What graphics card should I upgrade to from a HD 7870?

JQLeitch

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Feb 3, 2014
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In preparation for that Witcher 3 Hype, I've decided I'm going to sell my trusty ol' 7870 for a new GPU that should be able to run Witcher 3 60fps near Ultra settings, the problem is what GPU I should buy? Should I get the GTX 970, R9 290 or what? The GTX 970 is quite expensive here in the UK (around £275 which is ridiculous when compared to US prices) and the R9 290 is much cheaper, at least USED.
Thanks.
 

Yuriman

Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2004
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290 will have better performance per £, 970 will have better performance per watt. 290 supports Mantle, 970 supports Physx and has less driver overhead in DX11.

I've traditionally gone with AMD cards because of their superior performance per dollar, but in the high end I think I'd be tempted by NV's cards right now, due to their being quieter and drawing less power. I'm willing to pay a little extra to get rid of some heat and noise.
 

ChuckFx

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Nov 12, 2013
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For a trouble-free experience and heat/quietness go 970. Also long term value of a Nvidia is better!
 

JQLeitch

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Feb 3, 2014
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290 will have better performance per £, 970 will have better performance per watt. 290 supports Mantle, 970 supports Physx and has less driver overhead in DX11.

I've traditionally gone with AMD cards because of their superior performance per dollar, but in the high end I think I'd be tempted by NV's cards right now, due to their being quieter and drawing less power. I'm willing to pay a little extra to get rid of some heat and noise.
Yeah I'm seriously tempted to go Nvidia, I also am intrigued with their nvidia shield streaming which even the Raspberry Pi can utilize.
 

crisium

Platinum Member
Aug 19, 2001
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The two cards are farily equal in performance. 970 often has an advantage at 1080 (not always, a lot of new games seem to like GCN), but this tends to decrease as resolution goes up, and if you ever intend to use dual cards the 290s are almost undeniably better. Configuration-wise (Shaders, ROPs, buswidth), a 290 is simply 2x7870s in one chip. That's an acceptable baseline to upgrade, imo. Like going Crossfire without any of the negatives.;)

For US card and electricity prices, it is likely that the lower power consumption of the 970 will never make up for the price discrepency unless you keep the card for many years or use it very heavily for a few. I'm not sure about your country though. The noise can also be negated with a proper cooler (Sapphire Tri X). The heat will always be there, however, so whether in your case or in your room, 290 will always make more heat than 970 so that is a real, hard disadvantage.

If the two cards are priced the same, I'd take a 970 over any 290... unless I want to go multicard in which AMD is simply better. What is the actual price premium though? Depends how much you hate heat and like Nvidia Streaming, if the 970 is worth a large price premium for single card use.
 

Paul98

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Jan 31, 2010
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Might want to wait a bit, and see what big maxwell an R9 3xx bring to the table. At least until you really need to upgrade.
 

JQLeitch

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Feb 3, 2014
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The two cards are farily equal in performance. 970 often has an advantage at 1080 (not always, a lot of new games seem to like GCN), but this tends to decrease as resolution goes up, and if you ever intend to use dual cards the 290s are almost undeniably better. Configuration-wise (Shaders, ROPs, buswidth), a 290 is simply 2x7870s in one chip. That's an acceptable baseline to upgrade, imo. Like going Crossfire without any of the negatives.;)

For US card and electricity prices, it is likely that the lower power consumption of the 970 will never make up for the price discrepency unless you keep the card for many years or use it very heavily for a few. I'm not sure about your country though. The noise can also be negated with a proper cooler (Sapphire Tri X). The heat will always be there, however, so whether in your case or in your room, 290 will always make more heat than 970 so that is a real, hard disadvantage.

If the two cards are priced the same, I'd take a 970 over any 290... unless I want to go multicard in which AMD is simply better. What is the actual price premium though? Depends how much you hate heat and like Nvidia Streaming, if the 970 is worth a large price premium for single card use.
I'll be running 1080p, yep. Heat has never been a concern for me, I've been dealing with a hot 7870 (often goes to 75 degrees) and increases noise. I don't really think I'll be using the Shield streaming but it's a good experiment, having a few Raspberry Pi's lying around.

An R9 290 is around £200-£220 here whilst a GOOD aftermarket cooler 970 costs around £260-£275
 

JQLeitch

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Feb 3, 2014
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Might want to wait a bit, and see what big maxwell an R9 3xx bring to the table. At least until you really need to upgrade.
You may be right but looking at the Witcher 3 (supposed) required specs, I don't think it'll run amazingly on the 7870.
 

crisium

Platinum Member
Aug 19, 2001
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Do they sell the Sapphire Tri X in your area? Make sure at the very least you never get a reference 290, they are horrid, but the Tri X is supposed to be the best. What's the price of that (if they have it)?
 

Yuriman

Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2004
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Though the HD7870 may run at a high temperature, it doesn't dump nearly as much heat into your case/room as a 290 would. Heat != temperature.

I live in a small apartment, and simply switching my wife's Core2Quad out for an i3 reduced room temperature where the PCs are something like 4-6°F (the A/C barely keeps up). The delta between a 7870 and a 290 is probably larger, at least under load.
 
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JQLeitch

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Feb 3, 2014
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Do they sell the Sapphire Tri X in your area? Make sure at the very least you never get a reference 290, they are horrid, but the Tri X is supposed to be the best. What's the price of that (if they have it)?
Yeah heard that. If I do go R9 290, it definitely won't be a reference model.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
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Never upgrade for 1 unreleased PC game out 3 months from now. Wait until the game comes out and upgrade. You won't lose much more in resale value on your existing card if you wait.
 

GodisanAtheist

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Nov 16, 2006
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Judging by your requirements and the relative prices of the card it sounds like the 290/x are the way to for you.

However, I can guarantee that if Witcher 3 pushes things the way Witches 2 did, nothing out now will get anywhere close to 60fps constant at near ultra settings 1080p or up.
 

Headfoot

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Feb 28, 2008
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Never upgrade for 1 unreleased PC game out 3 months from now. Wait until the game comes out and upgrade. You won't lose much more in resale value on your existing card if you wait.
So much this ^^^^

Once it comes out you'll see which card is faster and cheaper at that time. Its not very likely the cards become more expensive in the meantime
 

GodisanAtheist

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Nov 16, 2006
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Nnnnnnnnnneeeeeccccrrrrooool!!!!

Honestly just stick with the 7870... You're not getting an upgrade for a better price.

Might just want to wait for the 7800 sequel, electric boogaloo at this point.
 
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Mahzinho

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Sep 20, 2020
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If you allows me to give this advice: don't look at speed only, look at a balanced equilibrium about speed, consumption, durability, resources, support..
I would consider a Quadro from nVIDIA. Why? Low-energy consumption for a decent performance in my opinion or a newer AMD Radeon (better drivers in my concern, but prefer to upgrade from Windows Update), look this relation. My opinion only bud.
 

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