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High-end graphics card


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#1 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:24 AM

Okay, I know I already have another topic open, but I decided to open this one because it's a different question.

I didn't think I would need help with graphics cards, but since I'm so picky, I wanted to get some more opinions. I'm looking at the 7970's and 7990's, as well as generally the GTX 680's. I haven't really looked fully through the list yet, though, as I really don't know if I NEED something that powerful to meet my high standards.
I know how to use gamebooster 3, to shut off unused services and to tweak my computer to improve it's speed as well as consistently keep it clean to improve speeds. However, I assume most gamers do.

And so I did a bit of research and found that games like Metro 2033, Witcher 2 and Arma 2 are hard to get running at full-on max settings on even the highest-end hardware. Witcher 2 is the one that interests me, and I've seen reports that it can take 3 graphics card just to meet the needs of ubersampling.

So do I need more than 1 of a high-end graphics card? Or would one suffice? Or could I even grab 2 or 3 much cheaper cards to thread together in order to produce essentially the same results?

Note that I use tomshardware.com for my comparisons, so that's where I go to pick out things I fancy., as opposed to something like PassMark.

Hope it was clear enough on what I'm looking at trying to get answered in order to balance power vs money. Edit: I forgot to add that I am looking to keep the FPS as high as possible, even while maxing out eye candy like AA, etc.

Edited by SirMaximusOwnage, 31 January 2013 - 09:39 AM.


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#2 killerx525

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:49 AM

What resolution will you be playing at and what games are you actually going to play?

Edited by killerx525, 31 January 2013 - 09:50 AM.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#3 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:36 PM

I play a lot of stuff. Obviously the Witcher series is at the top of the list, as is many RPG's. But I can play anything from the old, to the latest like Dues Ex: Human Revolution, or Farcry 3. Crysis 1 and 2 I've been dying to try mainly because the series originally set the bar for next-gen. I want to try some new mmo's, because I still hope there's a good one out there, and for some reason all the developers think high-end graphics = more sales. There's going to be a new Sword of the Stars out, and always a new Total War that will push the system to it's limits.
And I plan on force-boosting graphics via the command menu that comes with the graphics cards, or via mods, like the total makeover mod for Duke Nukem 3D.

Etc, etc.

Edit: Resolutions: as high as they can go, generally, which improves textures and the ability to see more clear into the distance. I read Witcher 2 goes up to 2560 x 1600, but it's not native anymore, at least not for the American version. Still, it's accepted and run by the game.

Edited by SirMaximusOwnage, 31 January 2013 - 12:47 PM.


#4 killerx525

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:35 PM

So i'd assume you have a monitor at the resolution? Also depending on your current system, you will need a motherboard that can run 2 GPUs, a power supply with enough wattage and a case with ample airflow.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#5 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:00 PM

I actually plan on upgrading my monitor soon. No, the current one cannot support those resolutions, but if I want to play at those resolutions, I will eventually get a monitor to support it, come hell or high water.

I'm actually trying to figure out if I would need 2-3 or however many GPU's, so that I can pick a motherboard that fits whatever CPU I find works for me, and doesn't have unnecessary extra slots (Which would just be an unnecessary cost.). Then case, and power supply last, so I can add all the wattages up and give myself some breathing room in whatever I buy.

#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:22 PM

At most you should only have two GPU's, preferably high-end models for the best value. Once you get past two GPU's, scaling goes down, so, if you spent $300 each on two GPU's and got an ~80% increase in performance with the second, and then spent $300 again on a third, you may get a ~40% increase in performance. Also, the maximum number of frames you should be aiming for is 60 due to monitor refresh rates.

The 7990's are already dual GPU cards and are priced as such. They are also bound by the same scaling restrictions I mentioned earlier. If your motherboard can handle it, just get two 7970's or GTX 680's.

Performance per dollar with PC gaming is an upward slope, but once you get past a certain point, price shoots up, but performance only goes up slightly.

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#7 killerx525

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:33 PM

I would get a pair of 7970 because once you start going at high resolution, the 7970's larger memory bandwidth helps it to push more FPS and the larger vram.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#8 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:50 PM

I've seen the price/performance curves on some sites, but I still prefer tomshardware.

Iirc, 7990 is a dual-GPU on just one card, isn't it? Or does it actually come with 2 cards? Would that act as two cards, then, if it was just one card with dual-core GPU's, or is dual-core GPU's something different (I've seen them slowly starting to appear in some places for exorbitant prices.)?

I'm not sure why adding more graphics cards scales it's usefulness, but if I could find them cheap enough that still work nearly as good, would the ~40% increase be worth the third card? Because I know some games (And some poorly ported-to-pc ones like GTAIV.) have trouble getting up to 60 FPS at max settings with even most high-end software.

#9 killerx525

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:42 PM

The 7990 is basically 2 GPU chip on a single PCB. Around 40% isn't that great in terms of value plus you might run in some issues where games have no idea what to do with the third GPU or they would just glitch up.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#10 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:59 PM

So does that mean a 7990 would not work that great alongside another 7990? Or would it be fine since it's still just using one slot on the motherboard?

#11 killerx525

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:02 AM

It would work as it has a single Crossfire connector and essentially it would be in quadfire configuration.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#12 DJBPace07

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:22 AM

A 7990 is a dual GPU card with two GPU's on one PCB. To the drivers and games, it functions exactly like a dual GPU setup with two cards. Two 7990's would give you a quad Crossfire setup. If you go this ultra high-end route, your motherboard should be AMD 990FX chipset based or an X79 chipset for Intel LGA 2011 CPU's due to the full PCI-Express X16 speeds on two of the PCI-E X16 slots. The Radeon 7990's will need all the bandwidth they can get on the PCI-E bus and those two high-end chipsets can do it. This will limit you to the very high-end, and very expensive, LGA 2011, or the less expensive, and less powerful AM3+ FX-8350. With games, the GPU carries most of the processing burden, so don't throw tons of cash away on high-end CPU's when you don't have to. There won't be much of a difference between the two with games.

Edited by DJBPace07, 02 February 2013 - 12:22 AM.

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#13 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:42 AM

A 7990 is a dual GPU card with two GPU's on one PCB. To the drivers and games, it functions exactly like a dual GPU setup with two cards. Two 7990's would give you a quad Crossfire setup. If you go this ultra high-end route, your motherboard should be AMD 990FX chipset based or an X79 chipset for Intel LGA 2011 CPU's due to the full PCI-Express X16 speeds on two of the PCI-E X16 slots. The Radeon 7990's will need all the bandwidth they can get on the PCI-E bus and those two high-end chipsets can do it. This will limit you to the very high-end, and very expensive, LGA 2011, or the less expensive, and less powerful AM3+ FX-8350. With games, the GPU carries most of the processing burden, so don't throw tons of cash away on high-end CPU's when you don't have to. There won't be much of a difference between the two with games.


Wait, could you explain why you think I need those boards? I would think that Intel would also make motherboard's that can handle 2 PCI-Ex16's. And Intel is the type of processor I want, as it's known to be better for gaming, while even the best AMD's have trouble keeping up with cheaper Intel chips, with regards to gaming.

#14 DJBPace07

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:21 AM

Most CPU benchmarks with games tend to use low resolutions to stress the CPU specifically and not the GPU. No one games at low resolutions with AA, AF, and other eye candy off, they do at 1920 x 1080 or better with everything on, which places most of the rendering on the GPU. This will often lead to a leveling out across the board with CPU's in terms of performance, especially with newer games. See this, this, and this as an example. I have an FX-8150 with two 7870's and it keeps up quite nicely since the target for framerates is 60 fps. I'm not saying abandon Intel for AMD, but what I am saying is AMD can get you excellent results in a platform price range that is more reasonable. If you're going to spend nearly $2000 on GPU's with the 7990's in Crossfire, you should be using the flagship products from either AMD or Intel, in this case, either FX on a 990FX chipset, or LGA 2011 on X79.

Getting back to the why the 990FX or X79. The difference is with PCI-Express lanes and bandwidth. The 990FX comes with 42 PCI-E lanes with 32 going to the PCI-E X16 slots as x16/x16, x16/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8. X79 has 40 lanes and are often split in a similar fashion to 990FX. Given the amount of data the 7990 will be sending over the lanes, having two slots function at X16 with two cards allows for more data to be sent to and from the cards. This may explain it a little better. Most people don't get dual GPU's on a single PCB due to cost. Single GPU cards, even the high-end ones, only really need X8/x8 when in Crossfire, but the 7990 is sending more data down the PCI-E lanes per slot.

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#15 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:50 AM

I must not have been paying attention. You said X79 in regards to Intel.

As for the rest... I'm not sure I get it all, but basically you're saying that I should make sure and have 2 PCI-Ex16 slots if I'm doing Crossfire or SLI, right? I generally knew that. Unless you meant that dual-gpu cards can't take full advantage of a single slot because the number of lanes would not be enough to really benefit from having a second GPU in the same slot?

Edit: I actually forgot to mention this, but I read some pieces that said that having crossfire or SLI with dual-core GPU's can cause glitches or crashes and other unexpected errors in some games because they're not fully supported yet. Should I see this as a reason to just go with 2 single-core graphics cards?

Also, are "physics acceleration" cards around anymore, or are they all integrated into graphics cards nowadays? I can't seem to get an answer to my topic about those particular cards.

Edited by SirMaximusOwnage, 02 February 2013 - 05:36 PM.





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