1600x900 resolution - what graphics card?

Discussion in 'Computers, Electronics, IT & Gaming' started by groph, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. groph

    groph SS.org Regular

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    I know I'm at it again with the graphics cards, but with the recent release of AMD's 7000 series I can't help myself.

    16:9 is a bit of a weird resolution, hardly any benchmarks feature that res and it's not a full HD "gaming" resolution but it looks fine to me. I MIGHT, just MIGHT get a 1920x1080 monitor some time but that's as big as I can conceivably see myself ever using. Multiple monitor setups and omgwtfhuge screens just strain my eyes too much. 1600x900 is comfortable for how close I typically sit and games look just fine to me, so I'll probably just stick with that resolution. Right now I have a Sapphire HD4870 1GB that is starting to get a bit long in the tooth. It's been running every game I have just fine on maximum settings, but I want to get with the times and get a DirectX11 card. Since I only use a single 16:9 monitor, I'm wondering what the best card for me would be, without going total overkill on the ultra high-end cards. I'd like to stay around $300 CAD. I'd prefer to just stick with a single card for simplicity's sake/heat/power issues. My mobo is pretty much an AMD one so I'd rather stick with an AMD card just in case I ever wanted to go with Crossfire, but if there exists a holy grail Nvidia card, I'm not an AMD fanboy so I'll consider it.

    Ideally I'd end up with a new DirectX11 card that is around $300 that can handle any recent game at maximum/practically maximum settings in 1600x900 at around 50-60 FPS. This list includes BF3 but 60FPS in that game takes a pretty beastly card so I'll settle with around 40 for that one. I'd love to get 60FPS in BF3 though, if I can. I read that the 6950 can do it, but you need to disable AA in order for it to start performing comparably to a GTX 570. I happen to really like AA.

    I'm thinking the HD 7870 would be a nice upgrade once that comes out. The 3GB frame buffer in the 7950/7970 is probably total overkill (also out of my budget) but I DO like anti aliasing which apparently eats up VRAM pretty quick. Still, I'm not using a giant monitor so keep that in mind. I think the 7870's have 2GB? That should be plenty. I heard that huge amounts of VRAM only really start making a difference with huge resolutions and multi monitor setups anyway.

    System:

    MOBO - ASUS M4A89 GTD - it has "crossfireX" support so I assume this means I could use 2 cards if I had to.
    CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 965BE @ 3.4 (stock but overclockable, apparently I can get to 4.0 on air)
    RAM - 8GB DDR3 1333MHZ
    GPU - HD4870 1GB
    PSU - 750W
    CASE - Antec 900 (stock air cooling), and I think the 4870 is around 10 or 11" long and it fits fine in this case, obviously.

    Any help is appreciated.
     
  2. klutvott

    klutvott SS.org Regular

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    The 7870 seems like a good choice. I read somewhere that the performance will be close to the 6970. I would stay away from crossfire if i were you. I'm currently running two 5770 in crossfire and it works great in some games and not so great in others. Next time i will definitely get a good card right away. Overclock your cpu NOW. :lol: It's time to squeeze that last bit of performance out of it. If you got a good chip you should be able to reach 4ghz. I got my 965 BE running at 3.9ghz right now. Wasn't able to reach 4ghz
     
  3. groph

    groph SS.org Regular

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    My case is capable of liquid cooling but I'd rather stay away from it. I figure a 3.4ghz quad core is totally ample for most games for a while, and I can still upgrade to a 1100T six core if my e-peen starts feeling small. All BF3 needs is a competent quad core, I've read a bunch of benchmark reviews and the like for that game. My next pc will probably be an Intel build unless AMD comes out with a killer gaming cpu in the next 2 or 3 years.

    If the 7870 is equivalent to a 6970 then that's awesome, a 6970 can chew up BF3 at 1920x1080 so I should be in good shape. The Battlefield games respond very well to crossfire/SLI but a single good GPU works just as well, I'd rather avoid a dual GPU setup.
     
  4. Spinedriver

    Spinedriver SS.org Regular

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    I'm currently running a Sapphire Vapor-x 5870 (apparently it's now badged as a 6870) and I can run games fairly well on high settings.

    The processor is an AMD X6 1090T
    6 GB of DDR3
    and an Asus M4A78T mobo.

    Best PCIe Card: $180 To $295 : Best Graphics Cards For The Money: February 2012

    Tom's Hardware site rates it has having "great performance @ 1920x1200" so, I figure that should do what you want it to quite well.
    In addition, apparently the new Nvidia GTX 560 Ti is pretty good too. Tiger Direct has 'em for $220 ~ $275 depending on the manufacturer and extra options.
     
  5. Nautilus

    Nautilus Lefty supremacist

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    I run my own IT business and as it happens, I've sorted a customer with something similar to your specs with...a similar request for a GPU upgrade.

    One thing I've always pushed with people is to consider the Crossfire/SLi route.

    (in general, excluding any big jumps ala chip technology advances) I think a pair of lower ends usually out perform a single high end card. This is particularly so if your manufacturer and respective game have something optimised for multi-card rendering.

    The AMD 7 series are s**t hot cards, and they've always pushed a much better bang-for-buck than NVidia. See if you can find anything on Crossfire'd cards for about $150 a piece. I wouldn't be surprised if they outperformed a single $300 by some way.

    With a 750w PSU you should be fine too.
     
  6. groph

    groph SS.org Regular

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    Man, I think I need to grab a 1920x1080 monitor. Nobody seems to game at 1600x900, and it's basically pointless to spend $300+ on a graphics card to game at my resolution.

    I'm thinking of the 6970 or 7950 1.5GB (3GB HAS to be overkill for a single monitor setup but then again I do like my antialiasing) if the prices are reasonable and then down the road I'll get a true 1980x1080p HD monitor to let the card stretch its legs a bit better.

    Right now I could probably get great performance with something like a 6850 but I want some degree of "future proofing."
     
  7. Nautilus

    Nautilus Lefty supremacist

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    1920's a hefty resolution! I would have thought few people game that high. Meh. 3gb isn't necessarily overkill as you've mentioned- if you want to ramp up the AA (although requirements for AA have cut down with the intro of FXAA)...

    I think it's Tessellation that'll be the arrow to the knee of a single card config.
     
  8. groph

    groph SS.org Regular

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    Nah, the screen will only be a few inches bigger than what I have now. Also, antialiasing actually matters less on higher resolutions since there are more pixels being displayed anyway. That's something I haven't thought of. With my 1600x900 resolution, I find that games look a lot better with AA turned on full. If I had a larger screen, the effects of AA are less noticeable. In Battlefield 3 benchmarks, in order for the AMD 6900 series to hit 60 FPS in Ultra quality in 1920, the AA has to be turned off. Nvidias 570 and 580 can hit 60 in Ultra with the AA turned on, which made me want a 570, but part of me just feels weird pairing an Nvidia card with an AMD cpu on an effectively AMD motherboard (it's crossfire capable but not SLI). Nvidia's cards are usually more expensive and run hotter on more power, too. However, once multi monitors and super high resolutions come into play, I think the playing field between the 570/580 and HD6900s becomes a lot more even, oddly enough.

    The ultra mega mega high end cards like the GTX590s and HD 6990s and to a lesser extent the 580's, HD6900 series are intended for huge resolutions anyway, as in larger than 1920x1080, or multiple monitor displays (like AMD's Eyefinity that lots of their cards are capable of anyway, even the mid range ones) and that's where the VRAM gets eaten up - high resolutions and really detailed textures. Overall card architecture, clock speed, shader units, etc. matter much more than VRAM alone, but all other things being equal, it's never a bad thing to have more VRAM if you want to pay a bit more. (I did some reading earlier today.)

    Battlefield 3 isn't the only game I'll be playing, and surely high settings still looks fucking amazing on that game. I play Bad Company 2 on medium and it looks great. I'll be grabbing up the newer Call of Duty titles, but you can chew those games up with any ~$150 card out nowadays, anyway. Crysis 2 will be another fun test - that game looks amazing with the DirectX 11 texture pack.

    I'll probably just end up with a HD7870 once those come out. 7950's are $400+ and that's a bit steep. I like the value priced cards. It's easy to look at benchmarks and see the GTX 580 owning games at 70-80FPS and looking down at the HD6870s getting 40FPS and thinking they're shit cards when in reality, 40FPS is pretty smooth. Even 30 is nicely playable, and some games (like Supreme Commander 2 and console titles) have FPS caps of 60. 60FPS is pretty much the sweet spot, so I'd like to get that most of the time, and 40-50FPS is fine for the really graphically intense games like BF3 and later titles.

    Also i c what u did thar
     
  9. Spinedriver

    Spinedriver SS.org Regular

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    That's the thing with upgrading, if someone has a stock pc from Staples/Best Buy/Dell and they're looking for a new card, I can guarantee that their pc DOESN'T have a 700 watt + psu. So in addition to the cost of the new card, they'll have to shell out for a new psu and installation (if they don't know how to do it themselves). Also, depending on what kind of cards they plan on running together, they may also need a bigger case with more fans to exhaust the extra heat or possibly a water cooling solution.

    The downside to dual card rigs is that if someone decides to go back and play older games like Half Life 2 or maybe Modern Warfare 1 or 2, those games aren't really optimized for dual gpu rigs and you can (in several cases) get better performance out of a single card as opposed to 2.

    In my opinion, I'd only really recommend SLI/X-Fire to someone who's building a gaming rig. If it's going to be mostly a 'daily use' computer and want to play games on it once in a while, I'd have to say it'd be a lot better to get a single card.
     
  10. groph

    groph SS.org Regular

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    Prebuilts ftl. Spend an afternoon or two reading through PC hardware and you'll gain a good enough sense of what hardware is out there so you can put together your own system that suits your needs. All need is a stripped-down gaming rig - no gigantic multi harddrives, no BlueRay, don't even need a burner or any of these fancy peripherals. Just a competent CPU, the minimum of RAM and a mid-high end GPU.

    I'd really rather stick with a single card, mostly for heat reasons. My room is kind of small and my PC acts as a heater during the summer. I have enough power, but I'll be straying away from Crossfire until games are coming out consistently that benefit from it. The scaling at the moment isn't that great, but some games (like BF3) fucking love Crossfire/SLI. Still, high settings with AA enabled should be great. Ultra settings with AA enabled really tax the AMD cards, but that can again be countered by using a higher resolution monitor, where AA's edge softening effects are lessened since there are more pixels being displayed anyway.

    I'm just repeating myself now. My budget has mostly determined my choice and I'll admit I am somewhat loyal to AMD - I have never owned a desktop computer with an Intel processor - I'll be getting whatever $250-$300 card they release when I'm out of school and back to work. Maybe my parents will be nice to me for Easter, and I also graduate in 2 months.
     
  11. Spinedriver

    Spinedriver SS.org Regular

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    Well, good luck card hunting. The best thing I can recommend is keep an eye on this site..

    Tom's Hardware: Hardware News, Tests and Reviews

    Every month they do a "best cpu/gpu for the money". They do pretty thorough tests and compare the top 5-6 performers in a particular price range. Also, they aren't afraid to say whether something is a dud or not.
     

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