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Graphics Card Conundrum

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 24, 2012 4:28:47 PM

Hey guys, I have recently started to order parts for my new gaming computer, and had a few questions. First, let me start by giving you my system's specs:
Motherboard- ASUS Sabertooth z77
CPU- Intel i5 3570k
RAM- Corsair Vengeance 8gb
HDD- WD Caviar Black 1TB
PSU- Corsair HX650

All of my gaming will be done on a single 1680x1050 monitor, with plans to upgrade to 1920x1080 in the future, but I will largely use a single monitor. Now, onto my question, one that many of you guys have heard, but I thought I would ask it here because this community doesn't seem to have many biases: Radeon 7970 (The Gigabyte Windforce one), or the GTX 670 (MSI PE)? Or, forget those two cards, and get a 7950 and go crazy Overclocking it?

Are things like Adaptive Vsync, the new AA modes, and PhysX real game-changers, or are they novelties? (Does PhysX give you big performance hits?) I'm also worried about the smaller memory bus that the 670 has (It's why I've ruled out the 660Ti), and it not being able to keep up with games coming out in the next few years. I've heard that the 7950 can overclock faster than a 670, but the features nVidia has on the 670 is really making it hard for me to decide. Do I need a 7970 if I'm only using one monitor? I just want a card that''ll last me a few years before upgrading, and give me good performance while playing games like CoD, Battlefield 3, and other such FPS games.

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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2012 4:37:10 PM

somethings before getting a GPU,

-do not buy a sabertooth. its a z77-vpro but with a plastic shell that increases thermals.
-black drives dont perform better than a blue. or a seagate
-get a xfx 550w for the psu if you are not to do SLI in the future. no reason to spend so much on a psu that is not much better

adaptive vsync is nice when you get tearing from going above your monitors refresh rate. physx is a game changer in borderlands 2 but thats about it.

at 1080p, memory bandwidth and vram for the most part doesnt affect much. at higher resolutions is where it starts

there has also been a article that talks about the 7950 vs the 660ti. the 7950 performs better, but the 660ti is more stable. most people wont notice much but some will

id get a msi gtx 670 PE. its 359.99 after a MIR from what i know. if you want to spend less, go to newegg and pick up a sapphire 7950 boost for 279.99 after a MIR from what i know. you can obviously overclock
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December 24, 2012 4:42:03 PM

Thanks for the help! I was really a bit on the fence about the Sabertooth, so I guess I'll switch that up (Any good MoBo recommendations?), along with the PSU and Hard drive. Right now I'm leaning a bit towards the 670.
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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2012 5:06:05 PM

heck ill provide a build
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/tVAs

-i chose the extreme4 motherboard since i doubt that you can actually use all of the ports provided by a z77-vpro
-corsair ram doesnt perform better than others. so i chose something that is cheaper
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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2012 6:37:23 PM

just be carefull if getting a gigabyte card

my new revision Gigabyte Windforce 7970 has been voltage locked by gigabyte

so you cant overclock as much as nothing i tried will let you increase the voltage

they didnt announce they were doing this

and dont know if they have done it to any of their other cards

its still a great card--but for what it cost i am annoyed they did this without telling anyone

gigabyte support confirmed they have done it but wouldnt say why or offer any way to reverse it
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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2012 6:46:18 PM

pretty much all nvidia cards are locked down. msi used to do it, just hope to get one of the older batches
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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2012 6:52:54 PM

this is an amd card though--and all the web reviews before i bought it showed it as voltage unlocked

so gigabyte must have been getting a lot of returns and decided to voltage lock them

fair enough if they had advertised that they did it but they didnt tell anyone about it

and my asus nvidia gtx570 wasnt voltage locked
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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2012 6:57:04 PM

the 600 series were locked.

i doubt it. pretty sure gigabyte started to lock it when some users started to fry their cards from excessive voltage
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December 24, 2012 9:46:36 PM

Now the 7970 is starting to lose some of its appeal thanks to it being locked...
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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2012 10:01:40 PM

i would hope not

whats that cost?

about £850 or something?

its now xmas day in the uk so merry xmas :D 
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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2012 10:14:45 PM

mcnumpty23 said:
i would hope not

whats that cost?

about £850 or something?

its now xmas day in the uk so merry xmas :D 



Hi :) 

I paid around £700 for mine (trade) but they usually sell for around £760 to £800 retail.... and I am still considering a second one but cannot find a review before I decide....lol

And yes, Happy Christmas to you and all others :) 

All the best Brett :) 
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a b U Graphics card
December 24, 2012 10:36:30 PM

+1 to Troll's first post. PhysX can make a huge difference in the games that support it - Borderlands 2 is way better with it. There's a few big titles with PhysX now - Metro 2033, Bulletstorm, Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. We'll probably see a lot more moving forward. The articles Troll's talking about are these:

http://techreport.com/review/23981/radeon-hd-7950-vs-ge...

http://techreport.com/review/24022/does-the-radeon-hd-7...

I wouldn't focus too much on the inconsistency of the Radeon here - that's been pretty standard for both GeForces and Radeons in the past. What's significant is how consistently silky smooth the framerate delivery on the GeForce is now, and that's most likely the result of driver improvements (since the same hardware on older drivers was comparable to the Radeon results there). Since it's probably drivers, it's likely applicable to the GTX670 also.

Adaptive v-sync is also a real game changer. I don't know what your current knowledge of v-sync is, but basic v-sync is supported on both Radeons and GeForces (so any card can prevent tearing) however if your framerate drops below the monitor's refresh rate, you take a huge performance hit with basic v-sync. If a frame can't be rendered in 16.6 milliseconds (so if you can't do 60fps), it has to be held over to the next refresh cycle, meaning you drop to 30fps (refresh rate / 2). As a result, where your card might be capable of 50-55fps, you'll be getting 30fps.

What adaptive v-sync does is simply disable itself when you drop below 60fps, so that up to 60, your framerate is totally unrestricted, and then held at 60 like basic v-sync would to prevent tearing. You can read more about it here:

http://hardocp.com/article/2012/04/16/nvidia_adaptive_v...

"With Adaptive VSync turned on, the feeling of the game felt smoother compared to regular VSync turned on. The performance felt much like the game felt with VSync turned off. This is the kind of technology we like to see which has improved the innate nature of the gameplay experience. If all you need is 60 FPS in a game for it to be playable, then why not just go ahead and cap the game there so it doesn't exceed your refresh rate. Then, if the game has to fall below that, allow the game to perform at its real-time actual framerate, and Adaptive VSync allows that. It really is the best of all worlds, with no drawbacks. We didn't find any negatives to using Adaptive VSync, and we tried it out in a handful of games."
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December 25, 2012 2:36:49 AM

I am drooling over that 7990 :o .Thanks for the great answers (Especially sam! That was really helpful), and merry Christmas to all! I have decided to get the 670, but before this thread is closed, I had one more question about the motherboard. Both come from Gigabyte, and I will link them below to Newegg's product page:

UD5H-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
D3H-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The UD5H seems to be better for expansion, because it has more PCI Express 3.0 slots, but I don't really plan on going SLI, because, well, I don't really need it (There is always a small chance). The D3H is approved by Tom's Hardware, if that means anything, and is a bit cheaper, but I don't want to lose too much performance over the $40 price difference. If you have a suggestion for the $180ish price range, feel free to post! Once again, thanks for all the help guys! This community is really noob friendly!
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a b U Graphics card
December 25, 2012 1:44:34 PM

they have the same amount of slots. the only difference between the boards is that the ud5h has a beefier power design and way more ports than what you can acutally use
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December 25, 2012 7:06:24 PM

Best answer selected by Slash18.
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