Ok, I’ve been doing a bit of research on the Nvidia 600 cards as opposed to the AMD 7000 series cards. Both seem to be solid with each having its advantages and disadvantages. For those looking for a card to last them for up to maybe 2 years or so, it seems that either brand would be a pretty solid investment. However, for those looking to eek out a bit more time from their cards, it’s increasingly difficult to decide which card will provide the most longevity beyond the next 2 years. Now no one reasonably expects to run the same hardware forever. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want a 3-4 year shelf life before considering an upgrade (especially with the possibility of SLIing or Crossfiring a second card at cheaper prices down the road to up gpu power when needed).
With DX 11 and directcompute in the picture and more game engines beginning to employ directcompute for certain tasks, the question becomes how significant of a role will directcompute play in future titles over the next 3-5 years? If you’re thinking of purchasing a video card now, should you only concern yourself with performance in current games, or concern yourself with future titles which may employ more directcompute features?
Most of the reviews I’ve read suggest that most AMD 7000 series cards completely crush Nvidia 600 cards in the directcompute category. In fact, the 500 series Nvidia cards generally pull ahead of the 600 series Nvidia cards in the area of gpgpu computing. With a few exceptions here and there, such as compute shader fluid simulation and OpenCL based AES encryption, the 600 series of cards from Nvidia seem to be a complete failure in the gpgpu category.
So this raises a couple of questions on my part which I hope someone more knowledgeable may be able to answer. With the advent of new consoles likely to be engineered based on DX 11 technology (which means they may employ directcompute functionality a bit more), we may see an increase in titles that use gpgpu direct computing techniques to render stuff onscreen. If that happens, it appears the current generation of Nvidia hardware may have its performance severely crippled over the next couple of years as these games are ported to PC.
So here are the questions:
How soon do you think direct gpu computing techniques will be significant enough that gamers will need a card capable of solid performance in this area in order to allow a nice performance to eye candy ratio? (< 2 years or maybe >3 years?)
Given that Nvidia’s cards do seem to perform well enough in some areas involving gpgpu computing, could this be a compiler/driver optimization issue which may be resolved with future driver releases, or is it more likely a hardware limitation that cannot and will not be overcome? (After all, AMD released new driver and firmware updates to help improve the performance of their cards relative to the Nvidia 600 series cards.)
I thought these two websites were interesting. The first one is from early 2012 and clearly shows AMD’s hardware trouncing Nvidia hardware in most direct compute type applications.
The second website is more recent and simply shows the Passmark directcompute performance of a bunch of GPUs. On this list which was updated just a short time ago, it seems to show the 600 series Nvidia cards performing much better in the direct compute department. The 680 still loses to the 7970, but not by a large margin. I’m not sure what Passmark is testing in terms of directcompute, but it seems to suggest that the 600 series is capable at least of respectable performance in this area.
Is anyone aware of any more recent information (benchmarks, etc) that show the difference in performance between these series of cards in this area?
Thanks if advance for any information you can provide. I’m trying to decide if going with AMD is the better choice this time around. If directcompute plays a big role in games over the next few years, an AMD card may offer more longetivity unless Nvidia’s cards are being held back more by lack of driver support than simply lackluster hardware.