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Need help with GPU upgrade

stylez777

Member
Mar 5, 2012
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System Specifications:

I. Processor/CPU: I5 2500k


II. Current Graphics Card: AMD HD 5850


III. Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080


IV. Power Supply Unit Specification (Brand, Wattage, Ampage, Age). If possible, please provide a link to a website containing the power supply specifications: Antec CP-850 (850 watt)


V. Case Specifications: Antec Twelve Hundred air cooled like 8 fans


Purchase Details:

I. Budget? $400-$500


II. Any particular preferences? A good solid card, decent cooling one with not many issues


III. Do you plan to have any Multi-GPU solutions such as Crossfire or SLI? no


IV. Have you previously looked at a product(s) which you feel would fit your needs? I think I am torn between the 7970 and the GTX 670 very hard to decide which would be the better purchase. I've seen benchmarks that favor the 7970 i've seen benchmarks favoring the gtx 670. (though now a 7950 is creeping in as a strong performer for the price)


V. What are your needs for this GPU? Which games(If any)do you intend to play? I play MMO's. I mainly play Dungeons and Dragons online (dx 11) might get into guild wars 2. I also like to play some of the newest games that come out if they tickle my fancy. Assassins creed 3 is on my list.

VI. Do you plan on overclocking the card you intend to purchase? I would play around with overclocking but I don't have to. I've played around with the 5850 flashing it overclocking it. Sometimes stable sometimes not.

Additional Notes:
Again at this point for the price range I am stuck on either the 7870 or the gtx 670. I cannot figure out which would be the better choice. My last 3 cards have been Radeaon/AMD been long time since I owned an nvidia but i'm not a fan boy. I want the best card for the $ I'm going to pay. Also the brand of the card probably would matter too. I'd like a brand that is known to overclock well and has good cooling as I don't feel like adding my on cooler aftermarket. Don't have the patience for it. Any help making a decision is apprecited (a reason why you'd pick your choice would also help)
 
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KingerXI

Senior member
Jan 20, 2010
222
1
81
I just got a HIS IceQ 7870 for $199 after a $20 rebate from Amazon. I had a 6950, and the 7870 runs so much cooler and quieter. It games great, and I think it is the best price to performance GPU on the market.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
5,333
984
126
Stylez, you say your budget is over 400 dollars, so I assume you would be considering the 7950 or 7970, not the 7870.

The 7870 is actually a more mid range card, typically under $250. 7950's can often be had for around $300 with a good deal, and 7970's are typically 400 to 500 bucks. Though right now on newegg, the sapphire DualX version is on sale for $399 and a $20 mail in rebate.

I would probably go with that, it has an excellent cooler, an excellent price for it, and like the other AMD 7xxx cards, is a great OCer. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102982
 

blue.chord

Member
Jan 6, 2011
54
0
0
The evga classified is 530$ after rebates right now. If you want the best card right now that is at least 1 generation future proof, its right here.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130801

If you are going to spend anywhere near 500 for a card I would suggest you get this one.

Otherwise for the 400 dollar range you have quite a few options. Do you want 4gb VRAM? MMO's benefit greatly from going surround/eyefinity. If you plan to go that route for 430$ you have the Evga GTX670 FTW+ 4gb

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130824

Otherwise if you are looking at cheaper options there is a XfX 7970 for sale right now at 350$

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...94473&csid=_22



Now for 2gb-3gb cards you pretty much have every option under the sun. I would recommend (order of recommendation from top to bottom)

MSI Lightning GTX680 / MSI Lightning 7970
Gigabyte GV-R797TO-3GD
 

stylez777

Member
Mar 5, 2012
91
0
61
Thanks for all the replies.

I actually made a typo. it was the 7970 I was looking at not the 7870.

I've actually looked at a few 7950's cause i heard they overclock well especially the sapphire dual x 950 model which seems to be discountinued now.

Back when I bought my 5850 oh some 3 years ago it was an easy decision. Today doesn't seem to be so easy.
 

Greenlepricon

Senior member
Aug 1, 2012
468
0
0
I have the msi 7950 and I really love it. I game at the same resolution as you and very few games will fall under 30 fps at stock, and this thing overclocks like a madman. It stays quiet and cool for being a high-end card. For the money you're willing to spend you might want to jump to the 7970 though, which will of course do even better. It will keep the games running well for a little longer and shouldn't be all that different in terms of noise and cooling. In my opinion it's better than paying close to the same price for the 670 if you overclock, and a really tough battle if you don't. AMD has really been getting their drivers together so overall I think they win, but you would be happy with any of these cards. I've heard great things about the 670, but I'm supporting AMD this round, mostly because you do have the overclocking option available if you need it.
 

stylez777

Member
Mar 5, 2012
91
0
61
I seen on Newegg they have a Visontek ghz edition 7970 on sale at the moment:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129265


I'm not familiar with Visontek but see that they do offer a 3 year warranty on the product if you register it in 30days. it is a tad underclocked on the memory side but seen that it can easily be overclocked. Anyone have any opinions on this brand? Is this a good buy for $360 free shipping and free sleeping dogs game? or are there better deals to be had elsewhere?
 
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BrightCandle

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
4,762
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Having used both a 7970 and a 680 I am in the unique position to objectively compare the two. Performance wise there is some difference, but not really enough to choose between them. However its worth noting that the Nvidia 680 delivers a smoother frame rate, which means lower fps are acceptable for the same feel of motion. This has a much bigger impact at high resolution where fps is comparatively low.

The one area where nvidia really stands out is drivers. Not only do more games work properly in surround with out issues but the transition from windows mode to game on 3 screens is much better. Amds cards need profiles setup for either each game or to be applied manually. Games with launchers cause issues so you end up manually changing. Nvidia just works in windows in surround mode and can play single screen and multiscreen from the same setting. Over all Nvidia has dramatically better support for triple monitors in lots of small ways.

Finally I should also mention power saving. Amds solution is awful. In multiple screens many users get tearing and/or performance problems. And has a very bad power saving setup for triple monitors and it can be hard/impossible to work around it. Nvidias power saving just works.

Amds cards are cheaper but it also does not work as well and has a few fundamental flaws that have been in the drivers since the 4000 series of cards. Having switched away from 7970s to 680s I can not recommend Amds cards, its not worth the suffering.
 

stylez777

Member
Mar 5, 2012
91
0
61
Having used both a 7970 and a 680 I am in the unique position to objectively compare the two. Performance wise there is some difference, but not really enough to choose between them. However its worth noting that the Nvidia 680 delivers a smoother frame rate, which means lower fps are acceptable for the same feel of motion. This has a much bigger impact at high resolution where fps is comparatively low.

The one area where nvidia really stands out is drivers. Not only do more games work properly in surround with out issues but the transition from windows mode to game on 3 screens is much better. Amds cards need profiles setup for either each game or to be applied manually. Games with launchers cause issues so you end up manually changing. Nvidia just works in windows in surround mode and can play single screen and multiscreen from the same setting. Over all Nvidia has dramatically better support for triple monitors in lots of small ways.

Finally I should also mention power saving. Amds solution is awful. In multiple screens many users get tearing and/or performance problems. And has a very bad power saving setup for triple monitors and it can be hard/impossible to work around it. Nvidias power saving just works.

Amds cards are cheaper but it also does not work as well and has a few fundamental flaws that have been in the drivers since the 4000 series of cards. Having switched away from 7970s to 680s I can not recommend Amds cards, its not worth the suffering.
Totally appreciate your opinion having owned both.

I don't think any of these pitfalls will affect me since I plan on never gaming with more that one monitor or crossfire more cards in. I cannot support the space for more than 1 monitor even if I wanted to.

I know both cards 79xx and 670/680 have strengths and weaknesses. I loved my 5850 still do. Only r eason for upgrade is I am moving the 5850 to my work PC and getting a new one for home. All said in done I probably am going to go with the 7970 (while the 7950 oc is tempting). I just cannot find a 670 or 680 that is a blow out price deal. I may wait till black friday in hopes of a killer sale but ughh that 7970 for $360 is so tempting...
 

j03h4gLund

Senior member
Nov 8, 2010
354
3
81
I just cannot find a 670 or 680 that is a blow out price deal. I may wait till black friday in hopes of a killer sale but ughh that 7970 for $360 is so tempting...
You're budget is between $400-$500 but you are reluctant to spend $360 on the 7970 which is a top end card atm.

If you're budget really is between $400-500 then you could find something instantly here, here, or here - all great cards and within your budget.

Now, if you're bargain shopping for a really hot deal - just keep checking... 2-3 times every day. Just keep your eyes peeled in the hot deals section of these forums or head over to hard which also has a hot deals section. Two days ago I found four(4) Factory Re-certified MSI GTX 670's for $289 shipped on Amazon. If you are patient enough, something will come to you. One thing is for sure, the price -will- come down.

BTW - I was torn between non-reference vs reference and as much as I wanted a non-reference card that would ultimately keep the card cooler, I went with a reference card because I found a really good deal. I think you should get whichever card will give you the best bang for the buck, where AMD normally will give you the best bang for the buck. You may also want to consider the manufacturers warranty.

Also you may want to check out this video. Good luck!
 
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stylez777

Member
Mar 5, 2012
91
0
61
You're budget is between $400-$500 but you are reluctant to spend $360 on the 7970 which is a top end card atm.

If you're budget really is between $400-500 then you could find something instantly here, here, or here - all great cards and within your budget.

Now, if you're bargain shopping for a really hot deal - just keep checking... 2-3 times every day. Just keep your eyes peeled in the hot deals section of these forums or head over to hard which also has a hot deals section. Two days ago I found four(4) Factory Re-certified MSI GTX 670's for $289 shipped on Amazon. If you are patient enough, something will come to you. One thing is for sure, the price -will- come down.

BTW - I was torn between non-reference vs reference and as much as I wanted a non-reference card that would ultimately keep the card cooler, I went with a reference card because I found a really good deal. I think you should get whichever card will give you the best bang for the buck, where AMD normally will give you the best bang for the buck. You may also want to consider the manufacturers warranty.

Also you may want to check out this video. Good luck!
Thank you for the links I am going to check them out.

To clarify my budget is $400-$500. meaning I am willing to spend that money. Though hunting for a deal to get the absolute best card I can buy for what I am looking to spend is also what i am looking for also. Seeing that a 7970 ghz edition is available for $360 is the tempting part as it is actually below my budget but the hesitation is not about price it is about quality for the price. I am not familiar with Visontek at all and the fact that their 7970 non ghz edition card comes with a lifetime warranty but this version does not makes me a bit skeptical (also their non ghz edition card is selling for more money too).
 

raghu78

Diamond Member
Aug 23, 2012
4,093
1,474
136
the visiontek hd 7970 ghz is a very good deal. the sapphire HD 7970 OC is also priced well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102982

But if you want the best price performance and will be overclocking get a HD 7950. here is the Sapphire HD 7950 boost for 300 (280 after rebate).comes with sleeping dogs game. fantastic game. finished playing it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814202006

clock for clock HD 7950 is 3 - 5% slower than HD 7970. HD 7950 at 1.1 Ghz matches HD 7970 Ghz (1.05 Ghz) . here is a HD 7950 at 1.2 Ghz.

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/23/galaxy_gtx_660_ti_gc_oc_vs_670_hd_7950/3
 

MrK6

Diamond Member
Aug 9, 2004
4,458
3
81
Your budget pretty much doesn't restrict you. Therefore, anything in the top tier - 7950/7970, 670/680, is worth considering. It's been my experience that people are most satisfied with cards that meet or exceed their expectations. Figure out ahead of time exactly what those expectations are and which are most important to you and I think the forum will be able to make a good recommendation. Some metrics to consider: expected performance, performance/price ratio, overclockability, cooling noise, package/features (including warranty, included games, etc.). I've been building systems for 10 years, and in my experience people have been most satisfied with the following longitudinally, ranked by impact:

1) Performance (including bang-for-your-buck)
2) Sound/silence
3) Presentation

That is, people mostly want performance. If I build them a new system or upgrade a component and it doesn't meet or exceed the performance they were expecting, instant fail. Presentation is important on the first day, but takes third place compared to the operating noise once it's in the PC.

Figure out exactly how your expectations rank and I think it will make the decision easier for you. From the outset, I think the Visiontek 7970 for $360 you linked is a good deal: its performance is great, the cooler is a good design, and it will have good overclockability. I don't think a 3-year warranty is any fault (three years from now it will be long in the tooth anyway).
 

stylez777

Member
Mar 5, 2012
91
0
61
Performance is def #1 to me. Overclocking is up there too. I def want to be able to overclock whatever card I get and get the most out of it.

I have read that the 7950 can be overclocked a lot and def is a great price/performance card. I was looking at the MSI twinfroz III with the 7970 pcb. The gigabyte wf3 also but from what i read that doesn't have the 7970 pcb or the 6 + 8 power phase. Can't find a sapphire dual x 950 anymore since they discontinued and unsure about the vapor-x

As for the 7970 also seen people say they can overclock this but of course not the same % wise as a 7950. like that I get the extra stream processors also. Model wise I like the Gigabyte 7970 ghz edition but for $50 i'd probably lean towards the new Asus Matrix platinum. at $499 that looks like a beast of a card. Still while I do not mind paying $500 at all am i really getting approx $200 worth of performance on a single 1920x1080 monitor? Yeah benchmarks say it better but real world will i notice it? hard to say

Gtx 670 well..kinda has taken back seat for me.

So there is my dilemma now, grab a nice 7950 (still haven't narrowed down the right model to get if i do) overclock the crap outta it and enjoy using the extra $200 to buy...umm..wel..buy something or buy the Asus Matrix Platinum overclock the crap outta it and well be happy I got an awesome card until something goes wrong. lol decisions decisions
 

raghu78

Diamond Member
Aug 23, 2012
4,093
1,474
136
Performance is def #1 to me. Overclocking is up there too. I def want to be able to overclock whatever card I get and get the most out of it.

So there is my dilemma now, grab a nice 7950 (still haven't narrowed down the right model to get if i do) overclock the crap outta it and enjoy using the extra $200 to buy...umm..wel..buy something or buy the Asus Matrix Platinum overclock the crap outta it and well be happy I got an awesome card until something goes wrong. lol decisions decisions
Grab a HD 7950. the HD 7970 PCB is a nice feature but the thing you need to look at the most is the cooler. On that basis the Gigabyte HD 7950 windforce, HIS ICEQ HD 7950 , Sapphire HD 7950 Dual X are better options than the MSI HD 7950 Twin frozr.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814125414
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814161420
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814202006

GIGABYTE HD 7950
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/53456-gigabyte-hd-7950-windforce-msi-hd-7950-twin-frozr-iii-review-18.html

SAPPHIRE HD 7950
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_7950_Flex/27.html

HIS ICEQ HD 7950
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnTdEFX_dLw

My vote goes to the Gigabyte HD 7950 for its excellent cooler and 3 yr warranty.
 

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