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#16 Aiyen

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:32 AM

Anything above 580 or similar will provide 60+ FPS in the vanilla game. The best value is as monty says the 600 series.. specifically the 660 3Gb. It has the best cost/performance ratio. The better models in the 600 series have a bit better performance, but the cost in power consumption is also comparatively higher. Just my upgrade from a 260 to a 660 is showing on my powerbill ;)

#17 DoYouEvenModBro

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 02:39 PM

Anything above 580 or similar will provide 60+ FPS in the vanilla game. The best value is as monty says the 600 series.. specifically the 660 3Gb. It has the best cost/performance ratio. The better models in the 600 series have a bit better performance, but the cost in power consumption is also comparatively higher.
Just my upgrade from a 260 to a 660 is showing on my powerbill ;)

Yea I agree, however if someone wants to get a "high-end" card i'd still recommend the 7970 ghz over the 680 or 670. I think it's the best bang for the buck. 680s (unless i'm mistaken) are still about $100 more tha 7970 ghz and about on par performance wise or maybe a slightly bit better. If bad drivers piss you off, I'd definitely recommend going with 680 then since AMD drivers often need to play catch up to new games. Also, games that use physx (like metro last light which I just bought recently) won't allow you to use it with AMD cards :-/. That was actually a huge disappointment for me. 
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#18 MontyMM

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:11 PM

Yes, some very good AMD options too. I would definitely go for as much VRAM as possible. We've had some contentious debates about this before, but I think we're already beginning to see the benefit of more VRAM, and plenty of RAM. This will only increase, and as the new consoles force the 64bit gloves to come off - I think we will see Windows showing its memory hungry ways, which have been somewhat constrained by ports from the aging consoles. I'm particularly interested in witcher 3, with its 64bit DX11 engine, and its impressive modding kit. I will be truly surprised if enthusiats like us aren't getting hungry for resources as we move into games like that.
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#19 Asimov

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 01:46 PM

Real quick, would you suggest the 7970 if it was $320? Found a site with it marked down this low.
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#20 MontyMM

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:18 PM

I wouldn't get into the business of recommending one card over another - there are many pros and cons as mentioned, different aspects have different value to different people, and I don't keep watch on the latest price points. But, in casual terms, that strikes me as a decent price for a very nice card, with a fair amount of VRAM, looking forward.
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#21 Asimov

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:45 PM

What do you think my fps boost would be going from 2 SLI'd 470's to one 7970? Would it be that dramatic you think, like a 30 fps boost or just like a 5 fps boost? Thanks by the way. This has all been really helpful. - Hmm after reading some reviews on the card the fans are very noisy :-/ maybe not.
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#22 Aiyen

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 03:43 PM

Skyrim is still one of the most often used benchmark games, you should easily be able to find reviews that has comparisons.

#23 Asimov

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:04 PM

Its hard to tell because STEP changes the requirements so much. But I guess I could benchmark mine at Vanilla and see the difference. Thanks.
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#24 Gyro

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:32 AM

I wouldn't get into the business of recommending one card over another - there are many pros and cons as mentioned, different aspects have different value to different people, and I don't keep watch on the latest price points. But, in casual terms, that strikes me as a decent price for a very nice card, with a fair amount of VRAM, looking forward.

If I had a choice between a card with 4 gigabytes of VRAM but less memory bandwidth and a smaller memory bus or a card with 3 gigabytes but with 20% more memory bandwidth and a 50% larger memory bus, do you know if the gains in memory bandwidth and memory bus help to offset increasing demands on VRAM over time?
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#25 MontyMM

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:19 PM

My strategy has been to bet on more VRAM becoming useful within the lifetime of my card; I would take the higher amount of VRAM as my main consideration. Some would argue that you could get by with less, and you probably could, but regarding a community of enthusiast power-modders like STEP, I can see VRAM becoming a frustration before too much longer. If we were just talking Skyrim (with its limitations), then a cheaper card with a bit less memory and faster bus might well be the obvious choice, and provide better performance right now. But, looking forward, then the extra VRAM could make the difference between what level of texture quality settings you could choose, how many modded textures you could apply in upcoming games, and so on. Bear in mind that even today with STEP, if we had a more modern 64bit engine and weren't constrained by the RAM limit, there'd be plenty of people happily loading up 4GB of VRAM if they could.
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#26 Gyro

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:36 PM

My strategy has been to bet on more VRAM becoming useful within the lifetime of my card; I would take the higher amount of VRAM as my main consideration. Some would argue that you could get by with less, and you probably could, but regarding a community of enthusiast power-modders like STEP, I can see VRAM becoming a frustration before too much longer.

If we were just talking Skyrim (with its limitations), then a cheaper card with a bit less memory and faster bus might well be the obvious choice, and provide better performance right now.

But, looking forward, then the extra VRAM could make the difference between what level of texture quality settings you could choose, how many modded textures you could apply in upcoming games, and so on. Bear in mind that even today with STEP, if we had a more modern 64bit engine and weren't constrained by the RAM limit, there'd be plenty of people happily loading up 4GB of VRAM if they could.


Monty, you're awesome, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
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#27 Aiyen

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 02:29 PM

Also it is almost pointless to get the best cards today, since current chipsets are so powerful that current titles are no challenge for even the lower versions! Before the next generation of games come out then a new chipset generation will most likely also have made its appearance.. so the best card to get is the one with the best cost/performance ratio without a doubt.

#28 MontyMM

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 05:45 PM

Monty, you're awesome, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

Too kind, Gyro!  It's good advice though - we must never be discouraged by the bastards that fail to understand how awesome we are!  :P
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#29 Besidilo

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 08:14 AM

I'm struggling to find games that would make an efficient use of my Radeon 7970's 3GB VRAM at 2560x1440.

Honestly, Skyrim is the only one that comes close to the limit with the right choice of textures.

1.5 GB on my old GTX 580 was another story. It becomes a limiting factor in quite a few games.

I highly doubt we'll see use of console video games using excessive amounts of VRAM. After all, they're be all limited to 1920x1080 anyway.

In any case, Falcon's guide is fairly decent if you live in the US. Although I wouldn't completely rely on it for building a gaming system, since it's usually better to allocate 25-40% of your budget towards the best graphics card you can get. Radeon 7950 3GB is the best value for money card that can overclock to similar levels that most 7970s do and is even better than an overclocked GTX 770 (or GTX 680 for the well-informed individuals) in some games.

PC Part Picker has a good rundown of the best prices for specific components, which may save you $'000s if used right.

Honestly, don't bother future-proofing your rig, because it will be dated in a year or two no matter what you do. Just make the most efficient use of your budget and buy a good all-around system. If you ever need to upgrade, the graphics card is the most likely component to be replaced and these have struggled with providing any improvements in the past few years.
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#30 DoYouEvenModBro

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 08:28 AM

I'm struggling to find games that would make an efficient use of my Radeon 7970's 3GB VRAM at 2560x1440.

Honestly, Skyrim is the only one that comes close to the limit with the right choice of textures.

1.5 GB on my old GTX 580 was another story. It becomes a limiting factor in quite a few games.

I highly doubt we'll see use of console video games using excessive amounts of VRAM. After all, they're be all limited to 1920x1080 anyway.

In any case, Falcon's guide is fairly decent if you live in the US. Although I wouldn't completely rely on it for building a gaming system, since it's usually better to allocate 25-40% of your budget towards the best graphics card you can get. Radeon 7950 3GB is the best value for money card that can overclock to similar levels that most 7970s do and is even better than an overclocked GTX 770 (or GTX 680 for the well-informed individuals) in some games.

PC Part Picker has a good rundown of the best prices for specific components, which may save you $'000s if used right.

Honestly, don't bother future-proofing your rig, because it will be dated in a year or two no matter what you do. Just make the most efficient use of your budget and buy a good all-around system. If you ever need to upgrade, the graphics card is the most likely component to be replaced and these have struggled with providing any improvements in the past few years.

Yea, open world games will require the most VRAM since they have to load huge open areas with tons of textures. Any linear game (so basically like 90% of all games) will most likely not require even close to 3 GB of vram. Even crysis 3 which was supposed to be THE best looking game (not sure if I believe that) used under 2 gb  I think. Same with Metro Last Light. This is max settings with 1080p. If you wanted to run extreme STEP at a resolution higher than 1080p then you would probably need at least 4 gb.
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