Best graphics card for my system

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Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:33 pm

Hello! I'm looking to add a graphics card to my current HTPC (in sig) to do some medium gaming. I'm not expecting to push the highest settings and I don't want overkill, but I'd like some bang for my buck. I've been looking at the Radeon 7790 and the GTX 650. There's an Asus 7790 1GB on Newegg for $109 after rebate. There's also a 2G version for about $30 more. Is there a significant difference in the extra gig of memory? Also, how do you all compare the 7790 to the 650? Subsequently, are the 7850 and 650TI Boost a worthwhile upgrade to those versions? I'm no expert here, so any other suggestions will be entertained as well. Thanks!!
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:40 pm

This is off the top of my head, but IIRC from low performance to high you have 7750 -> 650 -> 7770 -> 650ti -> 7790 -> 650ti boost & 7850. The 7790 is a lot faster than the 650.

I just looked at the current prices, and there is really no competition in the low price bracket. Nothing is much cheaper than the 7790, and the cheapest cards that are faster (the 7850 & 650ti boost) aren't that much faster and cost $50-$60 more. On top of that, the 650ti boost (and to a lesser extent the 7850) draws a lot more power and will dump more heat into your HTPC case, potentially making various fans run faster and make more noise.

Newegg has a Gigabyte 2GB 7790 for $120 after a $20 rebate and a 1GB model for $100 after rebate. For only $20 more the 2GB model seems like a better choice to me, because even if you don't need the extra memory right now you may in the future, plus it looks like it has a better cooler.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:50 pm

The 7850 and gtx 650 ti tend to go on sale frequently. They are both fairly good steps up from the ones you were looking at. I'd rather you wait a little and get better performance than get some cheaper variants now :)
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:02 am

The GTX 650 (non-Ti or Ti Boost) is roughly equivalent to a 7750....so nowhere near a 7790. I agree with Melvar that a 7790 is the way to go. Have you read TR's 7790 1GB review yet?

In the 1GB vs 2GB debate...you have to consider how much horsepower a GPU has. Low-end GPUs that land you in the low-medium graphical settings in games aren't going to need/use 2GB of memory. Greater than 1080p and/or medium-high and greater settings can need more than 1GB. I think the 7790 is on the fence in this regard. It's a great 1080p card that can get you medium-high settings at comfortable frame rates, I just don't have any proof that spending extra on a 2GB 7790 will get you any improvement over the 1GB variant. The fact that there are more 1GB 7790s out there suggests the sweet spot for that card is 1GB. Manufacturers don't tend to waste money stuffing more memory onto GPUs if it's not worth it.

If I were buying a 7790, I'd go straight for a 1GB card. That said, the 2GB Gigabyte card the Melvar pointed out is only $10 more (at the moment) than the Asus 1GB card you were looking at. Asus' coolers are my favorite at the moment (cool and quiet), but given that matchup, I'd spring the extra $10 and go with the 2GB card if you have room for the slightly longer Gigabyte card.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:31 am

Ill give you the 3rd vote for the HD7790. It is a very decent card for 1080p gaming, you might not be able to run 4xaa and not run at ultra settings but for a card that uses 85watts only 5 more watts then a 80 watt HD7770 and 35watts more then a 45-50watt HD7750 I think it will be the most economical card, Along with giving you good 1080p performance.

On another note the AMD/ATI cards do a better job in the home theater front with better colors since the AMD cards will give you full 0-255 HDMI Full RGB Range over HDMI where Nvidia cannot do it unless you use a custom resolution or some kind of tool.

here is the Eggs list of 7790's http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... geSize=100
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:44 am

DPete27 wrote:I agree with Melvar that a 7790 is the way to go.
You also get Mantle and Trueaudio and all that. If that interests you. In any case, 7790 is GCN 1.1, so that's good.
DPete27 wrote:It's a great 1080p card that can get you medium-high settings at comfortable frame rates, I just don't have any proof that spending extra on a 2GB 7790 will get you any improvement over the 1GB variant. The fact that there are more 1GB 7790s out there suggests the sweet spot for that card is 1GB. Manufacturers don't tend to waste money stuffing more memory onto GPUs if it's not worth it.
Sure they do. Look at all the 2GB GT610s. Laptops are especially egregious in this regard.

THAT SAID, I think the 7790 can probably make use of greater-than-1GB. I have absolutely no basis for this other than my own intuition when looking at the specifications, because nobody seems to ever test this conclusively (HardOCP tested BF4 and found that the game uses 1.75GB on 2GB cards and 2.9GB on 3GB cards, but I'm not satisfied with the level of rigeur in their testing, and I think their conclusion was very flawed.)

I'd go for the 2GB card, given it's only marginally more expensive and we're talking about upcoming games being developed on machines with 8GB of shared RAM. I really think it's not unrealistic that games in 2 years will want 3-4GB of video RAM to run comfortably.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:39 pm

Per usual, you guys are awesome. The 7790 is what I've wanted all along, so I'll stick with that unless I see a really good deal on a 7850 again. Is there a large disparity in quality between different brands? What are the most reliable? Same for drivers, I read reviews occasionally talking about horror stories with drivers, and thats nothing I want to deal with. Thanks!
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:37 pm

Don't forget that the R7 260 and 260X are essentially the same product as the 7790 and often priced similar:

The 260 is about 90% the speed of a 1GHz 7790, the 260X is usually about 10% faster.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:57 pm

bostonhokie wrote: Same for drivers, I read reviews occasionally talking about horror stories with drivers, and thats nothing I want to deal with.


You just get the drivers straight from AMD (or Nvidia if that's what you end up with). I don't know if the card manufacturers even bother branding their own versions of the drivers any more.


Chrispy_ wrote:Don't forget that the R7 260 and 260X are essentially the same product as the 7790 and often priced similar:

The 260 is about 90% the speed of a 1GHz 7790, the 260X is usually about 10% faster.


The R7 260 is actually cut down from a 7790 (768 shaders vs 896). It isn't really out yet as far as I can tell (at least Newegg didn't seem to have any), but it's supposed to be the same price that the 7790 is currently selling for, so not much point in that.

The 260X is the same chip as the 7790, but running at 1100Mhz vs the 7790's 1000Mhz, and memory is a bit faster. You can get 7790s that are factory overclocked to close to the same speeds (those Gigabyte cards I mentioned are clocked at 1075Mhz). If you can get a 260X for the same price, go for it, but don't pay 20% more for a 5% increase in performance. Some of the 260X's do come with a 2 game bundle from AMD though, so that might make it more worth while.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:05 pm

Here are a few options I just found:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814121727
Asus HD 7790 1GB for $129.99 ($109.99 after rebate)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814121772
Asus HD 7790 2GB for $149.99 ($139.99 after rebate)

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=7387
XFX HD 7850 1GB for $169.99 ($139.99 after rebate)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814202081
Sapphire R7 260x 2GB for $139.99 (price in cart)

Thoughts?

EDIT: what is the difference between the XFX HD 7850 I posted above and this one?
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... 6&csid=_61
It shows a list price of $240 and final price of $140
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:43 pm

bostonhokie wrote:EDIT: what is the difference between the XFX HD 7850 I posted above and this one?
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... 6&csid=_61
It shows a list price of $240 and final price of $140


That one looks like it has a better cooler. You can see heat pipes in the photos vs just a plain heat sink on the other one.

It's hard to argue against a 7850 at that price, but at that level I'd really like to see 2GB of RAM. Then again, it should do everything the 1GB 7790 does, only faster (except AMD's new audio thingy that nothing uses yet).
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:47 pm

bostonhokie wrote:Here are a few options I just found

1) What was wrong with the $120 Gigabyte 7790 2GB? That splits the field. FYI, this chart compares the 7790 1GB to the 260X 2GB. Both within 2% clock rates of eachother. The 260X is just an overclocked 7790, so that graph also shows the difference you can expect between a 7790 1GB and 7790 2GB. FYI, roughly 8% increase on average (99th percentile, if you go average FPS, there's no difference). So since a 7790 1GB costs $110, a 7790 2GB should cost roughly $119....
2) Asus, Gigabyte, HIS, Sapphire, MSI, Zotac, and Powercolor all make good coolers. I haven't heard many good things about XFX, just that they run hot. Look for a cooler with a heatpipe or two...
3) Don't overthink this.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:08 am

DPete27 wrote:so that graph also shows the difference you can expect between a 7790 1GB and 7790 2GB. FYI, roughly 8% increase on average (99th percentile, if you go average FPS, there's no difference)


This is why I'm so big on having more graphics memory. The performance you lose by not having enough graphics memory doesn't show up on FPS averages so much, because it comes in the form of increased stuttering and occasional massive FPS drops while some particular effect (or number of effects) is on screen.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:40 am

If you're looking at $139.99 graphics cards, spending an extra $20 for a GTX 660 (after rebate) will rocket you into the next level of performance.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:17 am

Voldenuit wrote:If you're looking at $139.99 graphics cards, spending an extra $20 for a GTX 660 (after rebate) will rocket you into the next level of performance.
And it gets you an Nvidia card, which is almost worth the extra $20 on its own (for the software.) Heh-heh.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:44 am

Like Dpete27 said I would go with the 2gb 7790 since it is a CGN 1.1 card and not 1.0. I think Mantle is going to give these AMD cards a big boost on supported games. Mantle might require more Vram to work right but who knows for now.

Also I have read a few reviews and they overclock quite well with out of the 3 cards reviewed the HIS card hit 1325 mhz on the core and the others hit 1225 +. Scoring between 5900 to 6100 points in 3dmark 11 with the 1325mhz overclocked card breaking 7000 points. With there low power usage they run nice and cool and quiet even overclocked as long as thy have a half decent cooler on them.
For comparison 1 of my power hungry EVGA 560ti Superclocked card would use 2 times the wattage and only hit between 4500 and 4900 points depending on the clockspeeds, and the 560ti is no slouch of a card.

Also I still feel strongly that AMD cards make for the best HTPC cards. The picture just looks better. I have tested it myself with a good TV pairing a 7750 vs my gtx 560. I think it is because they allow the full RGB 0-255 over HDMI that Nvidia does not unless you use a work around. But it could be that AMD cards just have a more vibrant picture. But I have noticed this for years since a hd4330 was giving me a better picture then a nvidia 8400 series card.
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Re: Best graphics card for my system

Postposted on Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:24 am

1) What was wrong with the $120 Gigabyte 7790 2GB?

Nothing, I'm just letting myself get overwhelmed by options

3) Don't overthink this.

Guilty

Also I have read a few reviews and they overclock quite well with out of the 3 cards reviewed the HIS card hit 1325 mhz on the core and the others hit 1225 +. Scoring between 5900 to 6100 points in 3dmark 11 with the 1325mhz overclocked card breaking 7000 points. With there low power usage they run nice and cool and quiet even overclocked as long as thy have a half decent cooler on them.
For comparison 1 of my power hungry EVGA 560ti Superclocked card would use 2 times the wattage and only hit between 4500 and 4900 points depending on the clockspeeds, and the 560ti is no slouch of a card.

Baxter, you know I don't speak Spanish...but that sounds like a good thing.

I'm about to pull the trigger on one of those 2GB 7790's. Is everyone agreed that it's better to have the extra GB of memory rather than the 1GB 7850?

On an unrelated note (not trying to start a new topic just a gripe) I just realized I managed to completely fill up my 3TB HDD on Recorded TV already. So now off to look for a new HDD as well...
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