My Small Form Factor build it almost done. In fact, I can even stop right there. But the PC does not look properly balanced because the GPU in it is two years old where as most of the other components are less than a couple of months old. That mean, you can anticipate a GPU upgrade happening anytime soon. But "how soon" would depend mainly on the prices of GPUs. I do not get to play games often these days, hence I do not want to spend a lot of money on it.
The original plan
My original plan was to wait for the NVidia GeForce GTX 870. Of course that is still the plan, however knowing how hard the vendors will go at milking the pockets of the early adopters here in Japan, it makes me wonder if I would actually be able to afford one of those babies this year. It would take at least 6 months to drop below a sanity margin. At least, that is what happened with the Radeon R9 290 series non-reference cards.
I presume these cards will be very power efficient if the GTX 750 Ti card which was released as the first generation Maxwell was any indication. If NVidia sticks with the same architecture, which they surely will, there is nothing that would stop me from populating my little rig with two of them. Oops. I guess there is. Money! Still, having so much power housed inside such an abysmal case would be pretty bad ass. I know, I know. I am not a proponent of multi GPU setups (read this post), but at least SLI seems to be sufficiently polished.
The GTX800 series cards are rumored to come out next month. It could just be a paper launch and the actual availability would be pushed into October. But at least, I would not need to wait for a long time. I might have to come back to this discussion in a couple of months.
I would expect a GTX 870 to be faster than a GTX 780, as was the case with the GTX 580 vs. GTX 670. But I cannot say for sure if this would be recur. Some of the rumours suggest that the GTX 870 might not be as fast as the GTX 780 after all. If such is true, I might have to step up to the GTX 880 which should be faster than the GTX 780, if its name has to mean anything.
There is a plan B as well
On the other hand, I might be able to find an awesome deal on an "old" GTX 780 or 780Ti when the new cards come out. One of those cards is still plenty fast for 1440p gaming. The 780Ti is in fact advertised as suitable for 4K gaming, but but we gamers know better. They are almost twice as fast as my current GTX 670 when overclocked. There is a catch though. I will not be able to house two of them inside my rig. It is not as for a problem with the case, but the PSU. My 650W PSU will not be able to handle two of those bad boys, especially when overclocked. They can eat up 300W easily on their own when overclocked to 1200MHz range. So, I would take this route only if I get a deal of a lifetime.
Why is the classic stepmother treatment for the red team?
What about AMD cards? They are a no go at this point. I need to buy cards with blower style coolers to put in this rig. As the components inside the case is cramped up, the last thing one would need is a high power graphics card dumping all its heat into the case. While AMD do have cards with blower style coolers, those coolers are utter crap. Yes, I am pointing the finger at those reference R9 290/290x cards. However, there would be new cards coming out from the red camp as well in the near future, and depending on how good the stock cooling solution is, there might be more options opening up for me. I sure hope that AMD get it right this time around. But there are not enough details floating around to sense an imminent launch for the next generation.