impression that even at stock it would have very little bottleneck.

So how bad is it when you apply AA and Tesselation with the 660ti? That's the main complaint I've read about, that it can't handle those well. Direct Compute doesn't matter, as this build will be strictly for gaming. As for the lowish 192bit interface, I've seen some say that doesn't matter at 1080p and lower.


The 192 bit interface does matter even at 1080p. Look at any review and compare the difference between the GTX 660 TI and the GTX 670. The performance difference is almost purely the memory interface.

Tessellation and AA aren't unusable, but they take a larger performance hit on the 660 TI than they do on the 7870 and especially the 7950. Overclocking increases the AA performance hit relative to the 7950 and the 7870 because their memory be pushed a lot farther in bandwidth than the 660 TI's memory can.

The 660 TI has the exact same GPU as the GTX 670, although at a somewhat lower frequency. Pretty much any CPU that will bottle-neck the 670 (which is pretty much any CPU, to an extent) will bottle-neck the 660 TI. This is a part of the performance difference between the Tom's review and the other reviews beyond the differing quality settings and the their 660 TI not being a cherry-picked model. Your minimum frame rates probably aren't hurt by the CPU, but your maximum frame rates are.

If someone told you that CPU speed doesn't matter for the 660 TI very much, they were mistaken. It won't be a nearly crippling bottle-neck, but it will be a bottle-neck.

Also, several games make use of DirectC and the number of games using it is growing. It is used in some advanced lighting features. Nvidia's cards that have Kepler GPUs can't handle these advanced lighting features.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 4:07:22 PM

So you are saying my 2500k @ 4.4GHz bottlenecks my GTX 680? That is not the case from what I've seen when playing games.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 4:17:06 PM

Have you tested performance at different resolutions, specifically maximum FPS, especially in CPU-bound games too, or are you saying that even at 4.4GHz, your GTX 680 gives very enjoyable performance? GK104 can get huge maximums and the performance difference between the Tom's review and the other reviews of comparable tests just happens to correspond with the CPU performance difference very well. Like I said, it's not going to be a crippling bottle-neck, but it will probably be a bottle-neck.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 7:36:55 PM

Bro. there is going to be a bottleneck at no matter what level of hardware you have. Just like i could go out and buy 4 680's and a 3960x with a mid range 2011 X79 board. Still would be a bottleneck somewhere in that system. Now if its a slight bottleneck like a 2500k/3570k at 4.4 or 4.2ghz with a 660 TI at stock. I'd have to say your a bit unreal. As your not going to see that much of a bottleneck with 1 660 TI with a stock or slightly clocked 3570K or Overclocked 2500K as comparison to a top of the line 2011 chip and 2-3 680's. What is this bottleneck i see? well with the top of the line everything you'd run into the CPU being more powerful that the graphics. Also RAM can be a issue but i won't go into detail on that. So you have a CPU that can max the cards out but if the guy was to get a 3930k and a 660 TI then yea i'd see a major bottleneck because the graphics card would hold the CPU back because they have to match. Now a I5 Sandy or Ivy clocked at 3.8-4.2ghz paired with a 660 TI i'd say thats damn near perfect match for performance. It wouldn't make sense to get a top of the line on one component and then gimp out on the graphics card because you will never see the full potential of your system because your graphics card will be pushed to the max all the time. Does that make sense to people? Yes? Ok. Now lets talk about performance point. The 660 TI sits at around the area between a 7870 and often above the 7950. on its own team its around the point of a 670 in performance. On average i would say if you were to take a step up and put a more tier system together say a 3770K, I would go with a 680 most likely. The theory is, when your gaming, its better to have a good GPU than it does to have a CPU because your going to be doing more graphical functions, does that make sense to people? Yea? Ok, so would you like me to make a algorithm for this equation? or you feel like you understand enough that a 660 TI and a 3570K wouldn't have any major or noticeable bottlenecking.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 7:49:06 PM

The LGA 1155 i5s are almost exactly as good as the top i7s in gaming performance because not many games at all can make much use of more than four threads and that's really the only serious performance advantage that the i7s have over the i5s. Another is that because the 660 Ti and the 670 have the same GPU, albeit the 660 TI has a slightly lower frequency, they have fairly similar maximum FPS and that maximum can be CPU-bottle-necked by pretty much any modern CPU regardless of frequency.

The theory that you should have a balanced system is absolutely correct. However, no Kepler card is really a balanced card. Their main features are that they aren't balanced. The 660 TI has a GK104 with a memory interface that you's expect to see on a card such as a GTX 650! That's not going to make a balanced system no matter what CPU you have. Nvidia's problem is that they should have copied the memory layout of the GTX 500 series where the 680 has a 384 bit connection, the 670 has a 320 bit connection, and the 660 TI has a 256 bit connection. That would at least offer some improvement.

The 660 TI doesn't sit around the 7870 and 7950 in performance. It zig-zags all over from weaker than a 7850 to stronger than a 7950 (stock performance numbers here, overclocked would leave the 7850 beating the 660 TI consistently, just not by consistent margins). Using averages hides the fact that it has huge variance in performance. Simply taking a Radeon 7850 and overclocking it well will give you a card that can consistently beat the 660 TI. A Radeon 7870 and overclocking will have a greater win. A Radeon 7950 with overclocking will have a far greater win. Overclocking the 660 TI doesn't save it from how unbalanced it is.

If you want to see how well the 660 TI would perform with the 3570K @4.2GHz, then look at the Tom's review of the 660 TI. A 3570K @ 4.2GHz is pretty close to a 3960X or 3939K @ 4.2GHz.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 8:08:09 PM

DID YOU NOT SEE ANY OF THE LINKS? huh?

Here is an Algorithm for you:
and this is current until the devil 13 is benched

690>680>or=7970>=670>=660TI>=7950>7870>7850>7770>7750>GT640>630>620>610.............
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 8:42:45 PM

The 660 TI is not better than the 7950. When overclocking is considered, the 7870 and even the 7850 are generally better than the 660 TI. You also left out the 7950 Boost Mode and the 7970 GHz Edition, but at that point, I suppose that it's just nitpicking.

Things simply aren't even as simple as card a is better than card b. Technology, no matter how much people try to over-simplify it, is still very complex. Neglecting memory bandwidth is a mistake that Nvidia made (one of several others) if quality was their goal (it obviously wasn't, they just wanted to maximize profit margins).
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 8:45:18 PM

Well, it seems like the 660ti is the best choice. What ones do you guys recommend?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 8:47:47 PM

trogdor796 said:
Well, it seems like the 660ti is the best choice. What ones do you guys recommend?


I strongly disagree with that statement, but if you want a 660 TI anyway, then an EVGA model is probably the best way to go. EVGA is a reliable company with excellent warranty service. Asus and MSI are also great, but I don't think that their warranty services are up to EVGA's standards, although their cards tend to be better-cooled.

EVGA http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MSI http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Asus http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 9:16:12 PM

blazorthon said:
I strongly disagree with that statement, but if you want a 660 TI anyway, then an EVGA model is probably the best way to go. EVGA is a reliable company with excellent warranty service. Asus and MSI are also great, but I don't think that their warranty services are up to EVGA's standards, although their cards tend to be better-cooled.

EVGA http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MSI http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Asus http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Well, all the major tech sites reviews that I have read have said the 660ti is a good card, and is a bit better than the 7870 most of the time. As for overclocking, as I explained in my previous post, overclocking the card is not something that I plan to do, or want to make my friend deal with. There is also the borderlands 2 to consider. So, unless there are benchmarks that show the 660ti fails miserably compared to the 7870, it seems like the right choice in this situation.

Thank you for the links to the cards.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 9:34:11 PM

trogdor796 said:
Well, all the major tech sites reviews that I have read have said the 660ti is a good card, and is a bit better than the 7870 most of the time. As for overclocking, as I explained in my previous post, overclocking the card is not something that I plan to do, or want to make my friend deal with. There is also the borderlands 2 to consider. So, unless there are benchmarks that show the 660ti fails miserably compared to the 7870, it seems like the right choice in this situation.

Thank you for the links to the cards.

yea if he wants borderlands 2 get the 660 TI. also the card will beat the 7870 easily. And if it were me i'd get the EVGA over the two. if you wanted the better performer the MSI Power edition 660 ti is the best out of those three. I just like the looks of the EVGA 660 TI. Also the EVGA card gets best scores in 3d mark from what i saw on neweggs benchmarks
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a c 1385 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 11:51:39 PM

Pick any of the 3 brands mentioned here and maybe throw Gigabyte in the mix! All quality.
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a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 11:56:21 PM

^ I also see that Galaxy is suprisingly good this time
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a b U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 9:51:05 PM

Okay, I know this thread is a bit old, but my friend has yet to order a card, since he has been busy and has been saving money for it.

He would like to order soon, like TODAY.

Since the last discussions in this thread took place, AMD has lowered prices, AGAIN. 7850 can now be had for as low as $200, and a 7870 starting at $240. I've also seen a 7950 for $280. All of those are after rebates.

Now, I was talking to my friend today, and told him about these price drops. He said he can get borderlands 2 another way(acquire it...I'll just leave it at that). If he does that, he said he just wanted the best card for up to $300, but would be fine with closer to $250. So, WITH the recent price drops, what do you guys think? From the research that I have done, it goes like this: 7950=660ti>7870>7850. The following link also backs this up:
http://tpucdn.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_660_Ti_Power_Edition/...

Also, it seems the 7870 and 7950 need to be overclocked to get their value. How involved is this, and how good of an OC are you guaranteed to get. Newegg reviews stated that their 7870's were getting unstable OC's. I've only dealt with OC CPU's, not GPU's. How do they compare?

So, 7950 would be cheaper after rebates, but more up front. And I'd also like to encourage my friend to not "acquire" borderlands 2. So I still wanna suggest him the 660ti, but if these recent price drops make a 7870 or 7950 a better buy, please tell me.

He wants to play Guild Wars 2, Dark Souls, and Borderlands 2 at high settings smoothly.
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a b U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 9:52:56 PM

GTX 660 TI...... end of discussion
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a c 87 U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 10:05:36 PM

The GTX 660 Ti is a waste of money no matter how you look at it. The GTX 660 is about $70 cheaper with similar performance and the Radeon 7870 and Radeon 7950 are superior cards anyway when overclocking or heavy MSAA is considered. Even the Radeon 7850 is better than the 660 Ti when overclocking or heavy AA is considered.

If PhysX is desired, then a Radeon 7850 with a low-end Nvidia card such as a GTS 450, GTX 650, GTX 550 TI, or GTX 560 SE supplementing it is also a good option.
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a b U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 10:11:28 PM

blazorthon said:


If PhysX is desired, then a Radeon 7850 with a low-end Nvidia card such as a GTS 450, GTX 650, GTX 550 TI, or GTX 560 SE supplementing it is also a good option.

No, u don't even need that for Physx, just a GT 640 and ur good to go. That way he can use a lower end Power supply if hes got one
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a c 87 U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 10:26:16 PM

Rockdpm said:
No, u don't even need that for Physx, just a GT 640 and ur good to go. That way he can use a lower end Power supply if hes got one


I'm not sure about that. Unless PhysX doesn't care about memory bandwidth much at all, the GT 640 could be too much of a bottle-neck for even this.
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a b U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 10:26:41 PM

Okay, well explain the chart i linked then, they tested a huge assortment of games, and the 660ti comes out equal to a 7950.

Like I asked, how hard is it to OC a GPU, and are you even guaranteed to get a good OC?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 10:31:57 PM

trogdor796 said:
Okay, well explain the chart i linked then, they tested a huge assortment of games, and the 660ti comes out equal to a 7950.

Like I asked, how hard is it to OC a GPU, and are you even guaranteed to get a good OC?


Overclocking the GTX 660 Ti's GPU does little good because it has a huge memory-bandwidth bottle-neck. Overclocking its memory is far better. The GTX 660 Ti also has very poor minimum frame rates as a result of tis huge memroy bandwidth bottle-neck and beyond its poor overclocking capability it has very poor MSAA efficiency and also doesn't handle tessellation and other features nearly as well as the Radeons do.

Linking a chart doesn't prove anything. You didn't give contextual information such as a link to the entire review so that we could look at the other hardware, look at the test parameters, look at driver and game versions, and compare it to similar tests done by other groups to test its authenticity.
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a b U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 10:46:13 PM

I meant overclocking the 7870 and 7950...

I was under the impression that if you wanted to hope you can get a good OC and know what you are doing, get 7870 or 7950. If you just want to leave it at stock, get 660ti, because all cards at stock, 660ti wins(ties 7950). If you overclock though, I was under the impression that 7870 can match of slightly beat 660ti, and 7950 OC will beat 660ti by a good amount. But, that's if you get a good card that happens to OC well and if you know what you are doing, right?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
September 16, 2012 10:54:07 PM

trogdor796 said:
I meant overclocking the 7870 and 7950...

I was under the impression that if you wanted to hope you can get a good OC and know what you are doing, get 7870 or 7950. If you just want to leave it at stock, get 660ti, because all cards at stock, 660ti wins(ties 7950). If you overclock though, I was under the impression that 7870 can match of slightly beat 660ti, and 7950 OC will beat 660ti by a good amount. But, that's if you get a good card that happens to OC well and if you know what you are doing, right?


A Radeon 7850 with a decent after-market cooler is generally better than a GTX 660 Ti at overclocking. A Radeon 7870 with a good after-market cooler is usually about 10-20% better than a similarly cooled Radeon 7850. A decent Radeon 7950 can have a huge advantage in comparison to even the best 7870s.

Even if you're playing at stock, if you play with some heavy AA (especially in DX9/DX10 games) or tessellation, the Radeons beat Nvidia increasingly with increased AA. Nvidia's cards simply can't handle it nearly as well, especially AA, but tessellation is also better dealt with by the Radeons. The Nvidia cards are better at 3D and/or 120FPS gaming where you shoot for sheer FPS over graphics quality. Well, that's with the current generation of cards. This might switch around with the next generation or it might get even more deeply ingrained, who knows.

The problem is that you're oversimplifying this. Graphics cards are very complex and depending on the workload, cards that are considered to be roughly on-par with each other can have wildly varying performance. For example, even a Radeon 7850 can embarrass a GTX 660 Ti when you throw serious AA and such towards it, yet if you go for a light AA/tessellation and other settings comparison with a 120Hz display, the reverse can happen. Different games are also handled differently. This is just the start of explaining the complexity.
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