Sunday, November 17, 2013

[Rant] GPU upgrade plans–2013/2014


I’ve had my current graphics card, the GTX 670 for about one and a half years. While it is not slow or outdated by any means, I would like to upgrade before the value of the graphics card drops too much.

Ever since the new graphics cards from AMD came out, I’ve been keeping my eyes on the prices of the GTX 780 and the R9 290 here in Japan. The R9 290 is priced $399 in USA but the cheapest card is priced JPY49,800 (Sapphire branded reference card) here. That’s basically $499. Sucks! It’s even worse for the GTX 780. After the recent price cuts, it is priced at $499 in USA, but the cheapest GTX 780 (Gainward Phantom) is priced JPY 61,480 (or $615).

Note: These prices are for 2013/11/17 only. When you read it, it would be higher or lower than that.

Since I have like $63 worth of points on Sofmap, which is the shop selling both cards, this make things even better.

Even though I am tempted to get a R9 290 now, I won’t. I will have to wait for the cards with 3rd party coolers because these cards get really hot and the fan is very noisy.

But there is one issue. I would like to stick to NVidia. This is because I think G-Sync is a big deal. I am very sensitive to stuttering. Even if the R9 290 performs better than a GTX 780 and is cheaper, I would probably go with NVidia because G-Sync would be a big deal for me. That does mean that I will have to buy a new display as well. If you know how the Japanese market works – where they ask a huge price premium from the early adopters – that would be a big investment. And that would also mean that I would be stuck with NVidia forever if I want to use G-Sync. I really doubt NVidia would license this technology for AMD to use in their cards.

Either way, I would have to wait and see how much of a big deal Mantle turns out to be. If that gives AMD a huge advantage, then I wouldn’t mind giving up smoothness for better performance. I would probably still buy a new 120Hz or 144Hz display – without G-Sync that is. AMD might let NVidia support Mantle – at least partially – and if that is the case, you would get best of both worlds going with NVidia.

I know I haven’t been happy about multi-GPU setups, but I would not drop is as an option because the situation is much better with NVidia. Besides, I would get better performance with GTX 670’s in SLI than with a GTX 780 or a R9 290 and I would be paying much less. But the prices of the GTX 670 haven’t dropped a lot. They still hover around $300 mark. And I would like to get a matching graphics card for aesthetic considerations. The thing is, the Palit Jetstream GTX 670 isn’t sold on Dospara anymore. They were the only ones selling the card. I can get a second hand card, but I would only go that route if I don’t have any other choice.

As it stands now, I can sell the GTX 670 for $230. $500 for R9 290. $615 for GTX 780. Or get another GTX 670 for around $300.

  • GTX 670 route: spend $300 and get about 80-90% additional performance increase
  • GTX 780 route: spend $385 and get about 30-40% additional performance increase
  • R9 290 route: spend $270 and get about 40% additional performance increase

Which means, the SLI route is the better option if we look solely at the performance numbers. The power consumption would be high and the noise would be high. I don’t really like my current GPU, so that means I would be stuck with it for much longer.

Wait there is a 4th option. Sell the GTX 670 and get two GTX760s. That route would give about 80% performance at just $250. But I probably won’t go that route. In the future games, the additional CUDA Cores on the GTX 670 might come in handy.

Basically, I will just wait and see how the prices and Mantle support goes. The prices would hopefully be lower in the holiday season – that is in the next month. This is the best time to buy gadgets – worldwide.

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