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post #1 of 14 Old 01-01-2013, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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So I'm finally ready to upgrade from my current Radeon HD 6970 card on my pc and am looking for the fastest performing video card I can get on the market (excluding the $1,000 GTX 690) I know it's between the 7970 and GTX 680. My issue is picking the right one for me. I've seen like 10 or more variations and brands for each of the cards I mentioned and I can't seem to narrow it down. I don't plan on multiple monitor gaming or video editing. The maximum resolution I even care about is 1920x1080. The games I'm trying to run are Witcher 2, Far Cry 3, Battlefield 3, Max Payne 3 and Skirym.

I want to get the best possible frame rate and overall performance on a single card without having to overclock. Never been a big fan of overclocking and would like to stay away from it. I've seen different 680 cards with 2gb and 4gb of ram. I wasn't sure if that helps with frame rate or high resolutions and multiple displays. I would prefer to buy the card from Amazon because I have a prime account. Any help and even links to the card would be appreciated. Thanks!

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post #2 of 14 Old 01-01-2013, 07:55 PM
 
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The 680 for a very simple reason: Adaptive Vsync.

When an AMD card drops below 60fps, you plummet all the way to 30fps. The resulting judder is horribly noticeable, esspecially when you were just recently experiencing smooth 60fps. When an Nvidia card running Adaptive Vsync drops below 60fps, it just turns off vsync for a bit, and allows tearing until it gets back up to 60fps where it then eliminates tearing by turning vsync back on. The result is that dropping below 60fps just drops to the 50fps range which still feels nice and smooth at the expense of a little tearing. It also removes the potential for an additional 16-33ms of input lag that one can have from triple-buffering.

Adaptive Vsync improves your user experience far more than a couple of extra frames in benchmarks here and there.

Another way to put it is this: You need a bunch of AMD power in order to brute-force >60fps rendering at all times. On an Nvidia card running Adaptive Vsync, you can put a less powerful card in the machine as drops below the ideal of 60fps are not nearly as disastrous to the experience. This one setting makes a GTX660 deliver a very similar user experience to a 7970, at half the price.

The really dumb part? It's an entirely software-based solution that consoles have been using for years, Rage implemented to great effect, and AMD has had a year to copy. They haven't.
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-01-2013, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

The 680 for a very simple reason: Adaptive Vsync.
When an AMD card drops below 60fps, you plummet all the way to 30fps. The resulting judder is horribly noticeable, esspecially when you were just recently experiencing smooth 60fps. When an Nvidia card running Adaptive Vsync drops below 60fps, it just turns off vsync for a bit, and allows tearing until it gets back up to 60fps where it then eliminates tearing by turning vsync back on. The result is that dropping below 60fps just drops to the 50fps range which still feels nice and smooth at the expense of a little tearing. It also removes the potential for an additional 16-33ms of input lag that one can have from triple-buffering.
Adaptive Vsync improves your user experience far more than a couple of extra frames in benchmarks here and there.
Another way to put it is this: You need a bunch of AMD power in order to brute-force >60fps rendering at all times. On an Nvidia card running Adaptive Vsync, you can put a less powerful card in the machine as drops below the ideal of 60fps are not nearly as disastrous to the experience. This one setting makes a GTX660 deliver a very similar user experience to a 7970, at half the price.
The really dumb part? It's an entirely software-based solution that consoles have been using for years, Rage implemented to great effect, and AMD has had a year to copy. They haven't.

Wow. Thanks for the info. I've never heard of that of that before but it makes sense. I'm surprised AMD hasn't copied that yet.

I was leaning towards the 680 but after hearing this, that pretty much seals the deal for me. Is there a specific brand or type of 680 that is the best? I've seen so many different variations I'm not sure which one to go with.

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post #4 of 14 Old 01-01-2013, 10:07 PM
 
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They're almost all made by Foxconn anyway. smile.gif I usually cruise through Newegg and pick a card based on price and which one sounds like the users think is quietest. I'd start by looking at all of the two-fan versions here.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709+600315498+600311819&QksAutoSuggestion=&ShowDeactivatedMark=False&Configurator=&IsNodeId=1&Subcategory=48&description=&hisInDesc=&Ntk=&CFG=&SpeTabStoreType=&AdvancedSearch=1&srchInDesc=
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-01-2013, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by JewDaddy View Post

Wow. Thanks for the info. I've never heard of that of that before but it makes sense. I'm surprised AMD hasn't copied that yet.
I was leaning towards the 680 but after hearing this, that pretty much seals the deal for me. Is there a specific brand or type of 680 that is the best? I've seen so many different variations I'm not sure which one to go with.
There's still a lot of debate about the desirability of adaptive vsync for gaming (especially if you've got enough power to hit 60fps comfortably). Some folks swear by it. Others think it's just a meaningless bulletpoint. Tearing drives me bonkers. Some people don't mind it. So letting a game tear when it drops below 60 just isn't worth it for me. But everyone's got different tastes. Personally, I'd look at GPU benchmarks for the games you play on comparable specs to your setup. Then start focusing on the details. Regardless, you can't go wrong with a 680. It's a beast for current games.

As for specific brands, everyone has stories of certain brands being less or more reliable than others. No consensus. Go with a name you recognize, and look for a good price for the power you want. But going for the most expensive doesn't necessarily mean the best.

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post #6 of 14 Old 01-02-2013, 04:54 AM
 
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"There's still a lot of debate about the desirability of adaptive vsync for gaming"

The consoles have spent the last six years proving that vsync to 30fps and tearing at 25-29fps is far preferable to dropping directly to 20fps just for the sake of maintaining vsync. There is no debate. It has already been proven.
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-02-2013, 05:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post

There's still a lot of debate about the desirability of adaptive vsync for gaming (especially if you've got enough power to hit 60fps comfortably). Some folks swear by it. Others think it's just a meaningless bulletpoint. Tearing drives me bonkers. Some people don't mind it. So letting a game tear when it drops below 60 just isn't worth it for me. But everyone's got different tastes. Personally, I'd look at GPU benchmarks for the games you play on comparable specs to your setup. Then start focusing on the details. Regardless, you can't go wrong with a 680. It's a beast for current games.
As for specific brands, everyone has stories of certain brands being less or more reliable than others. No consensus. Go with a name you recognize, and look for a good price for the power you want. But going for the most expensive doesn't necessarily mean the best.

Thanks for your input. I agree on tearing bothering me as well. Is there a way to turn off adaptive v-sync if I don't like that feature or is it something that is on by default and can't be turned off?

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post #8 of 14 Old 01-02-2013, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
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So here's the card I ended up going with: http://www.amazon.com/MSI-DisplayPort-N680GTX-TWIN-4GD5/dp/B008MWLI04/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1357134089&sr=8-3&keywords=msi+gtx+680

I know there's only one review on Amazon's website, but I checked Newegg and it had around 20 reviews, all were 5 star except for one guy who gave it 1 star because it cannot do 3 way sli. I'm not worried about that. Coming from a Radeon HD 6970, will I need anything special to hook this up to my pc or will I need some sort of special power connector? I'm getting it tomorrow and want to make sure I have everything I need. Thanks!

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post #9 of 14 Old 01-02-2013, 02:35 PM
 
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"Is there a way to turn off adaptive v-sync if I don't like that feature or is it something that is on by default and can't be turned off?"

Yes, it's a system-wide setting in the Nvidia control panel. Really though, a minor dip below 60 that then tears for three frames or 1/20 of a second is much less visually disturbing than the feel of halting judder that you get with a vsynced dip to 30 for those same 3-4 refreshes. If you are seeing dips longer than that, then you've got your settings cranked up too high on that game. wink.gif
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-02-2013, 05:37 PM
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I just got a GTX 670 and set the v-sync to adaptive for a couple days, but was disappointed with the results. I found there was still tearing (albeit less) in graphics intensive games, so I went back to regular v-sync. But you might not have this issue with that 680.

The strange thing is, according to Fraps, at times my framerate in Far Cry 3 can drop below 60, but above 30, even with regular v-sync - with no tearing! So I'm wonder if there's still a form of adaptive built into the driver, even with regular v-sync is selected in the NVIDIA Control panel? confused.gif

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post #11 of 14 Old 01-02-2013, 05:54 PM
 
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Triple buffering. It allows non-factor-of-60 frame rates with no tearing, but can also add 16-33ms of input lag. Far too few games actually enable it. The shirt of it is that the game renders two frames ahead instead of only a single frame ahead.

Or it's just a matter of Fraps averaging a second where you spent half the time at 30fps and half the time at 60fps. smile.gif
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post #12 of 14 Old 01-02-2013, 06:26 PM
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So should triple buffering be turned off?

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post #13 of 14 Old 01-02-2013, 07:50 PM
 
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As long as you don't notice any unbearable input lag, then don't worry about it. In single player games triple buffering tends to be a great thing, unless they are faster paced like a fighter, a Quake-style shooter, or a technical racer. Competitive multiplayer is the big worry. I wouldn't want to run triple buffering in Team Fortress 2. smile.gif You've already got Interwebs lag there. Looking at frames an additional 16-33ms late doesn't help.
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post #14 of 14 Old 01-02-2013, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post

I just got a GTX 670 and set the v-sync to adaptive for a couple days, but was disappointed with the results. I found there was still tearing (albeit less) in graphics intensive games, so I went back to regular v-sync. But you might not have this issue with that 680.
Yeah. Like I said, it's a matter of preference. Tearing and instability both drive me nuts. IMO if I'm getting too many drops out of 60, then I'm pushing my PC too far and I need to drop some graphical settings.

If I'm not getting a stable 60, then I'll do whatever I can to get it. Some folks like adaptive vsync, others don't. I don't. I'd rather get a "true" 60, even if it means some tweaking. Triple buffering means dealing with occasional input lag. Adaptive vsync means dealing with occasional tearing. Neither is a substitute for a stable framerate. It's all about what you want to fall back on for those very occasional dips. None is ideal.

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