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Upgrade or sidegrade?

twjr

Senior member
Jul 5, 2006
627
207
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I'm currently using a stock GTX 670 and am running at 1920x1080. The card is fast enough for the games I play but it has started to struggle with VRAM in Skyrim. I get bad stutter in some areas with the mods I have on. I could disable some mods but I like the eye candy they give.

I'm currently weighing up some options about updating the card. I could get an MSI 7970 TF3 for AUD 299 or a Gigabyte WF3 GTX 780 for AUD 600 (there is a massive Nvidia 'tax' in the antipodes). I don't think the 780 is worth twice the price of the 7970. Obviously the R9 290 is going to come out imenantly but is it going to be worth 50% more than the 7970?

I don't NEED to buy anything urgently but the sale on the 7970 is only for the next couple of days. This is the cheapest a 7979 has been in Australia so it is pretty tempting just to get the extra RAM. BUT even if it cost a bit more money i know the 290 would be the more future proof card. Too bad AMD pushed back the launch of the 290.

Should I jump on this 7970 deal or hold out until the 290 is out?
 

Zanovar

Diamond Member
Jan 21, 2011
3,446
231
106
hold out.and just ride it out at your current res mate:)i would just wait 20nm and forget the 290 at your res also *shrugs*.other peeps will give you other options:)
 
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Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
5,434
1,224
136
7970 is a bit of an upgrade (mostly if you OC), but like mentioned above, I would hold out for the next round of chips on 20nm. Or, if the R9 290 is priced well, get that. Or if the 780 drops in price more.
 

bystander36

Diamond Member
Apr 1, 2013
5,154
132
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If you had two versions of Skyrim available to you, one with slightly better visuals, than the other, but costs $350, would you buy it?

That is basically what you are doing here.
 
Sep 24, 2013
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Well I have a 670 and I game at 1600p xD, don't play Skyrim but I'v heard how problematic it can be due to Vram limitation, my advice is get the 290 the 4Gb 512bit bus should be a perfect fitting for skyrim plus giving you the same performance or better then the 780.

Cheers
 

Zanovar

Diamond Member
Jan 21, 2011
3,446
231
106
Well I have a 670 and I game at 1600p xD, don't play Skyrim but I'v heard how problematic it can be due to Vram limitation, my advice is get the 290 the 4Gb 512bit bus should be a perfect fitting for skyrim plus giving you the same performance or better then the 780.

Cheers
Erm.i guess.did you read the op?.*shrugs*
 

BrightCandle

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
4,762
0
76
The problem with these new high end cards is they are pretty expensive for not a lot of extra performance. In BF4 for example on gamegpu.ru they are showing at 1080p just 9% extra performance from the 780's to the 680's. Yet the 780 will cost twice as much. You can literally get 2x 680's for the price and get an amazing performing machine instead of a 780. These really expensive cards only make sense at very high resolutions and even then their advantage isn't that impressive, its still cheaper to get two lower end cards.

With that in mind I actually think you should look into the cause of your problem. Run GPU-Z in the background while playing in Skyrim with your mods and when you see the performance drop give it a few seconds and then go have a look in GPU-Z sensors. Take at the GPU usage and the VRAM usage.

1) If VRAM usage is close to 2000 or exceeding it then VRAM might very well be your issue, you should see high VRAM and a lowered GPU usage.

2) If on the other hand VRAM is below 2000 and GPU usage is 100% then your issue is likely not enough GPU performance and you would be better off going SLI.

3) The third option is that both VRAM usage is low and GPU usage is dropping below 100% in which case it might be a CPU limitation.

Once you know which it is then you can make a call about what is and isn't worth the upgrade. But for now its too speculative to the cause right now, you can get hard evidence to support the need for more VRAM but you first need to establish that is the problem.
 

twjr

Senior member
Jul 5, 2006
627
207
116
@brightcandle. I'm pretty certain that I'm hitting VRAM limitations as the memory usage is constantly above 2000 MB as shown in Afterburner. I'm using some quite memory heavy texture mods in Skyrim so I'm not surprised.

@zanovar and stuka. How far out is 20nm? From some quick googling it looks to be about a year out from now for GPU's.

@bystander. Good point, it does make an expensive Skyrim. But it does look nice... The resale value of my 670 is still pretty good in Australia so it's not quite so much. Also I've got games in my Steam library that I haven't played fully yet because they don't run as I'd like on the 670.
 

BrightCandle

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
4,762
0
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OK well then you need more VRAM. A 7970 is a little quicker than your 670 and because of the extra VRAM it will have an advantage in skyrim and remove the drops you are seeing due to the high res mods. Otherwise though its certainly not a worthwhile upgrade. The 780 is an upgrade (a lot more expensive too) but almost certainly not worth its price. The other option you have is a 670/680 with 4GB of VRAM which you can get as well, selling your 670 with 2GB to help fund it.
 

twjr

Senior member
Jul 5, 2006
627
207
116
A 670/680 4gb isnt an upgrade other than rank though. Also much higher price in Australia than a 7970. I missed the sale on the 7970 anyway. I guess I can wait and see how the 290 competes with price and performance. It would be a genuine upgrade in terms of speed and ram. Just hope that aftermarket cards come out quickly.
 

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