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#1 Neovalen

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 02:28 PM

Hello everyone, I've been looking to upgrade my Skyrim experience for awhile now and was hoping to get some help from some of the more knowledgeable members out there on how Skyrim performs completely modded out. I guess I'll start out with what kind of performance I'm currently getting. uGrids 5: Without ENB: 30-40fps with frame stuttering (lack of VRAM suspect). With ENB(Ultra SSAO, DOF) + SMAA via dll: 20-25fps with frame stuttering. uGrids 7 won't load at all with texture mods. I currently use STEP with HRDLCOpt /w Vanilla Normals and all the various textures at 1024 if available. I'm looking to upgrade my video card, currently I have an XFX Radeon 5870 1GB. I know pretty much anything will give me a good upgrade but I'm looking to keep playing Skyrim for the foreseeable future. You never know what games are around the corner however so I want to make sure I get a card that will last me a few years. To that end, the options I've been considering are the following: Radeon HD7970 3GB (Available now) Nvidia 680GTX 2GB (Available now) Radeon HD7970 6GB (Available in a few weeks supposedly) Nvidia 680GTX 4GB (Available in a few weeks supposedly) Nvidia 685GTX 4GB (GK110 available August 2012 supposedly) I know my VRAM is currently running out and I'd love to get back to playing in surround/eyefinity as I have the three monitors. I'm holding about 600 dollars in my hand for a single card massive upgrade. I've been leaning towards waiting but the danger is there's always something around the corner... that or I might spend the money mean time.
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#2 frihyland

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 04:10 PM

GTX670 4GB are available in USA for less than $500 currently

GTX680 4GB are available in USA for less than $700 currently

Personally I am probably waiting until fall when the nextgen full size chips (for uber enthusiast and professional) will be released and I can pick up 2 of the "old" 670 4GB cards for under $800 total.

Edit: Link to card , I'm currently waiting for price drop.
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#3 Neovalen

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:16 PM

GTX670 4GB are available in USA for less than $500 currentlyGTX680 4GB are available in USA for less than $700 currently
Personally I am probably waiting until fall when the nextgen full size chips (for uber enthusiast and professional) will be released and I can pick up 2 of the "old" 670 4GB cards for under $800 total.
Edit: Link to card , I'm currently waiting for price drop.

Thanks for the link, I actually took a look at that card and it seems decent.
I've seen reviews for the 4gb edition 680's and they look amazing and the editor even noted Skyrim as one of (if not the only) game out there that can use the 4gb with texture packs in surround.
So I definitely want to hold out for a 4gb VRAM+ model of whatever I end up with.

The problem is I haven't found any of the nice 680 4gb's in stock anywhere yet, I put myself on the notify list over at evga's web site.
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#4 frihyland

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 11:42 PM

Yeah there is a chip shortage from Nvidia's end on the 680's much easier to find 670's even though they are the new kid in the lineup.
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#5 Neovalen

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 11:31 AM

Alright, thanks for all the advice. I managed to snag a decent deal on a pair of EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Superclocked+ (no tax no shipping) at MSRP. Considering the price of tax, shipping, and just plain markups out there that is rather nice. I'm looking forward to having 4GB of VRAM and awesome video cards for Surround rather than a single card with 1gb VRAM. I decided to bite the bullet now instead of waiting, because I could be waiting a long long time that I could be enjoying myself.
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#6 z929669

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 04:54 PM

Cheapest solution that will get you well into the future for less than $500 right now would be to grap 2x radeon 6950 2Gb cards and set up CrossfireX. I use the same cards now, but with only 1Gb apiece, and my FPS are solid 40+ with max STEP, and I run full step with mostly 1K textures for the big stuff (occasional big drops during loading with full STEP though, but that will happen with anything). Even better (maybe a 5-10% all around gain, tops?) would be to do as Fri says or do 2x the Radeon 7970 3 Gb once they release the 4 Gb, which should bring that cost down as well to less that $800 total. (Key diff is that my way will save you upwards of $300 and give you a great XP with mostly full-res textures right now.) Either way, I would go with CrossfireX (I am diehard ATI, and don't buy NVIDIA) or SLI (but the latter is said to have some issues).

#7 Neovalen

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:15 PM

Cheapest solution that will get you well into the future for less than $500 right now would be to grap 2x radeon 6950 2Gb cards and set up CrossfireX.

I use the same cards now, but with only 1Gb apiece, and my FPS are solid 40+ with max STEP, and I run full step with mostly 1K textures for the big stuff (occasional big drops during loading with full STEP though, but that will happen with anything).

Even better (maybe a 5-10% all around gain, tops?) would be to do as Fri says or do 2x the Radeon 7970 3 Gb once they release the 4 Gb, which should bring that cost down as well to less that $800 total. (Key diff is that my way will save you upwards of $300 and give you a great XP with mostly full-res textures right now.)

Either way, I would go with CrossfireX (I am diehard ATI, and don't buy NVIDIA) or SLI (but the latter is said to have some issues).

Well, I've purchased the pair of EVGA 670s SC+ 4GB for SLI already, so unless I have major issues thats what I'm sticking with. That gives me 4GB VRAM in SLI (4gb+4gb/2) which should hopefully be future proof for awhile. I paid just under 1k$ for the pair which isn't bad considering they want 630$+ for the 680 4gb and I can probably overclock to 680 speed without much issue.

Honestly I've been diehard ATI for a long time (I'm using a 5870 1gb now, had 3 ati cards before that), but I couldn't justify staying ATI right now for the performance/price I'm looking to pay. More VRAM and the lure of better driver support drew me right in. Figured worst that happens is I swap to the green team for one generation and see how the other side lives.

Considering in addition to Skyrim in surround (5760x1080) I will be playing BattleField3 in surround (5760x1080) both of which are VRAM monsters from all reports especially with AA I felt having 4gb each card to be preferable. Trends for gaming in 2013 seems to be more VRAM required... I feel adequately prepared with a pair of 4gb cards.
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#8 stoppingby4now

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 02:35 AM

I'm jealous! :P For typical games today that cater to the masses, you really can't go wrong with either ATI or nVidia. But in this current time period (once you weed through the plethora of useless fanboy material), nVidia has a noticeable lead in ATI for having better Windows support, and hands down superior cross platform support. ATI's HD audio over HDMI is still a cludge on Windows, and non-existent on Linux, to which nVidia has had driver support for well over a year.
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#9 Neovalen

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 03:24 AM

I've actually been reading lately about how unsecure ATI drivers actually are to have on your system, been a few reports lately they are behind on security updates like ASLR. Link: https://www.anandtec...driver-security
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#10 bitdman

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 09:18 AM

Thanks for this great info guys! This is the best thread reguarding graphics cards without getting to technical, that I've seen in a while. I've noticed that card companies don't use any of the Elder Scolls series games when talking graphics performance. But the way I see it is if it can run Skyrim decently, it will run future games with no problems. I'm using a 7870 now and will add another for crossfire ASAP.
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#11 skwareballz

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 09:38 AM

I've read a few reviews on Anandtech and it seems that Crossfire scaling on Arkham City and Skyrim were both broken, compared to their SLI brethren. That was when the GTX690 was getting ready to launch, so maybe it's been fixed by now. I haven't owned an AMD card since they were still ATi, but I remember the drivers being either really good or really bad.
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#12 Bealdwine

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:46 PM

I used to prefer ATi cards, and not just for the price ;) but because the image rendition tended to be less harshly contrasted than nVid cards - I found that more natural (the original Unreal game looked gorgeous on an ATi card). Back then it was common to use a third party driver if you were primarily in to games. The guy who produced the Omega drivers actually had contact with, and help from, ATi at the time. Defunct now unfortunately. I moved to nVidia when they took a commanding lead in 3D rendition, and as yet they still hold that imho. As Sb4N (I think) said they also have a more solid compatability across platforms. It would be nice now with the general cheapness of memory if companies started offering higher vRAM models within affordable price points as sales propaganda, as the whole "fastest card in the world" thing is getting a bit stale.
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#13 Neovalen

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 04:16 PM

The thing with more VRAM is you lose some performance compared to the lower VRAM models in games that don't use the VRAM (2-3 fps). So by that token I'm not surprised they haven't just jumped fully in. I think 3-4GB will be the standard in the near future though considering the quality and memory usage of games coming out with everything turned up.
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