Upgrade Time

From the pixels, bits, and shaders to the graphic cards that power them. Discuss the latest from AMD and NVIDIA here.

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Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:25 am

So it has come, the time to upgrade my almost 3 year old GTX 560Ti.

The market won't bring anything new in my price range (300€) for a few months, so I think it's time :)

Now, as I only game at 1080p and I wish my card to last at least 2-3 years with fine performance I'm guessing the best "bang for buck" is a 280X. I don't think stepping down to a 240€ Nvidia 760 would be wise, although you convince me otherwise. The fact is that I never owned a AMD card and I always hear people saying their drivers are bad and that it takes more time to release updates to newer games. Waiting a bit for updates isn't a problem for me, I usually don't buy new games as they are released, I normally wait for Steam sales and promotions. Battlefield 4 will be an exception :)

I think I'm moving from buying middle range cards (as it was the case of my 560Ti) to a top performance card I believe, so I think it will be money well spent.

These are my possibilities:

ASUS RADEON R9 280X DIRECTCU II TOP 3GB GDDR5
309,90€

GIGABYTE RADEON R9 280X OC WINDFORCE 3X 3GB GDDR5
299,95€

MSI RADEON R9 280X TWINFROZR GAMING 3GB GDDR5
299,90€

I'm inclined with Asus even if it is 10€ more expensive but that isn't a issue, my actual MSI performed very well all this time but I'm always more confident with ASUS, what do you guys think?

Thanks
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:55 am

I don't have any specific comments to make about your 280X options, but I think it's worth noting that the release of the 290X will likely prompt NVIDIA to slash prices in the next month or so. I would expect the release of the 780ti to bring significant price drops on the 780 and 770 at least. The 770 will probably be positioned to compete more evenly in price with the 280X.

So if you can stand to wait a few more weeks, I think you might see at least a couple more options in your price range.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:01 am

On the other hand, since you're specifically interested in BF4 and DICE seems to be so enthusiastically sipping the AMD/Mantle koolaid, you might be better served just springing for the 280X now like you've planned. Although if vendor-specific perks are to be considered, we can't ignore the potential of G-sync. Time to start saving for a new monitor, sigh.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:39 am

weaktoss wrote:I don't have any specific comments to make about your 280X options, but I think it's worth noting that the release of the 290X will likely prompt NVIDIA to slash prices in the next month or so. I would expect the release of the 780ti to bring significant price drops on the 780 and 770 at least. The 770 will probably be positioned to compete more evenly in price with the 280X.

So if you can stand to wait a few more weeks, I think you might see at least a couple more options in your price range.


Prices usually don't drop around here unless there is a miracle... So I guess there is nothing much to wait for :wink:
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:32 am

My most recent experience with an Asus GTX 660 was absolutely positive. The build quality of my GTX660 is amazing and its one of the quietest cards in recent history. I would expect the Asus 280x cooler to also perform very well based on other cards with the same cooler. (Ed: benchmark data here one of the lowest temp & noise cards on the list....)
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:42 am

We are about to head into the holiday season, so I would either recommend getting a 7950+ on clearance (with Never Settle, obviously), or wait until the 2xx and 7xx prices adjust/go on sale.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:47 am

superjawes wrote:We are about to head into the holiday season, so I would either recommend getting a 7950+ on clearance (with Never Settle, obviously), or wait until the 2xx and 7xx prices adjust/go on sale.


No Never Settle Bundles here in Portugal :(
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:49 am

If you were in North America or Europe proper, it'd be pretty easy. Sadly, I don't really have any advice that could add to what you already know- especially to check reviews and find the quietest, most reliable solution you can get your hands on, and to wait as long as you can for holiday sale pricing to kick in.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:26 pm

Airmantharp wrote:If you were in North America or Europe

We are in Europe proper! :evil:

Unless you mean "the countries with money", in which case, carry on.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:42 pm

I was wondering how I'd missed the news that Portugal had separated from the Iberian peninsula and drifted out into the Atlantic on its own, or is the OP in the Azores? :lol:

Unfortunately, I cannot offer a better suggestion for a new graphics card for Battlefield 4 under 300 euros. I will say that I prefer Sapphire or Asus-branded Radeon graphics cards rather than PowerColor.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:24 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:I will say that I prefer Sapphire or Asus-branded Radeon graphics cards rather than PowerColor.


I am starting to get the impression that Sapphire do make bad cards like Powercolor, but they also make many more good cards.

I've had to RMA a few too many Sapphire's recently, they were all cheaper models with the heatsink attached only via the four holes nearest the GPU, like many of the PowerColors.
The real issue was that these cheaper cards seem to skimp on baseplates for things like RAM chips and VRMs. The more expensive models like the Toxic and FleX editions come with much more comprehensive cooling that is also more sturdily attached to the board, reducing the flex encountered during installation and warmup/cooldown cycles.

But to get back on topic, aren't the 7970GE's on clearance cheaper than R9 280X models?
At least in the UK the 280X models are expensive whilst 79xx models are in the clearance sales.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:40 pm

My current Sapphire Radeon card is an HD7950 Boost Vapor-X. It runs all day at 950 MHz core and 1250 MHz memory without a complaint.

Looking at Amazon.es, the cheapest R9-280X and HD7970 cards are all just over 300 euros, but they're about 35 euros less than a GeForce GTX770.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:30 pm

morphine wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:If you were in North America or Europe

We are in Europe proper! :evil:

Unless you mean "the countries with money", in which case, carry on.


I didn't want to say it out loud... that crosses over into R&P :).
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:37 am

Chrispy_ wrote:I've had to RMA a few too many Sapphire's recently, they were all cheaper models with the heatsink attached only via the four holes nearest the GPU, like many of the PowerColors.
Didn't Sapphire recently have a specific run of 6xxx-series Radeons that were faulty?
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:12 am

I hadn't heard that, but I switched to 7xxx AMD for the vis department about 18 months ago when Kepler came out (it was a step backwards from Fermi in terms of Geometry/Vertex/OpenCL) and they were so much better than the Geforces than I started moving all production workstations to GCN-based graphics cards.

The defective models I see (last three RMA's were all 7850s from Sapphire) are always the same - no baseplate for support/RAM under the main heatsink. I stopped buying Powercolor when the price drops meant that I could squeeze 7950 cards into the workstation budget; I was shocked just how much heatsink was supported solely on the GPU die, and sure enough one of eight cards failed within the first month, followed by two more during the second month.

These sapphires that have just gone back are about a year old now, but it seems that they're all suffering memory-related failures, and I noticed some definite sag on the boards as I replaced them. I think GDDR5 is so high frequency that something as simple as a bit of board flex is enough to cause problems, and it's a shame nvidia don't make such great compute cards anymore because their blower-style reference coolers made them robust as all hell. I only lost four GTX 285s out of about 80, and that was after three years of almost 24/7.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:50 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:I was wondering how I'd missed the news that Portugal had separated from the Iberian peninsula and drifted out into the Atlantic on its own, or is the OP in the Azores? :lol:

Unfortunately, I cannot offer a better suggestion for a new graphics card for Battlefield 4 under 300 euros. I will say that I prefer Sapphire or Asus-branded Radeon graphics cards rather than PowerColor.


No, I'm from Porto, and it is located in the continent ;)

Now, I am certanly inclined to the ASUS version. Factory overclocked and it looks like the cooler is nice and powerful. Just like the Twinfrozr of MSI.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:17 pm

.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:00 am

Update:

Prices slashed hard on the NVIDIA high end gpu last couple of days, I now have a difference of 10€ between Asus Direct CU II OC R280X and GTX770!

Now I'm a bit reluctant... What are your opinions about these 2 cards, since the price is basically the same?

Thinks I'm considering:

GPU performance - Based on TR reviews and a bit in the other sites, AMD's card has a little advantage. But not much.

Drivers - Didn't have lot's of problems this last 2.5 years with NVIDIA drivers, although they are certainly not perfect. People usually complain about AMD's. But it can be the fact that in a few years back they really weren't that good. I think I can give a shot in this.

VRAM - From GURU3D measurements, at 1080p with all the eye candy, cards are almosts toping at 2GB load, so AMD's have the advantage for the next 2-3 years I am intending to keep the card.

Power Consumption - I think NVIDIA has the win in this subject, not by much so not a problem.

Overclocking - seriously not very indulged about this subject from AMD, great experience with my GTX560ti, massive overclock from 822Mhz stock to 980Mhz with a bump in voltage. Maybe AMD doesn't overclock as much?

Game bundle - I haven't called the store yet, so I'm not sure if the NVIDIA has the 3 game bundle here, but I'm sure AMD doesn't.

Anything else to consider?

Thanks
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:32 am

Jon1984 wrote:difference of 10€ between Asus Direct CU II OC R280X and GTX770! (...) what are your opinions about these 2 cards?

The big things you mentioned:
GPU performance - Close enough to call "the same", because of...
Drivers - AMD's driver team has made remarkable progress in the last year or so, but I can tell you from experience with both that Radeon cards still have problems with apps outside the mainstream, particularly Unity-based games, which use OpenGL. In other words, AMD's OpenGL driver is still pretty broken. However, if you mainly play DirectX games, this is mostly irrelevant.
VRAM - You're right on the money here. I regularly exceed 2GB of RAM usage in Warframe, a 64-bit DX11 game. It doesn't even have especially high-quality assets; I think it's just caching stuff in my expanse of video RAM. Still, after the initial load I have literally no load time, so that might have something to do with it; as I opined-and-had-confirmed in a recent thread here on the forums, assets are what takes up the RAM, not the framebuffer, and assets are only going to climb in quality as developers stretch their legs into that 8GB RAM pool on the consoles.
Power Consumption -It's a wash.
Overclocking - Your 560Ti card was the revised midrange Fermi, GF114. GF114 and GF104 were known for their overclockability, so you kinda picked a bad example; most cards don't quite do that well without significant voltage increases. However, I will tell you that my brother runs a pair of 7970 cards (non-Ghz!) at nearly 1200Mhz. A pair of them, note. So, obviously it can be done. ( ・ω・)ノ
Game bundle - I don't even want the games in Nvidia's bundle. Do you? (Although I guess you could resell them.)

Basically what it comes down to are whether you intend to mostly play older games and indie games, or newer games and AAA games. The GTX is better for the former (due to better drivers and 2GB VRAM), and the Radeon is better for the latter (due to worse drivers and 3GB VRAM.)
Jon1984 wrote:Anything else to consider?
Look at the coolers on the cards and decide which one's design you like better -- not as much aesthetically, but, well -- me, personally, I prefer a 'blower' or centrifugal design, whereas some people prefer regular (axial) fans. Blowers vent the hot air out the back of your case, but usually don't cool as well and are noisier. Axial fans will cool better, but they dump all that heat from your GPU -- and it's a lot -- into your case, to heat up other sensitive components, like your mainboard and (especially) your power supply.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:45 am

auxy wrote:
Jon1984 wrote:Anything else to consider?
Look at the coolers on the cards and decide which one's design you like better -- not as much aesthetically, but, well -- me, personally, I prefer a 'blower' or centrifugal design, whereas some people prefer regular (axial) fans. Blowers vent the hot air out the back of your case, but usually don't cool as well and are noisier. Axial fans will cool better, but they dump all that heat from your GPU -- and it's a lot -- into your case, to heat up other sensitive components, like your mainboard and (especially) your power supply.


Same coolers :) The card choices are both from ASUS ;)

Most games I play are certainly DirectX based, I usually play recent games, lately some indie games because I started to use Steam and look for promotions and Humble Bundle also. But most of the time I'm lost in RPG's like Fallout New Vegas, Skyrim, shooters like Battlefield 3 (and in a few days BF4), RTS like Shogun 2 Total War and Company of Heroes.

I guess my initial choice was a good one (AMD).
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:49 pm

Jon1984 wrote:Most games I play are certainly DirectX based, I usually play recent games, lately some indie games because I started to use Steam and look for promotions and Humble Bundle also. But most of the time I'm lost in RPG's like Fallout New Vegas, Skyrim, shooters like Battlefield 3 (and in a few days BF4), RTS like Shogun 2 Total War and Company of Heroes.
Since you intend to play BF4, you'll at least have one Mantle title to take advantage of too. (ノ・ェ・)ノWoo!
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:59 am

Impressions about the purchase:

Got the ASUS mentioned in the initial post.

- Extremely large, both length and height. Almost didn't fit my Antec One Hundred, only a finger left between the card and the hard drive cage; Had to take the side fan off because of the height, the heat pipe would enter the fan :o
- Big and silent fans. Awesome acoustic performance. My older GTX560Ti from MSI Twin Frozr ran at 3000rpm plus, this one never jumps 2000rpm at full gaming load, incredible. Its deadly silent, you don't even notice the difference between idle and load in a closed case.
- Cool. Full load at 70ºC it is great for me.
- Great positioning of the pci connectors, facilitates plugging in and off.
- Performance. With latest beta drivers, almost 50-60fps with V-sync in Rome 2 with every detail maxed out except shadows (medium, extremely CPU intensive), that's just great. One of the most CPU and GPU intensive games today.

Greatest upgrade I ever made :D
Recommended!

Waiting for Black Friday for a deal in BF4 :roll:
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:21 am

Glad you liked it, I bought eight of the Asus DirectCU II 7970's when they first came out. I suspect yours is the same, just with the 280X bios and clocks.

Huge, silent, still going strong. I wish more vendors would make models that exceed the typical two-slot cooler limitation.
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Re: Upgrade Time

Postposted on Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:37 am

Jon1984 wrote:Great positioning of the pci connectors, facilitates plugging in and off.

They implemented this new PCIe power connector orientation very recently (within the past year). Amazing how something as simple as flipping the connector over so that the lock tab is on the PCB side instead of underneath the cooling shroud can make such a profound difference in serviceability. Equally amazing is how it took this long for somebody (applies to all GPU manufacturers) to realize this flaw and fix it. My Asus GTX 660 has the lock tab underneath the cooling shroud, and it's a bugger to get the PCIe power disconnected.
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