1. #1
    High Overlord MagicMedicine's Avatar
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    GPU upgrade, worth it or not?

    My specs;
    Mobo: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
    CPU: Intel i5 2500k
    RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz memory
    GPU: Gigabyte HD7850
    CPU: Corsair TX550M


    I built the machine just under a year ago. My CPU is overclocked to 4.5GHz... seems to run safely, I have a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo and the temps stay around 55-60°c in more challenging games, idles on 30-35°c. I'm also running at 1920x1080 resolution.

    What I'd like to know is how much performance increase I could get from a new GPU. Is it worth buying one, or is the rest of system too weak to benefit? As I understand, any more memory than I have is unlikely to affect game performance, and the newer generation of Ivy Bridge processors don't perform massively better than the Sandy Bridge ones.

    With that in mind I figured the biggest room for improvement in my machine is the GPU. I've been playing Skyrim with the ENB mod and ultra settings... the FPS is around 30-40 out in the world versus the 50-60 I used to get without the mods. Would I be able to hit a smooth 60 if I upgraded to say, a GTX 670 or a HD7970? Which of these would be the better card to go with given that they're priced around the same? Or am I not going to get much of an increase with the rest of my rig? Can my PSU handle it?

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Your CPU and PSU can handle any current single GPU on the market.
    Intel i5-3570K @ 4.7GHz | MSI Z77 Mpower | Noctua NH-D14 | Corsair Vengeance LP White 1.35V 8GB 1600MHz
    Gigabyte GTX 670 OC Windforce 3X @ 1372/7604MHz | Corsair Force GT 120GB | Silverstone Fortress FT02 | Corsair VX450

  3. #3
    Brewmaster Majesticii's Avatar
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    Is it worth buying one, or is the rest of system too weak to benefit?
    A 2500K @ 4.5ghz weak? :/
    First look at your memory usage. Skyrim with heavy mods can go over your 2GB vram. Get afterburner and check.

  4. #4
    As n0cturnal say your setup can handle the upgrade, have a look at performance comparisons though, pretty sure 7970 is competitive vs the 680 but i think the 7970 is the best value card for its price.

  5. #5
    High Overlord MagicMedicine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majesticii View Post
    A 2500K @ 4.5ghz weak? :/
    First look at your memory usage. Skyrim with heavy mods can go over your 2GB vram. Get afterburner and check.
    Perhaps not weak as much as "not powerful enough". Semantics I suppose . I didn't know what to expect as such with my CPU being a generation behind, and it's been a long time since I kept up with this stuff in general.

    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll do that now.

  6. #6
    Brewmaster Majesticii's Avatar
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    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/549?vs=618
    First real fault i see anandtech do. Seems they picked the settings on 1920 and 1680 so low that the CPU bottleneck hit before the GPU.
    Seems though if you set mods that the performance increase in skyrim is pretty big going from 7850 to 7970 judging from the 2560 results.

  7. #7
    High Overlord MagicMedicine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majesticii View Post
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/549?vs=618
    First real fault i see anandtech do. Seems they picked the settings on 1920 and 1680 so low that the CPU bottleneck hit before the GPU.
    Seems though if you set mods that the performance increase in skyrim is pretty big going from 7850 to 7970 judging from the 2560 results.
    Thanks for the info... I've also just played Skyrim for about half an hour, the VRam usage seemed to get no further than ~1350Mb.

  8. #8
    Brewmaster Majesticii's Avatar
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    You use any high-res mods? seems though you've got some room left. ABout the performance well, my 670 hits 99% load sometimes aswell (vsynced), if you've got the budget you can buy an upgrade.

  9. #9
    High Overlord MagicMedicine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majesticii View Post
    You use any high-res mods? seems though you've got some room left. ABout the performance well, my 670 hits 99% load sometimes aswell (vsynced), if you've got the budget you can buy an upgrade.
    I don't use hi-res textures... just things like bloom/ambience, lighting improvements etc. Hi res textures would be nice though. Got some money coming in soon so I might be tempted to get an upgrade. My budget is around £300 (€350/$475)... what would be my best bet? The HD7970, or GTX 670? Everything I read seems to conflict on that one.

  10. #10
    Brewmaster Majesticii's Avatar
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    You can easily get high-res textures via Steam, it's a free DLC. Hm, had the same choice a few months ago. I ended up choosing for the 670, because i'm more nvidia biased, i've had too many issues with the AMD/ATI drivers in the past. Performance wise the HD7970 has the edge though, if the drivers work. And for Skyrim you have a bit more legroom with mods, they tend to absord VRAM. Still, i've not really reached 2GB on my skyrim, and usually the framerate declines before i hit the VRAM (1080p 4xmsaa+fxaa). But given the fact the 670 is still about 30/40 euro's cheaper. I think it's fair game.

    I'd suggest one of these models:
    ASUS HD7970-DC2-3GD5
    ASUS GTX670-DC2-2GD5

    Benchmarks:
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/598?vs=508
    Last edited by Majesticii; 2013-02-04 at 04:38 PM.

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