The last graphics card I bought was in 2005 and came with my current pc which I bought to play Everquest 2. It was an AMD, and when I would start EQ2 the game would quickly crash, and I was unable to resolve the problem by updating drivers. I then replaced it with an Nvidia, and the game worked fine. I've been leery of AMD card ever since, but I'm willing to give them a try again.
I'm slowly building a new pc for mmorpg gaming, and have been researching graphics cards in the $200 - $250 price range. There are two cards that seem to be good choices, the Nvidia Geforce GTX and the AMD Radeon 7870. They perform about the same according to benchmarks, with one or the other slightly ahead depending on the game.
I read an article recently comparing two similar cards, the GTX 660ti and the Radeon 7950, which concluded that the Nvidia was superior due to latency issues with the 7950.
My question is this: is it safe to assume that this would apply to the two cards I'm considering as well?
Are there any other considerations I should keep in mind?
The 7870 being slightly more expensive also provides better framerates. The GTX 660 settles somewhere between the 7850 and the 7870. If your building your rig for strictly MMORPG's then whatever's cheaper is the best bet.
You say your price range is $200 - $250. The majority of GTX 660 Ti's are just another $15-$20 and would provide a lot of performance and very good bang for the buck.
7870 seems to do better by a slim margin. However, I'm looking at a 44 dollar difference between the cheapest 7870 vs. cheapest 660 on pcpartpicker.com. So slightly better, 44 dollars cheaper...yeah. Stick with the 7870. I've never had an issue with Radeons since I bought the very first one(radeon 64)..
It's not safe to assume that the latency issues would be the same between the 660 and 7870, because that article is really the only one of its kind that has been done recently. It's just not enough data - not nearly enough - to draw generalized conclusions. Also, AMD has stated that the latency issues will be fixed in an upcoming driver update. I wouldn't let the article sway you too much either way.
AMD said the same thing back in 2011 when Tech Report first approached them about it. How much longer is it going to take? They do need to test more cards, but they re-ran all these tests and confirmed the results. And considering the fact that the same GPU was delivering inconsistent performance in previous reviews (on older drivers) and is now silky smooth consistent would suggest a driver-based fix. If that's the case, it seems very unlikely the fix would target one GPU specifically rather than all Keplers (or at least mid/high-end Keplers).
And yeah, Gigabyte are a solid choice, though I'd definitely take the EVGA. Gigabyte are known for being prone to coil whine. I've never owned a Gigabyte graphics card, so couldn't say first hand. I do have a Gigabyte mobo though and that gets coil whine.
Let's assume just for the sake of argument that TechReport's article on latency is correct *and* that it applies to the two cards I'm considering. What would the result be to the end user, i.e. what what I actually experience?
I know one of the regulars on here actually sold his 7870 because of stutter and switched to the GTX660 Ti instead, really happy with his new card. It does vary a lot by game and by the particular part of the game too (Tech Report also has articles that examine that specifically - variations within games in frame latency).
As for the generalisations, I do agree that Tech Report needs to get on with more testing (other tech media sites are going to start this testing, but probably won't bother re-reviewing existing hardware so we'll see it when new serieses launch). What I said about a driver-based fix though is a good argument for it being more likely (not guaranteed, but definitely more likely) to apply to all Kepler cards than one specific model in the range. GTX660 Ti performance on older drivers was no more stable/consistent than that of the Radeons, so I'm not sure what else could have changed the situation other than drivers?