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Thread: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

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    Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Hi,

    I bought my components and did my build in 2011, and I'm finding that I could really do with more frames per second in games now, the most recent and perhaps telling example being Evolve. I have a 2560 x 1600 display, and even running Evolve at half that with most of the settings turned down isn't as smooth as I'd like it.

    I haven't yet tried overclocking the '2048MB Gigabyte Radeon HD6970 OC' graphics card much/at all recently, and maybe I will soon, but I'm thinking of replacing it and have some questions please.

    Do you think replacing the GPU with something more modern is worthwhile and likely to provide substantially better frame rates, without being too held back by the CPU?

    If so, what do you recommend? I like the idea of having an AMD FreeSync card for if/when I get a new (FreeSync compatible) monitor capable of displaying 144Hz. I understand that AMD's approach is (or is at least based on?) the industry standard. (I wouldn't expect to get 144fps in all games on my system even with a new GPU, but hopefully I would in older/less intensive/arena games like Q3 and Ratz Instagib where smoothness and FPS matter a lot.) I'd like to game in both Windows and Linux. And also to be able to use two or three displays, mainly for work.

    Is there a nice guide somewhere I could look at which summarises the current GPU options?

    Here are my system's specs.

    • 1000W Fractal Design Newton R2 80+ Modular
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    • 2048MB Gigabyte Radeon HD6970 OC
    • 128GB Crucial RealSSD C300 (SATA III) - for OSes
    • 1000GB Samsung SpinPoint F3 HD103SJ 7200U/m 32MB (SATA II) - for games and data


    Many thanks.

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Let's start with the cpu. The 2500K is still a excellent cpu, especially when overclocked. With a decent cooler you should be able to hit 4.2-4.5Ghz easily enough, maybe a bit more. I certainly wouldn't change to a Haswell cpu from one.

    Graphics. A AMD 290/290X would be a big upgrade from your 6970 and is probably the best bang for buck at the moment. The cheapest 290 I could find was £222 but you can also get 290X form £230 which is where my money would go. Those prices are at OCUK.

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    Senior Member Bonebreaker777's Avatar
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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Rather the extra £10 for the MSI 290x LE edition. That Powercolor 290x for £230 looks a bit shabby.

    Summarises the current GPU options? Reviews tend to group up cards from the same price segment (I.e. no nVidia 730 vs AMD 295x2).

    Google reviews of 290/290X and you will see the competition compared against your "search".

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    The 290X took the top spot when techspot tested Evolve @ 1600p.

    Look under Features, Gaming Performance, Evolve Benchmarked, Page 4 (Sorry, being a Newbie on this forum I can't post URLs)

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Thanks for the responses.

    Quote Originally Posted by pastymuncher View Post
    The 2500K is still a excellent cpu, especially when overclocked. With a decent cooler you should be able to hit 4.2-4.5Ghz easily enough, maybe a bit more.
    Cool. I remember why I went for the K version now. I have a Thermaltake Frio cooler fitted, and I'll probably try overclocking soonish.

    Quote Originally Posted by pastymuncher View Post
    A AMD 290/290X would be a big upgrade from your 6970 and is probably the best bang for buck at the moment.
    I'm glad to hear replacing the GPU makes sense. I live in Germany so have looked at MindFactory, and I'm thinking I'll go for the XFX Radeon R9 290X Double Dissipation Edition. (Partly because I really like the way it looks.) That works out to £240.

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    I wouldn't buy a XFX. They have had problems with cooling in the past (they tend not to have heatsinks on the vrm's) and their customer service is awful. Around the same price is the Powercolour 290X PCS+ and has a factory overclock. It would seem to be one of the best cooled 290X cards available.

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    This can be a good point of reference:
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming...w-32899-7.html

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Although Nivida had serious problems about 3.5gb with ram on gtx 970 I would save extra £50 and get one of these as it easily beats 290x and also nivida technology: shadow play, HBOA+, MFAA etc. It's really hard to fill up these 3.5gb or vram on 1080p I never went pass 2.4gb on my gtx780. hope this helped.

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by SamyBoy13 View Post
    as it easily beats 290x
    Untrue. Depending on the game it can go either way with the 290X being generally the faster of the two, especially at higher resolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by SamyBoy13 View Post
    and also nivida technology: shadow play, HBOA+, MFAA etc. It's really hard to fill up these 3.5gb or vram on 1080p I never went pass 2.4gb on my gtx780. hope this helped.
    AMD (and IIRC now even Intel) has an equivalent to Shadowplay in Raptr. Plus Win10 is supposed to be getting something similar built-in looking forward. HBAO+ and proprietary AA methods are game-specific, not necessarily something you'd want to use anyway (e.g. the implementations of HBAO+ I've seen are quite slow+poor), and not something I'd consider a selling point - plus AMD also have their own equivalents.

    WRT the 3.5GB issue, it's been done to death so I won't go over the whole thing again, but you don't necessarily have to exceed 3.5GB for it to cause stutter - driver updates might improve things further but do not assume it's a non-issue especially if you intend to play with higher res/AA. You cannot directly choose how much VRAM you want a game to use. FPS comparisons are near-useless for benchmarking this, you need subjective or frame-time measurements.
    Last edited by watercooled; 09-03-2015 at 06:37 PM.

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Thanks for the responses, everyone.

    The monitor I already have is 2560 x 1600, and I've since been looking for an R9 290(x) with three Displayports as running three large monitors for work (and maybe some not-so intensive games that can be powered by one card at 7,680 x 1,600?) may be something I want to do in future. But it doesn't seem like there is such a thing. Nvidia, on the other hand, does seem to have more recent cards with three Displayports. So it seems that if I went with an R9 290(x) I'd need to use an MST Hub for three high resolution monitors, which costs more than some graphics card do.

    Does anyone know of any recent AMD cards with three Displayports, or should I just accept that I'll need to buy an MST Hub for £100 or so if I do get two extra monitors in future? (Or go Nvidia instead?)

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Impeller View Post
    Thanks for the responses, everyone.

    The monitor I already have is 2560 x 1600, and I've since been looking for an R9 290(x) with three Displayports as running three large monitors for work (and maybe some not-so intensive games that can be powered by one card at 7,680 x 1,600?) may be something I want to do in future. But it doesn't seem like there is such a thing. Nvidia, on the other hand, does seem to have more recent cards with three Displayports. So it seems that if I went with an R9 290(x) I'd need to use an MST Hub for three high resolution monitors, which costs more than some graphics card do.

    Does anyone know of any recent AMD cards with three Displayports, or should I just accept that I'll need to buy an MST Hub for £100 or so if I do get two extra monitors in future? (Or go Nvidia instead?)
    AMD is on the cusp of releasing the 300 series cards in the next two months or so - it might worth holding for another two to three months IMHO.


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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    AMD is on the cusp of releasing the 300 series cards in the next two months or so - it might worth holding for another two to three months IMHO.
    This. Also, if you do go either the FreeSync or G-Sync route, don't forget to account for a new monitor that supports whichever Sync standard you eventually end up opting for.

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    Re: Replacing my graphics card - recommendations?

    Aha. I didn't know about that - thanks. I'll hold off for now, especially as I'm not going to get to do much gaming for a couple of months.

    I hope some of the new cards have three DisplayPorts.

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