Yet another "what to choose at 1080" thread

Mathias_MM

Junior Member
Aug 16, 2010
11
0
66
So,

I'm looking at building a new rig for gaming. My current monitor is 1680x1050, but I may be playing on a TV as well. Let's call it all 1080.
I'm looking at probably a 6600K, some microATX motherboard, that sort of thing. My current rig is a Conroe (also 6600, actually), and a graphics card from that sort of era as well. It has served me somewhat well during my student years, but now is the time for a real upgrade :)

Now, coming to graphics cards, I am a little confused with the situation. I want to play some current games, and the budget will stretch to accommodate the right choice, within reason (= GTX 970).
The reason I'm making my own thread is that local pricing here seems to be very different from the pricing I see on the forums, especially on the AMD side. Below is a list of approximate prices in danish money, of the cards I've seen recommended for my needs:

GTX 970: 2550
GTX 960 4GB: 1700
290: 2400
290X: 2650
390: 2650
390X: 3400

There are two scenarios at play here. One option is to get a 970-class card now and keep it longer. Alternatively, get a 960 and switch it sooner.
I've no idea how the AMD cards rank performance-wise, but I'd happily choose an AMD card if it's the better option. I must admit, though, that I'm leaning to the green side, as noise is a priority as well for this build. Still, it would be nice if anyone can sort out if any of the AMD cards make sense at all given this pricing structure.

Last, but not least, I am uncertain about power needs. The current rig has an Enermax Liberty 500 (Anandtech review), which I guess is nice enough, in the sense that it supplies power and is silent enough. I might need some adapters for some of the newer plugs on mobo and gfx, but the question is if this PSU will be sufficient for this build? I'd overclock the system, but as I said, noise will still be a priority.

This sort of turned lengthy, but I hope someone out there can help :thumbsup:
 
Feb 19, 2009
10,457
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380, 970, R290/X are good choices offering good performance for the price.

Noise is card model dependent. Do your homework and look at reviews of the cards you can buy.
 

Seba

Golden Member
Sep 17, 2000
1,484
136
106
For such a build, get a new power supply. A ~8 year old one is not a good idea (and also because yours has only 32A on +12V).

Considering the local prices that you gave (but the actual models and prices would be a better information), I'll say that you should go with a GTX 970.
 

Mathias_MM

Junior Member
Aug 16, 2010
11
0
66
For such a build, get a new power supply. A ~8 year old one is not a good idea (and also because yours has only 32A on +12V).

Considering the local prices that you gave (but the actual models and prices would be a better information), I'll say that you should go with a GTX 970.

I get that - These prices are all for the cheapest card of its kind, which is a lot easier to find than a suitable candidate for my needs for each GPU, look at reviews, find noise measurements, which may not be absolute enough to compare across review sites, etc, only to throw 5 of them away at the end. My assumption is that a premium cooler incurs the same price increase no matter the GPU manufacturer. The catch of course is that the AMD coolers need to remove more heat, and choice is more limited.
 

AtenRa

Lifer
Feb 2, 2009
14,001
3,357
136
So AMD cards are 100 more, ok

R9 380 is better than GTX960, especially at DX-12.
R9 390 is better than GTX970, especially at DX-12

If you can spend 100 more for the AMD cards then they are the better choice.
 

Seba

Golden Member
Sep 17, 2000
1,484
136
106
For 1680x1050 and 1920x1080, GTX 970 is the better choice.

I get that - These prices are all for the cheapest card of its kind, which is a lot easier to find than a suitable candidate for my needs for each GPU, look at reviews, find noise measurements, which may not be absolute enough to compare across review sites, etc, only to throw 5 of them away at the end. My assumption is that a premium cooler incurs the same price increase no matter the GPU manufacturer. The catch of course is that the AMD coolers need to remove more heat, and choice is more limited.
At least, make sure that you are not looking at cards with centrifugal fans ("blower" type). Especially on R9 290 case. Compare the lowest prices for cards with axial fans.
 
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Feb 19, 2009
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1080p with some performance to spare, 970 or R290X/390 class performance would be my minimum if I were to buy now. 960 and 380 would be too slow to last.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,331
10,043
126
Isn't electricity expensive in .dk ? Perhaps you would be better served by the 970, because of the power savings over the AMD cards. Although, the AMD cards probably are slightly faster.
 

Mathias_MM

Junior Member
Aug 16, 2010
11
0
66
Isn't electricity expensive in .dk ? Perhaps you would be better served by the 970, because of the power savings over the AMD cards. Although, the AMD cards probably are slightly faster.

I must admit I don't know what power costs anywhere else. I actually had to look it up to know what it costs me :p
... Which is ~2 dkr/kWh. That's not big money at all, considering i reckon it'd take me 50 gaming hours to rack up 1 kWh difference between a R9 380 and a GTX 970. I'm more worried about heat at that point.

How much is known about DX12 performance? I looked at the article on AT the other day, but didn't think it looked like a decisive win for any "team". And furthermore, the sample size at the moment is like 1 or 2 games, right?
 

b-mac

Member
Jun 15, 2015
147
23
81
You really have several options at those price points. The 290/290X/390 and 970 are all good choices for 1080P. I would shy away from the 960 4GB and 380 if you can afford any of those above options.
 
Feb 19, 2009
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Denmark and worried about heat? Consider it free heating while you game. :p

Pretty much any non-reference 290/X and all 390/X run cool & quiet. Overall your system will output more heat into the room you're in, like 300W system power vs 400W system power.

One good thing with AMD GPU is that GCN will remain for many years and so your GPU will receive optimizations as time goes by. DX12 is just a bonus since its core is so close to Mantle, there's very little chance AMD will suffer with DX12.

The 970's biggest concern is 3.5gb + 0.5gb requiring heuristics/software to optimize and Pascal's arrival next year may shift NV's optimization focus away from older-tech. If that isn't a concern for you, the 970 is still great value for 1080p gaming, but I consider it below the R290X.
 

Headfoot

Diamond Member
Feb 28, 2008
4,444
641
126
I get that - These prices are all for the cheapest card of its kind, which is a lot easier to find than a suitable candidate for my needs for each GPU, look at reviews, find noise measurements, which may not be absolute enough to compare across review sites, etc, only to throw 5 of them away at the end. My assumption is that a premium cooler incurs the same price increase no matter the GPU manufacturer. The catch of course is that the AMD coolers need to remove more heat, and choice is more limited.

Not really true though.

Pretty much every after market model has a decent cooler, some brands have better ones, and they are almost all the same price. The catch is that they charge you for out of the box overclocked models. Thus your assumption here is not entirely correct. Aftermarket coolers on 290s are not more expensive than on 970s. Most 290s are actually cheaper if you can still find them.

I'd say choose between the 290/390/290x/970. 960 4GB and 380 4GB are a lot slower for not that much less money. 390x, 980 and Fury are all a lot more money for not that much extra speed over 290/390/290x/970.

With the cards being this close in price, among the 290/390/290x/970 I'd choose based on which model you can get for the best price, with the best cooler and the best included game bundles. Their speeds are all close enough that IMO it doesn't really matter. 290 is a little slower and a little cheaper than the others, but not enough to matter long term.
 
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Mathias_MM

Junior Member
Aug 16, 2010
11
0
66
Not really true though.

Pretty much every after market model has a decent cooler, some brands have better ones, and they are almost all the same price. The catch is that they charge you for out of the box overclocked models. Thus your assumption here is not entirely correct. Aftermarket coolers on 290s are not more expensive than on 970s. Most 290s are actually cheaper if you can still find them.

I'd say choose between the 290/390/290x/970. 960 4GB and 380 4GB are a lot slower for not that much less money. 390x, 980 and Fury are all a lot more money for not that much extra speed over 290/390/290x/970.

With the cards being this close in price, among the 290/390/290x/970 I'd choose based on which model you can get for the best price, with the best cooler and the best included game bundles. Their speeds are all close enough that IMO it doesn't really matter. 290 is a little slower and a little cheaper than the others, but not enough to matter long term.

I'm not really sure what you mean by me not being correct. I'm just saying that I assume that say, an Asus STRIX cooler adds approximately the same amount of money no matter if it's added to a 390 or a GTX 970.
Anyway, I'm looking into the 290X and the 390 now. From most tests I've seen, the 390 beats out the 290X by a little, and I can see that the 290X is a fully enabled part, while the 390 is slightly cut down, but that silicon should otherwise be the same. So this 10% compute difference is evened out by the higher memory clock speeds. Is this mostly the case, or will there be scenarios where one has a big edge over the other? As said, they're about the same price, and the cheapest one of each is made by Gigabyte (Gigabyte GV-R929XWF3-4GD and Gigabyte GV-R939G1 GAMING-8GD). The 290X cooler seems decent, but the 390 card has apparently not been reviewed. There are lots of other 390 cards at almost the same price, though.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
765
126
So,

I'm looking at building a new rig for gaming. My current monitor is 1680x1050, but I may be playing on a TV as well. Let's call it all 1080.

This sort of turned lengthy, but I hope someone out there can help :thumbsup:

How often are you going to be playing on your TV? If you are not going to upgrade your monitor to 1080P/1440P and will be primarily gaming on 1680x1050, just grab a 960/380 for now as you get back into PC gaming. If you find that you are gaming a lot and are ready to get heavily into PC gaming, just get a 16nm HBM2 card in late 2016. Based on your description of having an E6600 and an ancient GPU from that era, it doesn't like you were gaming much in the last 8-9 years (E6600 is a CPU from 2006 so unless you went to school for 9 years, it sounds like you don't game that heavily -> which means 960/380 could be a good way to get back into PC gaming without spending too much). If you are 100% certain that you'll be gaming on your 1080P TV often and will be gaming heavily, then step up to the 970/390. From a price/performance point of view, 970 and 390 are big step up in performance from 380/960 level of cards.

perfrel_1920.gif


Between 970 and 390, it's hard to go wrong with either of those. You can read this thread on 970 vs. 390 for some comments/links to help you out. Don't buy a 380 2GB or 960 2GB though. If you can find an after-market 970 like Asus Strix or MSI Gaming those are great cards as far as noise levels go.
 
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Azix

Golden Member
Apr 18, 2014
1,438
67
91
Need a new PSU. 22A on each 12V rail and only 32A total. Ok efficiency but might blow something with newer GPUs. GPU would have to be on it's own rail or something. Don't remember how these work. Safer with something newer 650W up.

GPU should be 290x or 390.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
765
126
Need a new PSU. 22A on each 12V rail and only 32A total. Ok efficiency but might blow something with newer GPUs. GPU would have to be on it's own rail or something. Don't remember how these work. Safer with something newer 650W up.

GPU should be 290x or 390.

If he goes 970, it should be fine. After-market 970s use about 180W of power. 32A on his PSU supports 384W. There is no need to upgrade the PSU for an i5-6600K and a GTX970. It's not the best 500W PSU in the world but Enermax generally makes good PSUs.

02.jpg


I've been using my Corsair 520W (40A) for years using max overclocked i7 860 @ 3.9Ghz + GTX470 max OC / 7970 max OC on it too. i5-6600K and 970 will come nowhere close to the power usage of an i7 860 @ 3.9Ghz paired with a GTX470 @ 760mhz or HD7970 @ 1.175Ghz.
 
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bononos

Diamond Member
Aug 21, 2011
3,889
158
106
What about getting a 750ti/260x class card and waiting for the next gen gpu's next year since your cpu is also old and due for a upgrade.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
765
126
What about getting a 750ti/260x class card and waiting for the next gen gpu's next year since your cpu is also old and due for a upgrade.

1. There is no point of waiting for a CPU platform upgrade since Kaby Lake is unlikely to be much faster than i5-6600K/i7-6700K, especially if he decides to actually overclock the i5-6600K.

2. Core 2 Duo E6600 is not even fast enough for a GTX750Ti style GPU. No lie, but it's actually better to get a PS4 in that case.

Core 2 Duo E6600 + GTX980.

Gaming_02.png


Gaming_03.png


Gaming_05.png


3. Let's say he spends $80-100 on a budget GPU with a C2D, well next year if he decides to buy a 16nm HBM2 $300-400 GPU, that means he will have spent $80-100 + $300-400. He could just as easily get an i5-6600K and then just get a used HD7950/7970/GTX670 style budget GPU as a stop-gap then and sell that next year and get a 16nm HBM2 GPU. The same can be done with a GTX970/R9 390 level GPU. Why waste $ on an $80-100 750Ti with that C2D? I am not sure I see the point at all.
 

bononos

Diamond Member
Aug 21, 2011
3,889
158
106
I forgot he was also upgrading his cpu to a Skylake, otherwise I thought he could get some gaming done on a 750ti on older titles and resell it later.
 

Mathias_MM

Junior Member
Aug 16, 2010
11
0
66
How often are you going to be playing on your TV? If you are not going to upgrade your monitor to 1080P/1440P and will be primarily gaming on 1680x1050, just grab a 960/380 for now as you get back into PC gaming. If you find that you are gaming a lot and are ready to get heavily into PC gaming, just get a 16nm HBM2 card in late 2016. Based on your description of having an E6600 and an ancient GPU from that era, it doesn't like you were gaming much in the last 8-9 years (E6600 is a CPU from 2006 so unless you went to school for 9 years, it sounds like you don't game that heavily -> which means 960/380 could be a good way to get back into PC gaming without spending too much). If you are 100% certain that you'll be gaming on your 1080P TV often and will be gaming heavily, then step up to the 970/390. From a price/performance point of view, 970 and 390 are big step up in performance from 380/960 level of cards.

[snipped image]

Between 970 and 390, it's hard to go wrong with either of those. You can read this thread on 970 vs. 390 for some comments/links to help you out. Don't buy a 380 2GB or 960 2GB though. If you can find an after-market 970 like Asus Strix or MSI Gaming those are great cards as far as noise levels go.

This is great food for thought. Regarding reasons for not upgrading more along the way, let's just say that i haven't, for various reasons, had time and / or money to upgrade since late 2007. But that's hardly relevant, since I hope to be upgrading along the way from here on, really.

Regarding screen, I'm mostly happy with the 1680x1050 screen I have now, but I may get a better one, depending on how much I end up using the computer. In that case, i'll probably go 1200 or 1440, but again, that's not at all a definitive case at this point.

All that said, I've mostly decided to get a 970 or 290X/390, and keep that for as long as it'll last, or sell it on while it still has value if the 16nm cards turn out amazing in a year or two. I can't really figure out which of these AMD cards will be better, though - the 290X has more processing grunt, but the 390 seems to beat it in most benchmarks out of the box. Also, the 390 obvoiusly has a larger framebuffer - the question is if it's larger than it'll ever need?

Pros for the 970 as I see it is`mostly power, and thereby noise. In addition to that, I'm interested in GameStream for playing on the TV, which is in a different room, and is connected to a Raspberry Pi anyway, so a Moonlight solution is easy in that case. On the other hand, I could just plug a laptop into the TV and be served just as well by Steam Streaming. Does anyone have any experience with these solutions?