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New Desktop

Alright so building a new Desktop and perhaps I have made some bad decisions and perhaps I've made some good ones, but all that's left is my GPU. (note everything listed below has already been purchased)

Current Build:
Case - Raidmax Blade Midtower (Probably a bad decision but was the first thing I got)
Monitor - Asus LCD 23inch HDMI (Will run at 1920 x 1080)
CPU - i7-3770k
Motherboard - MSI Z77A GD55
PSU - Corsair 650w Bronze
Heatsink - Corsair h60 (probably dumb as well but trying to make up for case space restrictions due to my first dumb decision)
Hard Drive - Vertex 4 128gb SSD
RAM - 1x8gb Cosair Vengeance (Will eventually add another one for 16gb)

The Desktop will be for Gaming and working with programs like Adobe CS6 (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash) and Lightwave. So a gaming/school desktop. Down the the GPU

Before suggestions, I'm definately budgeted but put me at the $300 range (pls not much higher.)

From what I've read I am quite torn, I've never built a desktop before and never had to choose a GPU and so the overload of information can be quite daunting, especially the AMD vs Nvidia debate.

From what I've read the AMD gpu's are less reliable, BSOD's, DOA, and so on and so forth, but if you get a good one they are fantastic for their price points. I see higher transfer rates on these and am inclined to think I will get better FPS on them as well.

The Nvidia cards though I hear more positive feedback out of the box, but I see lower transfer rates, also these cards tend to run more $ for similar performance.

Things that are important to me is a card that will be properly cooled and allow for some mild OC'ing (something I am not into yet but would like to play with eventually, hence the 3770k vs a 3770.) and one that runs reletively quiet. Obviously I am pigeonholed with my budget but I see alot of options out there.

My primary questions are as follows:
1. If I were to pick solely from Nvidia cards, what would be my best options?
2. If I were to pick solely from AMD cards, what would be my best options?
3. Would I be better off getting a $200 card now and eventually getting another and SLI them?
4. Ok you answered the first 3 questions, now put yourself and my shoes and pick one already. JK but seriously, which of the 3 do you recommend most.

I don't play the typical games that I can research on FPS lists, currently I play very little bit of D3, but mostly DDO, and look forward to Pathfinder Online to come out soon. But I would like the option to play most if not all games that are currently out on maximum settings.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
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  1. Currently I have been looking more into Nvidia cards, namely the 660 or 660ti, I've also looked to the 650 but was deadset on the 660ti until I was about the hit the purchase button, after reading more I've begun to second guess myself.

  2. For Nvidia I would go with a 660 ti under $300, or if you want to sli, 2 660s (1 now 1 later?). For amd You can get non reference 7950s for just over $300, or you could get 2 7870s in crossfire. Personally, I would not do crossfire if I were you. Not all games support it, it is quite a hassle, and it would draw more power than I would feel comfortable with a 650 watt psu. So I would get a strong single card, unless you want to replace the psu also when you get the second card. If you don't want to spend $300 or more, I would buy a 7870. It performs better than the 660 in most cases, and even the 660ti in some cases. You may also want to consider the 7870 xt/le/myst versions that feature the tahiti le gpu of the 79** series.
  3. Best answer
    If you read the reviews of cards. You will see DOAs and BSODs also from nvidia cards.

    1. 660 Ti.
    2. 7870XT or 7950
    3. You can get a 7870/660, and then CF/SLI it

    For $290 660 Ti is a great card, but get's out performed by the 7950 and the 7870XT is kissing it's performance
    I still see the 7950 as a very contender. It has the same price as the 660 Ti and performs better. The 7870XT though, is $50 cheaper and is pretty near to the 7950/660 Ti's performance. Overclock it and it will match/outperform those two cards. The blow for the cards is that it will not get the same game bundle as the 7950 and it has 1GB less of memory than the 7950.
    Personally, I don't like to crossfire/SLI. I don't like the issues. Also, with a single card you can crossfire/SLI later on.

    So in the end, get 7870XT, or 7950 or 660 Ti.
  4. On Newegg the HD7950 is pretty much the same price as the 660ti

    So if I were to choose between these two I would (at least from on paper) probably pick the 7950 for the faster transfer rates (though the OC version of the TI do run at a higher Mhz)

    What are people's takes on the reliability with the AMD GPU's vs the Nvidia?
    or just settle with
    and possibly SLI them eventually (though I'm edging more and more away from the SLI)

    I did look at the 7870 myst version (is all I found on newegg and was currently out of stock) but it did have some nice features, seems comparable with the 660ti but at a lower price tbh. Falls into the reliability question I suppose. I would be willing to sacrifice a little bit of performance for reliablility.

  5. As I previously stated, in order to do sli or crossfire you would want to get a psu with more wattage. So it makes more sense economically to buy a single card such as the 7950 or 660ti, though you may want to watch for deals on higher end cards, as they sometimes fall in price. Don't feel pressured to spend more than you want to. Since you want to overclock, even a 7870 would suit your needs very well. As a final tip, make sure your case can support a large card. For example, his' iceq 7870 is almost 12" long. If you have any more questions I would be glad to help.
  6. I suppose I hadn't thought about the size of the GPU at all, at this point I am leaning towards the 7950 and will probably purchase it in the next couple days. That being said, any points counter to picking that gpu is welcome.

    the 7950 is 11.4 inches long, my case is 20 inches long, assuming 1/2 inch for case thickness on both sides (probably less) leaves me 19.5, assume 6.75" for the drive bays and 1 inch for cables leaves me with 11.75. That's not alot of space, will this be to tight?

    some of the 7950's though change in size depending on manufacturer. I had been looking at:
    Thats 11.4
    But theres an Asus one thats 11" and a Sapphire one that's 10.63"

    I don't fancy myself an expert on different brands though, I had been looking for MSI but the 7950 doesn't have an MSI version so I had picked the gigabyte one because I liked the three fans. If the fans are crap then it doesn't matter, the asus and sapphire both have 2 fans and are a tad shorter. What brands should I look at, perferred store is Newegg, 7950, any version (pre-OC or not does not matter to me) but need it to self-cool well enough since my case doesn't allow for a lot of fans, need to get what I can in there.

  7. Good choice on the 7950. I would recommend this:
  8. Best answer selected by tbigley.
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