It's been a while for me since I posted last. It's that time again for me - With new games like Diablo III and Counter-Strike:Global Offensive, I'm looking to build a new computer. I really have a TON of questions, but I think the most valuable advice I can get is on the video cards. Since it's been at least 4 years since I was involved in all of the new computer hardware, I don't know ANYTHING about the new video cards.
That said, I was wondering which is better...The new ATI cards or the new Nvidia cards. I would like to compare the ATI 6000 series with the Nvidia 590 series as well as the 5900 series and the 580 series. I'm thinking about going with a GTX580, but I want everyone's advice first.
Passmark's ratings table is one of many benchmark/comparison sites. Of course two of the more important elements of the value of any given comparison is exactly what test conditions are in place (can make a big difference) and if they have any meaningful bearing on your intended usage. Something to keep in mind during your ponderings.
I consider the 6950 2GB to be the best deal at the moment on the ATI side, seeing as how you can easily unlock it to a 6970. I have done this and the performance is amazing. The GTX580 is a great card, but I have tested it and it's not any better than the 6970 in real world performance. Also, there's the price. The GTX560Ti is where it's at for price/peformance ratio on the Nvidia end.
I consider the 6950 2GB to be the best deal at the moment on the ATI side, seeing as how you can easily unlock it to a 6970.
Be sue the card you buy is capable of doing this, I saw that most of the manufactuers stopped adding this feature so I don't know if it can be done anymore.
The GTX580 is a great card, but I have tested it and it's not any better than the 6970 in real world performance. Also, there's the price. The GTX560Ti is where it's at for price/peformance ratio on the Nvidia end.
Ok great. Thanks for the replies guys...
Now, I have two follow up questions...
1) Suppose I decide to go with a GTX580 vs. a GTX570 or 560, what is a good power supply that will take care of all the needs? I know, I have looked at the specs and everything, but I want to get some really knowledgeable peoples opinions on this...
2) I understand that these can run very hot. I have an old Antec ATX case (about 115 dollars 6 years ago) that I would like to use. I think it has OK airflow, but do these cards now need SERIOUS airflow that only a large tower will accommodate?
2) Yes and no. Good airflow is important and having a bigger case with more fans is obviously going to help. But I really believe it's all about temps. As long as your card isn't consistantly hitting 90c+ I think you would be fine. What case do you have now?
D-Gunner's comment reminded me that long video cards also may interfere with heatsinks and/or various components and internal connectors.
For example, On some motherboards "0 degree" SATA connectors are occasionally terribly located such that really long cards make it impossible to use some or most of the SATA ports. Seems usually to be more of a problem on micro-ATX form-factor boards than on larger motherboards.
I also seem to recall at least one motherboard design where the 24-pin ATX power connector was placed such that with a top-mounted PSU there was no way to avoid interference between the fat cable and the videocard.
And, I certainly don't like a video card in contact with the top of a capacitor (which I've seen) or other components even if there is insulation. The video card proximity could also needlessly increase the heat of such close components which might lead to premature failure.
Ya gotta wonder sometimes just what the mobo designers were smoking when they were reviewing the computer created motherboard design layout (or inputting the design parameters).
Hey thanks for the reply guys. Yeah, the case I have is the Antec Performance TX640B Black Steel ATX Mini Tower Computer Case. It it really slick looking and it's definitely a good case. The only problem is that it's a Mini, and I'm worried that it might not be big enough for the new cards. I'm currently running a full-size atx motherboard with a 7800gt in it (which is fairly big, but nothing compared to the new cards). What do people think?
Oh, it's definitely over 12 inches, so the card will fit lengthwise. I was only worried about airflow...I think it will be fine.
Thanks for all your help...One more question though...Should I be going for as many gigs of DDR5 on the video card as possible? or does it matter? Some cards have 1gig, some have 3, some have 4...What are peoples experience with that, and is it worth the extra dough?
One more question though...Should I be going for as many gigs of DDR5 on the video card as possible? or does it matter? Some cards have 1gig, some have 3, some have 4...What are peoples experience with that, and is it worth the extra dough?
Yes and no. Going to 4GB is going to be a waste as no game could possibly use that much at this point in time. I'd say 1.5GB is a safe bet. A lot of cards come with 2GB now and that is plenty.
It can also depend on which OS and how much main memory you have installed.
With a 32bit OS or if you have 64bit OS and 4GB or less main memory, then more than 1GB of video RAM will possibly provide less video performance gain than you might expect and could also impact system performance. In general, the more video RAM used, the more system RAM is "eaten" by the video subsystem. However, it's not a linear relationship so the exact impact is hard to determine unless you do side-by-side comparison. It also depends on the memory controllers as well, so it's not a simple issue.
Regardless of whether you use 32bit or 64bit OS, I'd agree that anything more than 2GB is probably diminishing returns at this point in time. I've also recall seeing benchmarks showing available 4GB cards have worse performance than 2GB cards.