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670 vs 680 for a long-lasting system

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 5, 2013 12:27:59 AM

Hello.
I am looking at purchasing an nVidia graphics card for my new build. I am a heavy gamer, and the remainder of my build is as follows:

MOBO: Asus Maximus V Gene
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 1600
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K
FAN: Noctua DH-14
CASE: Phantom 410
PSU: SeaSonic 850w
HDD: 2x Corsair Neutron 240GB - RAID 0
Monitor --- Asus PA238Q -- 1920x1080

I am looking specifically for an nVidia card to see how well they run, the last gaming system I had was running the Radeon Mobility HD 3870X2 setup... they were decent, but I wasn't impressed with their feature set or their driver support, and I've heard that the Green Team is generally much better on drivers.

Here are some of the main games I play:
Mass Effect Series
Borderlands Series
Fallout New Vegas -- heavily modded
Skyrim -- heavily modded
Dragon Age
The Witcher

Love RPG's and strategy, willing to try most other types of games, looking to use my system with minimal upgrades for about 4 or 5 years.

The 680 I am considering is the MSI Lightning for its overclocking potential. I am planning on heavily overclocking the remainder of my system as well, if that makes any difference. As for the 670, if you feel that is a better choice, please recommend a good make/model for me that will last for a while, only a potential SLI of another within the next few years. Thank you!!
January 5, 2013 2:15:49 AM

Keep in mind the mods you use in games eat up VRAM like no other- something that just isn't Nvidia's strong suit atm.
Overclocking tends to favor AMD as well (from what I've seen) if you can get a card with unlocked voltage. Keep in mind that all Nvidia cards now-a-days are voltage locked, which will hamper a bit your OC'ing headroom.
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 2:30:00 AM

With a 670 I would go with the 4 gigabyte model of the ASUS 670 DirectCU II card. Most stock cards from nvidia are as snoogins as suggested not enough as AMD comes stock with 3 gigabytes but that isn't to say you can't do better then 2 they make 4 gigabyte cards. ASUS cards are quiet perform well and stay pretty cool. It would also go quite nice with your asus board and it would match not that many care but I care about that stuff :) . I feel the difference between the 670 and the 680 is quite small and I wouldn't pay the extra for a 680 given that.

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

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January 5, 2013 2:51:31 AM

...You guys really think a 7970 is worth it? I'm a bit leery of ATI/AMD due to my experience with the 3870 being much slower than I expected mostly due to the drivers, as far as I'm aware... The reason I'm leaning more toward nVidia is since I've yet to use an nVidia card (at least a high-end one, I had a 210 in one of my laptops, but whatever...)
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 2:57:50 AM

You would be fine either way sir. You could get a 7970 and be fine. AMD cards historically have done better with Skyrim. HOWEVER! With you playing borderlands games probably 2 I would suspect I would go with a 680 and if you needed the extra ram because of Skyrim you could get the 4 gigabyte card and bet fat and happy :) 


Borderlands 2 (it makes a world of difference I have a 670 and it definitely shows using physx)
AMD (NO PHYSX) NVIDIA (PHYSX)
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a c 185 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 2:58:02 AM

It's personal preference i would not buy the 7970 others would it's not a bad card if that is what you are asking.
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January 5, 2013 2:59:30 AM

Oh... and I haven't tried using many hi-res texture mods yet... I'm not thinking of going all overboard with the 2048... I'd try the 1024's and see if I like em... don't see the point of the 2048's when my monitor is 1920x1080... but anyway...
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 3:01:42 AM

IF you don't plan on going to heavy into mods with Skyrim then I would just stick to a 2 GB card :)  if you want breathing room the 4gb
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January 5, 2013 3:01:59 AM

oh, something else, dual slot cards are preferable since I'm using a mATX board... would love to leave room for SLI, since that's all I'm planning on doing to give the video the extra umph about a couple years down the road.
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January 5, 2013 3:07:45 AM

So, bigshootr, it sounds like you're saying my MSI Lightning is a good choice, since it's a 680, 2 gigs, can be overvolted, and has been documented at running at 1350 on it's own air cooler? I heard you say 680 since I mentioned Borderlands and 2 gigs'd be okay since I'm not going crazy with hi-res texture mods...
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 3:09:16 AM

OH yea easy my 670 kicks borderlands 2 tail! The lightning card would be a good choice sure if you are willing to pay the cost of the card yes you would be golden sir.
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January 5, 2013 3:16:20 AM

wow... 16x AA with adaptive and 16x AF at 1680x1050 and little to no lag... You have that card OC'd or in SLI at all?
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 3:17:28 AM

Its a 670OC from gigabyte yea. At the time I had a 1680x1050 I'm using a 1920x1080 display now a ASUS PB238Q IPS panel. Similar frames a little drop not much though.
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January 5, 2013 3:22:07 AM

Okay... think I'm set on the Lightning and I swear I'll RMA the dang thing if I don't hit 1250 with it, LOL
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January 5, 2013 3:22:33 AM

Best answer selected by rpgmaster1532.
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 3:27:09 AM

1250 what sorry :p  And you'll be fine sir ha! The 680 will do the job just fine.
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January 5, 2013 3:28:21 AM

Heh, just found a HardOCP review that said they hit 1400 core and 7 Ghz RAM with the Lightning
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January 5, 2013 3:29:12 AM

and I mean if it doesn't hit 1250 megahertz then I swear I'll return it, LOL... especially seeing as how it can hit 1400... 40% overclock above stock... pretty good
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a c 133 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 3:33:38 AM

Oh yea it should be able to be overclocked 100 mhz easy. I think you are pretty set on that there.
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a c 185 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 4:10:35 AM

Your welcome!
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a c 85 U Graphics card
January 5, 2013 4:22:08 AM

Can I just say that 4GB of VRAM is useless unless in a SLI setup powering 3 monitors? VRAM doesn't make the card faster; it just stores the images being displayed.

Also, there's not much point in the 680 - it's only about 5% faster than a 670, and that goes down to about 3% after overclocking... for a card that's $100 more expensive. That doesn't seem worth it.

EDIT: Ignore this, sorry. I saw the best answer had already been selected and was talking about a 4GB 680, and wanted to save the OP a fair bundle of wasted money.
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