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I Need a new GFX card (Previous sucks) for high-res & modern shooters

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 25, 2013 9:59:47 PM

Hi everyone!

(For those that don't want to read the following)

BUDGET RANGE: Up to $500 maybe? I'm a college student so I'm low on funds.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080
CURRENT GPU: Radeon 7770 1GB (1x - my 2nd is dead after a driver update in crossfire mode?)
CPU: AMD FX-8150 Eight-Core Processor (8x 3.6GHz)
RAM: 16384MB RAM (RIPJAW DDR3 4x4GB)
MOBO: GA-970A-UD3 (Updated to new ver. F7)
PSU: ATX 700W PSU

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S): Newegg (Really whatever you prefer)

[Now for the story bit if anyone wants to read about my plight and questions]

I've been running a Crossfire (Two Card) configuration recently and just hit some serious problems. I was using 2 "AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB" graphics cards in crossfire mode - and was getting "Decent" FPS ($100 card) for medium-tier games like CS:GO.

The problem is that whenever I try to update the cards... I get a BSOD. Also, some games BSOD'd without the latest drivers. (As well as an explorer.exe crash) So I really needed to update. I FINALLY got the newest drivers - by removing my second graphics card and going with one.

So now I really need a new card - a single one (since 1x lets me update) that is powerful enough to handle modern games like BF3, Skyrim, etc.

Would this one be overkill? Best AMD choice possible? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Would it be bottlenecked?

My PC Specs:

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a b U Graphics card
January 25, 2013 10:04:01 PM

FX-8150 can handle a single 7970.
Problem is BF3 and Skyrim in particular favor Intel CPUs by quite a margin though, with AMD catching up in BF3 with their latest FX-8350.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-8350-core-i7-377...

Either way, 7970 will be a massive upgrade over 7770, even in CrossFire.
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January 25, 2013 10:11:10 PM

Thank you for the extremely quick post - and the useful information.

That's okay I suppose... I have Battlefield 3 + Premium on the XBOX 360 (of course it is nowhere as awesome as the PC), but I was just using Skyrim/BF3 as a benchmark for my next card. (Due to the large amount of entities, destruction, or players/npcs/items on the screen at one time) :) 


Overall, a 7970 could run most modern games, though...? It would just be my CPU that wouldn't be 100% excellent? Also, what kind of conflict would that cause? (The game prefers Intel w/ a good card... I arrive with AMD w/ a good card)?

Thanks again! :) 

-Rob
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a b U Graphics card
January 25, 2013 10:29:42 PM

7970 is pretty much the most powerful card you can get at the moment. Thing with your FX-8150 is that it's got poor IPC performance which translates into poor per core performance and ultimately into not so stellar game performance (only in few select games thought, mainly Skyrim) compared to Intel's offerings.

Vast majority of the games don't use more than 2-3 threads, and your CPU has 8, equally powerful cores/threads which makes it rather underutilized in gaming.
Intel's i5 3570K has 4 cores/threads with a lot more single threaded performance thanks to its higher IPC performance, so even though your 8 C/T CPU might outmuscle i5 in heavily threaded workload, it stays quite a bit behind in workloads that don't utilize more than 4 threads, i.e. games.

That situation, kind of, got better with FX-8350 as you can see in the article I linked in my previous post, but it's still far from desired when it comes to games such as Skyrim, which luckily for AMD, aren't many.

All in all, you shouldn't really worry about your CPU since it's powerful enough to run any game at 60FPS, at the moment, in standard gaming setups, i.e. no triple screen shenanigans.
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January 25, 2013 10:49:55 PM

Dang, you reply QUICK with solid answers. I'm giving you best answer haha :p 

Last questions:

When you said games "Like skyrim" - does this mean Far Cry 3 as well? (I heard that one favored AMD but just to be sure)... Or do you just mean it depends on how they're structured (Built on a certain type of PC for that type of PC)

Also, (to go hand in hand with this discussion on what it can't run as well as Intel)... Do the new AMD drivers (Control center, display drivers, audio, etc. - all the stuff in the suite) fix this?

For example... This is the new 13.1 drivers released like a week ago or so:

  1. Performance gains seen on the entire AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series:
  2. All game were tested at high / extreme / ultra levels
  3. Enhanced performance in Far Cry 3 (up to 25% with 8xMSAA, SSAO enabled @ 1600p, and up to 15% with 8xMSAA, HDAO enabled @1600p) (AMD Catalyst 12.11 CAP2 must also be installed)
  4. Enhanced AMD CrossFire™ scaling performance in Call of Duty Black Ops 2
  5. Up to 10%-15% more performance in Battlefield 3 in most cases
  6. More than 20% in certain missions and sequences (Comrades)
  7. Up to 7% more performance in Metro 2033
  8. Up to 10% more performance in DiRT Showdown
  9. Up to 8% more performance in Sleeping Dogs
  10. Up to 12% more performance in Civilization V
  11. Up to 10% more performance in StarCraft II
  12. Up to 8% more performance in Sniper Elite: V2
  13. Up to 5% more performance in Max Payne 3
  14. AMD Catalyst Mobility 7970M performance for AMD Enduro™ technology supported platforms has been improved for DirectX® 9, DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications:
  15. 3DMark® 06 – Up to 6%
  16. 3DMark Vantage – Up to 15%
  17. 3DMark 11 – Up to 12%
  18. AvP – Up to 11%
  19. Battlefield 3 – Up to 25%
  20. Call of Duty: Black Ops – Up to 13%
  21. Crysis 2: Up to 45%
  22. DiRT Showdown – Up to 62%
  23. ETQW – Up to 8%
  24. Hard Reset – Up to 8%
  25. Just Cause 2 – Up to 90%
  26. Mafia 2 – Up to 40%
  27. The Chronicles of Riddick – Up to 4%
  28. Shogun 2 – Up to 56%
  29. StarCraft 2 – Up to 25%
  30. Skyrim – Up to 45%
  31. Sniper Elite V2 – Up to 60%
  32. Tom Clancy’s HAWX – Up to 56%
  33. Unigine Heaven – Up to 33%
  34. Wolfenstein – Up to 9%


I think I'll grab that card. $400... and I don't see why I'd need to upgrade from that for a while!
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a b U Graphics card
January 25, 2013 11:01:24 PM

I'm pretty certain that Far Cry 3 is a GPU hog, but with the latest Catalyst driver in conjunction with application profiles it performs a lot better since the original release, so 7970 should be able to handle it fairly decent as long as you don't turn every single graphic option to max (if you like near constant 60 fps that is).

Edit: Found a video of 13.1 benchmark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ppa-z55cyM
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January 25, 2013 11:07:45 PM

Best answer selected by Land-Shark.
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