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Upgrading GTX 580 @ 1440p, ~$500 budget

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September 21, 2012 1:55:30 PM

Purchase date: 0-30 days
Usage: Gaming only (The Witcher 2, Guild Wars 2, BF3, Dead Space 2, Crysis 2, etc.)
Current GPU and PSU: EVGA reference GTX 580 (-AR) GPU, Corsair modular AX750 750w Gold-rated PSU
System specs: See sig.
Preferred sites: Newegg, Microcenter, or Amazon
Preferred brands: EVGA for Nvidia (willing to change that for a good non-reference card), don't know enough about AMD cards to have a preferred brand
Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Xfire: Whatever gives me biggest bang for buck
Monitor resolution: 2560x1440 (27" Auria IPS)

Comments: I have a $175 gift card, plus my GTX 580 is worth about $200-250 if I sell. Above that, I don't want to spend beyond $100-150, which puts my total combined budget around $500-550.

I am looking at the best "bang-for-buck" upgrade path for my GPU. Going from a 2048x1152 to 2056x1440 means the GTX 580 can no longer run current games with all the eye candy.

I am not partial to Nvidia or AMD, having owned both in past years. Also am not partial towards single or multi-card solutions.

I would like input on the best option: a second GTX 580 for SLI (run about $300 on Amazon), a single 680 FTW or 7970, or something like dual 7870's.
September 21, 2012 2:09:28 PM

Best bang for buck might be a multi-card solution, but I'd recommend going single card and getting a 7970 GHz edition which really shines at 1440p gaming:

This is the card to get at $450:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It comes back in stock every couple days and then sells out after a day or two because it's the best high end option right now at $450.
September 21, 2012 2:09:50 PM

I think that best bang for your buck is going to come from getting another 580. That would give you the biggest performance boost by far, but you have to deal with SLI, which while I have never had a problem with SLI/Xfire, a lot of people will tell you that a single card setup is best.

In that case, I would go with a 7970 GHz Edition, especially if you want to crank up all the eye candy.
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September 21, 2012 4:26:19 PM

Currently running a visontek reference 7970. Upgraded the bios to a GHZ edition and overclocked as well. Using a Yamakasi Catleap 2560 x 1440 monitor. If you do not mind the noise from the reference cards, these can be found on sale in the 370 range and overclock well.
a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2012 4:55:34 PM

Best bang for buck might not be a second GTX 580, as though only have 1.5GB of VRAM, thats getting might slim for hi res gaming. Heck, Skyrim of all games using the hi end textures and some eye candy mods eats up 1.6GB VRAM at 1920x1080, and Crysis 2 with the DX11 patch, hi res textures and Ultra settings hits about 1.4GB @ 1080.
September 21, 2012 6:05:13 PM

BigMack70 said:
Best bang for buck might be a multi-card solution, but I'd recommend going single card and getting a 7970 GHz edition which really shines at 1440p gaming:

This is the card to get at $450:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It comes back in stock every couple days and then sells out after a day or two because it's the best high end option right now at $450.


Thanks for the reply. How would that stack up at 1440p against two 7870s? Would there be a noticeable gain at that resolution or do you have to jump up to 1600p to really see the 7870s pull ahead?

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a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2012 7:11:14 PM
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Mozart25 said:
Thanks for the reply. How would that stack up at 1440p against two 7870s? Would there be a noticeable gain at that resolution or do you have to jump up to 1600p to really see the 7870s pull ahead?


The HD 7870's will be faster then a single 7970 GHz Ed. but I don't personally think I would go for 2 7870's over a single 7970. I think it's better to get one single high end card to start, and then later on add another. The 7970 also have a much wider memory bus (384bit vs 256bit) and a larger VRAM buffer (3GB vs 2GB) both of which will help performance at 1440P quite a bit. Part of the reason the GTX 580 can't enable all the eye candy you want at 1440P is do to it's relatively small VRAM buffer (1.5GB on most cards, though a few have 3GB). A 3GB GTX 580 wouldn't struggle nearly as much. If you get the 7870's you might find performance lacking compared to even a single 7970 because as games come out they feature more complex techniques that eat up VRAM (Hi Res textures, MSAA, SSAO and Tessellation all chew through VRAM quick). That 7970 Big Mack pointed out is a great card (Truly phenomenal really), but if it was me, I'd just as soon get a non GHz Ed, and overclock it, it'll save you $50-$70 which can immediately go in the budget to buy a second 7970.

September 21, 2012 8:33:30 PM

stant1rm said:
The HD 7870's will be faster then a single 7970 GHz Ed. but I don't personally think I would go for 2 7870's over a single 7970. I think it's better to get one single high end card to start, and then later on add another. The 7970 also have a much wider memory bus (384bit vs 256bit) and a larger VRAM buffer (3GB vs 2GB) both of which will help performance at 1440P quite a bit. Part of the reason the GTX 580 can't enable all the eye candy you want at 1440P is do to it's relatively small VRAM buffer (1.5GB on most cards, though a few have 3GB). A 3GB GTX 580 wouldn't struggle nearly as much. If you get the 7870's you might find performance lacking compared to even a single 7970 because as games come out they feature more complex techniques that eat up VRAM (Hi Res textures, MSAA, SSAO and Tessellation all chew through VRAM quick). That 7970 Big Mack pointed out is a great card (Truly phenomenal really), but if it was me, I'd just as soon get a non GHz Ed, and overclock it, it'll save you $50-$70 which can immediately go in the budget to buy a second 7970.


Thanks for the excellent reply. I suppose to capitalize on such a thing I will need to not wait as long as I did with the 580 before adding the second card (considering the 580 has been out over 22 months now).
a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2012 8:54:11 PM

I don't quite understand what you mean? Do you mean you adding a second HD 7970?
September 21, 2012 9:04:41 PM

stant1rm said:
I think it's better to get one single high end card to start, and then later on add another. . . but if it was me, I'd just as soon get a non GHz Ed, and overclock it, it'll save you $50-$70 which can immediately go in the budget to buy a second 7970.


I'm referring to the fact that it's a little late in the game to pick up a second 580 and get the same bang-for-buck increase, with considerably more capable cards out now, like the 7970.

People often say that if you plan to go SLI/Crossfire, you typically do it quickly or not at all. I am perhaps a good example of that, where I am looking into adding a second GTX 580 a whopping 22 months after the card was released.

If I understand correctly, everyone is advising a single 7970 because of the relatively small increase from a second 580 given the limited Vram and performance due to low clockspeeds (going from 770mhz to 1 GHz on air for two cards would be a challenge), as well as not having to handle the hassles that Crossfire/SLI entails (support, varied benefit of the second card per game, etc.).
a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2012 9:28:36 PM

That's the gist of it. If you were gaming @ 1080 and wanted to pick up some more FPS, then adding a second GTX 580 would be fine. But nVidia kinda handicapped the GTX 580 by giving it only 1.5GB VRAM, whereas my HD 6970 came with 2GB of VRAM, so even though at 1920x1080 trades blows with the GTX 570, it's a more capable card at higher resolutions due it's larger memory buffer.
a c 92 U Graphics card
September 21, 2012 9:55:59 PM

It might be a bit over your budget but 2 7950s are probably the best idea for that resolution.
a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2012 10:03:47 PM

7970 is the best choice. A ton of VRAM, beats the 670/680 at high resolution, and it's about $410-$420. 2x 7950's however, will run the same price, and outperform the 7970, if you're OK with Crossfire.
a b U Graphics card
September 21, 2012 10:11:41 PM

At 1440p, I'd get the 7970, since it performs better at that res.
a b U Graphics card
September 22, 2012 3:54:54 AM

The HD 7970 is pretty much the go to card for hi res / multi monitor gaming, and it has the advantage of being $100 cheaper then the GTX 680, or $40 cheaper if you get the GHz Edition.
September 22, 2012 3:25:51 PM

Best answer selected by Mozart25.
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