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Is it worth it to spend more than $200 on a GPU?

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  • GPUs
  • Build
  • Gaming
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 30, 2013 1:38:50 AM

I've just finished my first gaming build, but it's missing one major part, the GPU. Now I had picked out the 7870 a long time ago as my card, but I'm really starting to wonder, is it actually worth it to spend that much on a GPU? I realize from benchmarks that something like a 7770 isn't going to play new games at higher settings very well, but I'm starting to find myself having a hard time justifying spending $200+ on a GPU that I'll probably have to replace in a few years, anyway. So, is it really worth it to spend so much? I realize this sounds like a strange question and it's also very subjective, I would buy a 7970 in a heartbeat if I had $500 laying around doing nothing, but I'm really looking for a great balance of value vs. performance.

More about : worth spend 200 gpu

a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:41:43 AM

depends what games you play. overall the 7950/7870 are best bang for buck cards 7870 more so.
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a b U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
January 30, 2013 1:45:33 AM

Yes it is. 7870 is a good balance of performance and power. When you go over $300 is when you see diminishing returns. The 7770 is not that great for gaming. Also it depends on what cpu you have too since there might be a bottleneck (not likely though).
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January 30, 2013 1:48:03 AM

the 7850 is realy the lowest you want to go amd wise. the best all around graphics card for the money is undoubtedly the Gtx 670, being 1% faster at most factory OC's then the 100 dollar more expensive Gtx 680 at reference clocks. its still $380, and may not fit in your budget.

On topic, dont go lower then 7850, if you can get it, Gtx 670.
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 1:50:27 AM

Well, a HD7870 can pretty much run everything on Ultra at 1080p right now, so I would think that's at least the starting point for a serious gamer.

Think of it like this. You buy a cheaper GPU, you will be behind the ball already, and you will again be wondering if you should spend more on an upgrade. Therefore, getting something faster will give you peace of mind, at least for a while.
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January 30, 2013 1:50:28 AM

plan and simple hell yes it is..
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a b U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
January 30, 2013 1:57:11 AM

It really depends what your goals are? Like do you want to max out every games or you don't mind lowering some settings even if it sacrifices how the game looks a little bit? One important detail you didn't state what resolution and what games you'll be playing. Sometimes a 250$ card can be overkill and in a another scenario it won't be enough, it really depends what you plan to do with it.

In my case I usually spend around 200$ on a mid-range card and change every 2 years (roughly). I could also spend 400$ or 500$ on a high-end card and keep it 4 years instead (which would be pretty much the same). I think spending less wouldn't do it for me because my resolution is 1920 x 1200 and I like to max out all my games, I play first-person shooters mostly which are a demanding type of game. But that's just me, your story might be different. If money is a factor a friend of mine likes to purchase second hand cards, I don't know if you ever considered this you can get great deals.
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a c 249 U Graphics card
a c 251 4 Gaming
January 30, 2013 2:00:13 AM

Is it worth it to spend $20 on a steak meal than $2 on a Big Mac ?

As with your question, it depends on what you feel is adequate to provide the experience you are looking for.

Here's some cost per frame numbers from TechpowerUp (costs are based upon lowest newegg price from any of the Big 4 major vendors (Asus, EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte)

Alan Wake, AvP, Batman Arkham City, BF3, BattleForge, COD4, Civilization 5, Crysis. Crysis 2, Dirt 3, Dragon Age II, Hard Reset, Metro 2033, Stalker CoP, Starcraft 2, Shogun 2, Skyrim, WoW, Diablo II, Max Payne 3, Sniper Elite V2

660 Ti gets 1387.41 fps for $270 at a cost of $0.19 per frame
660 Ti DCII gets 1468.2 fps for $280 at a cost of $0.19 per frame
7870 gets 1236.6 fps for $250 at a cost of $0.20 per frame
7950 gets 1348.2 fps for $290 at a cost of $0.22 per frame

If ya willing to use Saphire or XFX Radeons, those prices come down a bit to $0.21 for the 7950 and $0.17 for the 7870. I have always stayed w/ the Big 4 but if they continue to maintain these prices, I'm likely to be tempted in the near future.
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January 30, 2013 2:36:59 AM

I ussually trick it with lower resolution and a mid tier card. So if the mainstream is 1080p, i only use 900p monitor. This helps me a lot when i have to deal with heavy games, then i still get the same performance like a high end card. So it's about you.. high-end card will last longer, mid-end card will last half-longer (and more longer with my trick), doesnt matter in overall, both will give you the same economical state.
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January 30, 2013 2:54:39 AM

I just built a new gaming PC a month ago and I bought a GTX 670. I have a 1920x1080 resolution monitor and I run a lot of the games that JackNaylorPE listed at 60 FPS and above. So I would recommend that GPU highly.

Also, one option you can do that I plan on doing and I've heard of other people doing is to buy the more expensive nice GPU and then keep an eye on the price of the model you bought. Wait for a newer model or next gen GPU to come out and for the price to drop on the GPU you bought. Then pick up a second one for a decreased price. Although, this in the end will end up costing you around 400$ to 500$ish more. Of course, you'll also need an SLI or Crossfire ready motherboard. However, you'll basically double your GPU power and save some cash in the long run by not having to upgrade as quickly. You'll also have to have some patience while waiting for price drops and looking for the best time to buy the second card for this option to really pay off.

Again this is a more expensive option but it is just another way of looking at how to save some money in the long run.
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a b U Graphics card
January 30, 2013 2:55:24 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
Is it worth it to spend $20 on a steak meal than $2 on a Big Mac ?

As with your question, it depends on what you feel is adequate to provide the experience you are looking for.



That's a bit extreme of an analogy. 7850 vs 7950 is more like Sirloin vs Ribeye. Both can be done very well and a good steak is a good steak. But the Ribeye is just a little more refined and a better experience.

It's not like the OP was talking 6450 vs 7970.


As for worth, that's way too personal and depends on needs, wants and budget. If you are running 1080p, I'd say you want at least a 7870 or GTX660. But if you are willing to run a lower resolution, then a 7770 or 650 Ti is great. Diminishing returns kick in past those $230 cards, but some people have no problem paying an extra $100-200 for the best experience. It's like buying a BMW over a Honda. Honda is a great car, but it's not a BMW.

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a c 105 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
January 30, 2013 3:28:10 AM

the 7870 is the current value champ, right up there with the 7950 and sometimes the 660ti...

Your question is a loaded one OP. If you're gaming in 720p, even an A10 will hit 60fps on max or close to max settings. If you're gaming in 1080p a 7870 is the lowest card you'll want to nab, and really is, as another poster said, the starting point for a serious gamer.

so the short answer is... if you're gaming in less then 1080p, then yes. 200 is too much as in some cases even a lowly 6670 will max out the settings on most games. If you're gaming in HD, then NO, 200 isn't too much... as the 7870 will be the minimum GPU you'll need for a kick butt experience. If you're adding more then one monitor, then you'll likely need to spend even more.
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a b U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
January 30, 2013 3:30:35 AM

it actually depends on you. personally yes it is, i've been using mid range cards for some time now. here's my history
7900gs - 8800gt - gtx 260 - 560Ti - gtx 670

the most expensive is the 670 that im using now
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January 30, 2013 6:09:16 AM

If you are a gamer all the time you should go for what everyone mentioned. As for me now still stick to my ATI Radeon EAH 4670 and 4850 as the games I play only like Dota or old games. I seldom spend a lot time on my computer.
However, I did frequently like around 16 months upgrade my processor. Soon I will have my Core i5 3470 ready but I will keep my 4670 while waiting for the AMD 8*** series. It is all depend on you. Good luck!
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February 1, 2013 3:06:04 AM

So the general consensus is that it is worth it?

Ok, so my CPU should not be a limiting factor, it's a Core i5 3570k (getting it for $150 is one thing that's putting me off spending so much on a GPU) with a Z75 board (which doesn't support Crossfire/SLI) and I have a SeaSonic SSR-550RM, so I should be fine for most single GPUs. I do a lot of gaming and I do like to play a lot of demanding games, maxing things out isn't a requirement, but... the more eye-candy I get, the more I find myself wanting even more.

Games I would like to play include, BF3/4, ArmA II/II, Skyrim (heavily modded, can't play vanilla Beth games anymore, I'm playing Fallout right now with around 50 mods including an ENB and hi-res textures), Metro 2033/Last Light and who knows what else that I might pick up during a Steam sale or such. I'm playing at 1360x768 right now, but I plan to get a new monitor or TV soon after getting my GPU, so I'll likely be playing at 1920x108 or maybe even higher, but probably 1080p.

Thanks for all the comments, btw!
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a b U Graphics card
February 1, 2013 4:35:44 PM

With those details, you "need" at least a 7870 or a GTX660, and would probably recommending going 7950 or GTX670.

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February 1, 2013 4:50:21 PM

wolfkraut said:
So the general consensus is that it is worth it?

Ok, so my CPU should not be a limiting factor, it's a Core i5 3570k (getting it for $150 is one thing that's putting me off spending so much on a GPU) with a Z75 board (which doesn't support Crossfire/SLI) and I have a SeaSonic SSR-550RM, so I should be fine for most single GPUs. I do a lot of gaming and I do like to play a lot of demanding games, maxing things out isn't a requirement, but... the more eye-candy I get, the more I find myself wanting even more.

Games I would like to play include, BF3/4, ArmA II/II, Skyrim (heavily modded, can't play vanilla Beth games anymore, I'm playing Fallout right now with around 50 mods including an ENB and hi-res textures), Metro 2033/Last Light and who knows what else that I might pick up during a Steam sale or such. I'm playing at 1360x768 right now, but I plan to get a new monitor or TV soon after getting my GPU, so I'll likely be playing at 1920x108 or maybe even higher, but probably 1080p.

Thanks for all the comments, btw!


1.) Just a head's up, you're not going to be running Metro at max settings with anything discussed so far, even just at 1920x1080.

2.) You really need to go for the 670 with those games. Try finding a good deal on Amazon rather than limiting to yourself to one website where they're all $400-420. The FTW edition cards by EVGA have great reviews, and are supposedly higher quality silicon (I can't provide sources so take it with a grain of salt).

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a c 105 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
February 1, 2013 9:42:43 PM

the 7950/7970 or 670/680 will be what you need to look at to play metro at those levels.
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