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Upgrading

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188 posts
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I don't care too much about "jaggies". AA is the first thing I disable when I need a small increase in performance. The one thing I have to have, though, is vsync. I can't stand tearing when you rotate the screen quickly, whether it be MMOs or FPSs. I think Funcom used to screw this up big time. If I remember correctly, at Age of Conan's launch, I don't think there was an option to use vsync, unless your card's options let you force it, or unless you ran a 3rd party app like RivaTuner. How do people live without vsync?!?!
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Posted Aug 22, 12 · OP
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Planetside 2 uses PhysX as well.
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Posted Aug 22, 12
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Nice. 660 Ti should be delivered today, so I'll be able to report on it later. I also did benchmarks with the 7870 before I sent it back, so I can post some comparative numbers for anyone debating about picking up one of those two cards.
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Posted Aug 23, 12 · OP
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Which 660 did you get? Did you get it from Newegg, I assume?
Posted Aug 23, 12
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188 posts
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EVGA GeForce GTX 660Ti SUPERCLOCKED+ 3072MB

I got it from Amazon instead of NewEgg, because I have Amazon Prime, shipping was free, and Amazon has a better return policy. I did browse all of the cards and reviews on NewEgg firs before picking one and then ordering the same product number on Amazon. It already worked out for me because I had to return the previous Gigabyte HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB I ordered first but was defective.
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Posted Aug 23, 12 · OP
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I may pick one up for the borderlands 2 voucher. that's essentially $50 off the price
Posted Aug 23, 12
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I already got my code from Amazon, registered it with Evga, (which gave me *another code* to enter in Steam), and then redeemed it in Steam.
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Posted Aug 23, 12 · OP
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In your opinion is the extra gig of memory worth the extra $40? I have 2 gigs on my current card and I don't think I've gotten close to running out.
Posted Aug 23, 12
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I'm not sure. There are a significant number of reviewers that didn't think so, but I didn't see any concrete data; no one benchmarked the 2GB and the 3GB against each other. I'm a bit of an old-school guy, so I do have the mindset that more RAM is better, but I am also aware that there is a possible bottleneck with the interface bandwidth, an issue with the memory controllers when RAM is used unevenly as with this card, and there are also points of diminishing return for increasing the specs of certain components like video RAM. (Not to toot my own horn, but besides being an attorney, I also have an MBA with an IT concentration and am an IT Project Manager at the moment, so I have more knowledge than the average layman, but not engineer-level expertise).

The most logical discussion I read about the 2GB/3GB issue stated that there MIGHT not be any significant performance boost by going for the extra GB, and that only people running older games or using cards in SLI would notice an appreciable difference. Although I don't plan on running 2-3 in SLI, I do occasionally like to go back to EQII to mess around. EQII came out in 2004, and even after I built a bleeding edge system in mid 2007, I still couldn't run in max settings without slowdown. I'm hoping that the extra GB will get a little bit more performance there, if anything. From the base 660Ti, if I remember, it was only $10 to upgrade the factory clock, and $30 to bump up an extra GB of RAM. I already was sold on the clock upgrade, so I feel that $30 is worth the risk for better performance. Even if it doesn't do anything, it's not that much to waste to ensure that I got the best bang for the buck.

I could justify everything except the FTW edition from EVGA. I can't remember the price, but it was over $350. If I was going to buy that, I could just as easily look at a base 670. Although I went a bit over, I really wanted to stay as close to $300 as I could. (Which is why I originally bought the HD 7870).
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Posted Aug 23, 12 · OP · Last edited Aug 23, 12
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188 posts
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I have the card installed.

My system (minus the GFX card):

CPU - Core 2 Duo E6850 @ 3.0 GHz
RAM - Corsair XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
MOBO - EVGA nForce 680i SLI
OS Drive - OCZ Technology 128GB Vertex 4 Series SSD

Now, for the comparison:

Windows Experience Index (Graphics & Gaming Graphics):
*7870 - 7.9
*660 Ti - 7.9

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage (DX10):
*7870 - P11848 3DMarks, Graphics Score 20421, CPU Score 5244
*660 Ti - P11782 3DMarks, Graphics Score 20226, CPU Score 5230

Futuremark 3DMark 11 (DX11):
*7870 - P4249 3DMarks, Graphics Score 6702, Physics Score 1921, Combined Score 2206
*660 Ti - P4821 3DMarks, Graphics Score 8160, Physics Score 2213, Combined Score 2096



In conclusion, the 7870 provided slightly better DX10 performance, while the 660 was more than marginally better in DX11.

Some notes:
-At this point my CPU and RAM are a bottleneck and need to be upgraded.
-My MOBO only utilizes PCIe 1.1 - graphics performance gains should be noticed on an upgrade to 3.0.
-My MOBO only supports SATA 2.0 - system performance gains should be noticed on an upgrade to 3.0.
-My MOBO also does not support AHCI/TRIM - system performance could be gained from a compatible system.
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Posted Aug 23, 12 · OP
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