As you can see, "lower" quality cards are clocking higher than their more expensive and "higher" quality counterparts.
Also, I am clueless when it comes to brands for GPU's.
The GPU is the last part of my system build I need to decide on, so any help with picking out the right one (or a few great ones with varying prices for me to select from) would be massively appreciated.
Please don't post the standard "drop heirarchy here, ask for uprate" post, I've seen it, I learn nothing from it, I can count and would have drawn more or less the same conclusions if it were that simple.
you need to give us more information for us to pick out a new gpu for you....tell us what cpu, motherboard and power supply you have at the least...also what is your budget? is this a pre-built system or are you putting it together yourself?
http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/1796/compfinalminusg... is the current build so far, without the GPU ofc. Depending on how well the card and the rest of the build complement one another I suppose my budget on a GPU could be as high as 255$, but obviously we're looking for the best bang for the buck and not just looking for the straight fastest clocked GPU. I'm looking for performance, speed, and life-time - nothing that's going to burn up too fast. I listed AMD GPU's here as my research thus far has suggested they are they superior models, but should I be misinformed, feel free to note so, with your GPU suggestions.
Clockspeeds are only comparable on the same chip.
Higher clocks on the same chip = higher performance.
Higher clocks on different chips can go both ways.
It all depends on how many operations can be performed per cycle for that particular chip. If a chip can perform 10 operations per cycle and runs 10 cycles per second (100 ops./sec.) it is better than a chip that can run 9 operations per cycle and 11 cycles per second (99 ops./sec.).
This is why hierarchies are the best ways to sort out which is the best performance.
It's like looking at cars and comparing engines. One car's engine is rated at 300 horse-power and another cars engine is rated at 600 goat-power. Going for the higher number doesn't mean higher power...
As an example... the HD 7770 Ghz edition runs at 1 Ghz and has 1.28 Tflops...
compare that to the HD 7970 Ghz edition that runs at 1 Ghz but has 4.3 Tflops!
In all honesty... The Sapphire is 5-8% faster, in other words you won't see any noticeable difference in performance between the two... Look at the cooler design and see which offes better cooling. In the end, I'd go with the one that has the better warranty/customer service.
The Sapphire is the Ghz edititon... meaning it is factory overclocked to around 1 ghz... athough it can be taken to 1.2 Ghz fairly easily http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/sapph...
but... Asus has better brand recognition/customer service.
My only concern with pre-clocked gpu's and I suppose overclocking in general is the % performance increase vs the heat increase and subsequent lifetime decrease. How off setting is OC & will my rig need liquid cooling/additional fans?
getting a pre overclocked card vs. stock card will not mean that you need to get water cooling in your rig....it may mean you need more case fans depending on your cooling setup now...if you have half way decent cooling in your case right now you should be fine.
The case is other part of the rig I have yet to select. I was suggested the Coolmaster HAF912 ATX, but others have suggested otherwise, that while the HAF912 is a decent budget case, it will be too loud when supporting this set-up and so I was suggested the following 3:
Performance One P280 ATXmd
NZXT Technologies H2 Classic Silent Midtower Chassis CS-NT-H2-W (White)
I am still uncertain which to purchase, and how many extra fans will be necessary.