If most games recommend X then why are high end gaming PCs so expensive - AVS Forum
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay so when I built my htpc I learned that you don't need cutting edge stuff to accomplish it and probably spent 1K instead o1.5K and I could have done it for even less if I wanted.

So a friend inspired by me getting a custom built PC decided he wanted to do the same for gaming at highest settings and hopefully with some longevity.

We took a look at recommended specs for Skyrim as a starting point as that's a game he wants to play.

He currently has a PC but wants one that can play games at 60 fps at the highest settings.

So the debate here is does a person need an i7 or an i5?

And should one go higher than the GTX 660 Ti range? Am I right to say going beyond that price and performance point is for 3d high setting gaming and resolutions beyond 1080p (both of which are moot points for my friend)?

Guess the shocking part is that with his old case, power supply plus buying

a cpu, 2 x4 gb ram, 256 gb ssd, 1 tb hard drive, motherboard, graphics card the parts will cost around 1K. But if you look at those places where you can custom build a gaming PC the costs can be upwards of 2K.... are we missing something?
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:05 AM
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Those custom shops are charging for labor and a completed product. It may not be entirely worth it, but some people that don't have the know how or the time or the desire might say otherwise.

Those recommended specs still are bare minimum.

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Old 01-28-2013, 11:10 AM
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Even an i5 3570k is overkill unless you are going crossfire/sli or a dual-gpu card.

If you are looking at spending 1k then there is no good reason to settle on a 660ti.

Skyrim with the high resolution texture pack you will want 2GB vram.

60fps average is easy. Never dropping below 60fps is hard or impossible.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:18 AM
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^^^ True... staying at or above 60fps at highest detail/graphics setting on every game out now is impossible, I believe. Even some games a couple years old (Crysis 2, Batman: Arkham City) won't run at that rate with maxed settings.

But the good news: drop down a setting or two on graphics, or learn to disable certain things in the game's video options that kill frame-rate, and those games can maintain 60fps no problem. And they still look amazing. Or settle for 30fps, but I think 60fps is the way to go.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by macks View Post

Even an i5 3570k is overkill unless you are going crossfire/sli or a dual-gpu card.

If you are looking at spending 1k then there is no good reason to settle on a 660ti.

Skyrim with the high resolution texture pack you will want 2GB vram.

60fps average is easy. Never dropping below 60fps is hard or impossible.

What do you think is a good cpu and graphics card combo?

Should have specified was looking at

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=43_557_559&item_id=051660

which is 2 gb and the fastest clock speed of the 660 ti's availalble (from that store)
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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^^^ True... staying at or above 60fps at highest detail/graphics setting on every game out now is impossible, I believe. Even some games a couple years old (Crysis 2, Batman: Arkham City) won't run at that rate with maxed settings.

But the good news: drop down a setting or two on graphics, or learn to disable certain things in the game's video options that kill frame-rate, and those games can maintain 60fps no problem. And they still look amazing. Or settle for 30fps, but I think 60fps is the way to go.

Good points. I didn't realize that maintaining 60 was difficult but it makes sense as some scenes might demand more detail say running through a forest vs a cave.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:21 PM
 
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"Even an i5 3570k is overkill unless you are going crossfire/sli or a dual-gpu card.
60fps average is easy. Never dropping below 60fps is hard or impossible."

These two statements are mutually exclusive. You can not state both of them and be correct on both counts.

Remember last week when I sent you to Tech Report's "Inside The Second" series, and then you didn't read them, and then I urged you a second time to read them? Here's the third time. Go read them. There is extremely valuable information contained within, and it will help you stop giving out bad advice.


"Skyrim with the high resolution texture pack you will want 2GB vram."

1GB is fine for Skyrim at 1080p. Other things will want 2GB shortly, or you need 2GB for super-wide 5760x1080, but your specific recommendation is demonstrably false.


Frank - The $215 i5 3570 or the $200 AMD FX-8350 are both very solid CPUs at reasonable prices. Motherboards tend to be cheaper on the AMD side if you want to shave off another $40 or so, spending $80 instead of $120 for the comparable Intel board. Given how long it will be until you have to upgrade CPUs again, it's worth spending the extra $50 to get one of those two CPUs over their cheaper brothers. The i7 3770 is marginally better, but not $115-130 better. smile.gif

Listen to Daver at post #4. Dropping settings to Medium-High instead of High gives you 95% of the look with 2-3x the performance in most games. Highest settings are where you'll find the most wasteful settings that don't improve the image that much, but cost a whole lot of GPU time to do it. The 660ti is a great card that will give you a great experience at 1080p. Hell, my 2 year old Radeon 6870 is still giving me a very solid 1080p/60 experience. While I'm about to change that card out for a GTX660 vanilla, it's to get good drivers back in my system rather than any more hardware performance.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

"Even an i5 3570k is overkill unless you are going crossfire/sli or a dual-gpu card.
60fps average is easy. Never dropping below 60fps is hard or impossible."

These two statements are mutually exclusive. You can not state both of them and be correct on both counts.

Remember last week when I sent you to Tech Report's "Inside The Second" series, and then you didn't read them, and then I urged you a second time to read them? Here's the third time. Go read them. There is extremely valuable information contained within, and it will help you stop giving out bad advice.


"Skyrim with the high resolution texture pack you will want 2GB vram."

1GB is fine for Skyrim at 1080p. Other things will want 2GB shortly, or you need 2GB for super-wide 5760x1080, but your specific recommendation is demonstrably false.


Frank - The $215 i5 3570 or the $200 AMD FX-8350 are both very solid CPUs at reasonable prices. Motherboards tend to be cheaper on the AMD side if you want to shave off another $40 or so, spending $80 instead of $120 for the comparable Intel board. Given how long it will be until you have to upgrade CPUs again, it's worth spending the extra $50 to get one of those two CPUs over their cheaper brothers. The i7 3770 is marginally better, but not $115-130 better. smile.gif

Listen to Daver at post #4. Dropping settings to Medium-High instead of High gives you 95% of the look with 2-3x the performance in most games. Highest settings are where you'll find the most wasteful settings that don't improve the image that much, but cost a whole lot of GPU time to do it. The 660ti is a great card that will give you a great experience at 1080p. Hell, my 2 year old Radeon 6870 is still giving me a very solid 1080p/60 experience. While I'm about to change that card out for a GTX660 vanilla, it's to get good drivers back in my system rather than any more hardware performance.

Thanks for the tips. I find the whole building of computers thing a bit counter intuitive as I guess I had been brainwashed into thinking that a gaming PC had to be expensive and had to have the cutting edge components.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:14 AM
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Fantastic post, sums it all up quite well. Go figure, the most recent computer I built (for my wife): i5-3570 and GTX 660 on an Asus P8Z77-V LX w/32GB RAM - works like a charm. Amazing what you can do for well under $1,000. I'm waiting until it's justified to upgrade the i2500 CPU in my computer, not sure there is any upgrade that's actually worth it, I have zero issues playing games or movies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

"Even an i5 3570k is overkill unless you are going crossfire/sli or a dual-gpu card.
60fps average is easy. Never dropping below 60fps is hard or impossible."

These two statements are mutually exclusive. You can not state both of them and be correct on both counts.

Remember last week when I sent you to Tech Report's "Inside The Second" series, and then you didn't read them, and then I urged you a second time to read them? Here's the third time. Go read them. There is extremely valuable information contained within, and it will help you stop giving out bad advice.


"Skyrim with the high resolution texture pack you will want 2GB vram."

1GB is fine for Skyrim at 1080p. Other things will want 2GB shortly, or you need 2GB for super-wide 5760x1080, but your specific recommendation is demonstrably false.


Frank - The $215 i5 3570 or the $200 AMD FX-8350 are both very solid CPUs at reasonable prices. Motherboards tend to be cheaper on the AMD side if you want to shave off another $40 or so, spending $80 instead of $120 for the comparable Intel board. Given how long it will be until you have to upgrade CPUs again, it's worth spending the extra $50 to get one of those two CPUs over their cheaper brothers. The i7 3770 is marginally better, but not $115-130 better. smile.gif

Listen to Daver at post #4. Dropping settings to Medium-High instead of High gives you 95% of the look with 2-3x the performance in most games. Highest settings are where you'll find the most wasteful settings that don't improve the image that much, but cost a whole lot of GPU time to do it. The 660ti is a great card that will give you a great experience at 1080p. Hell, my 2 year old Radeon 6870 is still giving me a very solid 1080p/60 experience. While I'm about to change that card out for a GTX660 vanilla, it's to get good drivers back in my system rather than any more hardware performance.

Mark Henninger
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

"Even an i5 3570k is overkill unless you are going crossfire/sli or a dual-gpu card.
60fps average is easy. Never dropping below 60fps is hard or impossible."

These two statements are mutually exclusive. You can not state both of them and be correct on both counts.

Remember last week when I sent you to Tech Report's "Inside The Second" series, and then you didn't read them, and then I urged you a second time to read them? Here's the third time. Go read them. There is extremely valuable information contained within, and it will help you stop giving out bad advice.


"Skyrim with the high resolution texture pack you will want 2GB vram."

1GB is fine for Skyrim at 1080p. Other things will want 2GB shortly, or you need 2GB for super-wide 5760x1080, but your specific recommendation is demonstrably false.


Frank - The $215 i5 3570 or the $200 AMD FX-8350 are both very solid CPUs at reasonable prices. Motherboards tend to be cheaper on the AMD side if you want to shave off another $40 or so, spending $80 instead of $120 for the comparable Intel board. Given how long it will be until you have to upgrade CPUs again, it's worth spending the extra $50 to get one of those two CPUs over their cheaper brothers. The i7 3770 is marginally better, but not $115-130 better. smile.gif

Listen to Daver at post #4. Dropping settings to Medium-High instead of High gives you 95% of the look with 2-3x the performance in most games. Highest settings are where you'll find the most wasteful settings that don't improve the image that much, but cost a whole lot of GPU time to do it. The 660ti is a great card that will give you a great experience at 1080p. Hell, my 2 year old Radeon 6870 is still giving me a very solid 1080p/60 experience. While I'm about to change that card out for a GTX660 vanilla, it's to get good drivers back in my system rather than any more hardware performance.
The first 2 statements are meant to go together and they do. What is the difference between an i3 and i5-3570k with a 7970? Less than 5%? 2%? The price difference buys you a tier up in graphics cards.

If you want to never drop below 60fps on max settings then you need 2 gpu's today to even attempt it and in this case you need at least an i5-3570k.

Skyrim with the high resolution texture pack is at least 10% slower with 1GB. Anything 660ti and above is 2GB so there is no need for me to say this.

Most of what you said later is true. AMD drivers are perfectly fine and you're crazy if you think Nvidia drivers are trouble free.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
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when you guys talk about the i5 3570 you talk about the K is that because you need to overclock? Or is the plain 3570 okay?

I think it sounds like the i5 is a good price and performance point for cpus.

If I go with the 660 ti is it worth having two of them in the future?

I mean maybe I could get the i5 + 660 ti and later on as the price comes down (as they always do) get a second one later.

Or by that point is it just better to get a single g card and not worry about dual g cards unless you are willing to buy into two good cards at once.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:13 AM
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My experience with SLI and crossfire is that they can be very buggy. YMMV

It matters how long you wait to get a second 660ti if it will be a good deal. In 2 years you might just be better off buying a new single gpu or it might not. GPU's make occasional huge leaps in performance.

I would much rather buy a 680 and pocket the leftover money than buy 2 660 ti's. <---Personal opinion

I'll let someone else comment on the K issue and when it can be a good and bad idea.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankcastle1975 View Post

when you guys talk about the i5 3570 you talk about the K is that because you need to overclock? Or is the plain 3570 okay?
.

I'm running a K and not overclocking, but I got mine when the price difference was $5. It's still between $10-15 price difference, so it's up to you if that's worth it as an option to overclock if you want to go that route someday.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by frankcastle1975 View Post

when you guys talk about the i5 3570 you talk about the K is that because you need to overclock? Or is the plain 3570 okay? I think it sounds like the i5 is a good price and performance point for cpus. If I go with the 660 ti is it worth having two of them in the future? I mean maybe I could get the i5 + 660 ti and later on as the price comes down (as they always do) get a second one later. Or by that point is it just better to get a single g card and not worry about dual g cards unless you are willing to buy into two good cards at once.

Correct. "K" is only if you want to overclock. Even a base i5 (3330) would be sufficient to feed a 660ti, if you're looking to save some money. But I bought my 3570K new from Microcenter for $169 (now it's $189), so there's not a lot of reason NOT to get the 3570K. At the very least, if you later decide to go SLI or get 670s/680s, you'll at least have the extra headroom when you need it (even if it may fall a bit short). Or you'll have enough power to hold you over until you upgrade in 3 years after you get a 4K display. biggrin.gif

Like darklordjames inferred, from a practical standpoint, you should be able to enjoy high frame rates on most games with max/ultra settings or NEAR max/ultra settings at 1080p (if that's you're target). You'll have to experiment with some games, but if you can't tell the difference between Ambient Occlusion being on or off and it means the difference between 45fps and 65fps, why not turn it off? Ultimately every game requires some tweaking. I have to make some concessions with my 3570K/GTX670 rig in order to hit my target of 1920x1200@96fps+.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Correct. "K" is only if you want to overclock. Even a base i5 (3330) would be sufficient to feed a 660ti, if you're looking to save some money. But I bought my 3570K new from Microcenter for $169 (now it's $189), so there's not a lot of reason NOT to get the 3570K. At the very least, if you later decide to go SLI or get 670s/680s, you'll at least have the extra headroom when you need it (even if it may fall a bit short). Or you'll have enough power to hold you over until you upgrade in 3 years after you get a 4K display. biggrin.gif

Like darklordjames inferred, from a practical standpoint, you should be able to enjoy high frame rates on most games with max/ultra settings or NEAR max/ultra settings at 1080p (if that's you're target). You'll have to experiment with some games, but if you can't tell the difference between Ambient Occlusion being on or off and it means the difference between 45fps and 65fps, why not turn it off? Ultimately every game requires some tweaking. I have to make some concessions with my 3570K/GTX670 rig in order to hit my target of 1920x1200@96fps+.

Is that headroom you referred to achieved by overclocking or just the default capabilities of hte i5 chip?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I do agree the the price differece between having and not having K is not significant. But I don't see myself as an overclocker. I find I'm so busy I'm still in the process of tweaking my htpc and xmbc to my liking and that project started in January when I brought the machine home. biggrin.gif

What about stepping up from 660s to 670s or is it like a lot of high end audio video equipemnt where the cost verses performance increase gets smaller the higher up you go.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:42 AM
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http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/647?vs=598

This should give you an idea.

Sometimes it is worth every penny and sometimes it isn't.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankcastle1975 View Post

Is that headroom you referred to achieved by overclocking or just the default capabilities of hte i5 chip?

Overclocking will provide some significant gains if you have a GPU that was CPU-limited. A single 660 Ti is well fed by a 3570K, but SLI you'll want to OC to get your money's worth. (some would argue that you should always overclock)
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I do agree the the price differece between having and not having K is not significant. But I don't see myself as an overclocker. I find I'm so busy I'm still in the process of tweaking my htpc and xmbc to my liking and that project started in January when I brought the machine home. biggrin.gif What about stepping up from 660s to 670s or is it like a lot of high end audio video equipemnt where the cost verses performance increase gets smaller the higher up you go.

You mean diminishing returns? That mostly depends upon the application - some will give you a 1:1 gain in performance for upgrades, many do not. Also, will your display be 60Hz? Or do you have a 120Hz LCD or CRT? Getting beyond 60fps is kinda pointless if you can't display it. Dual 660s will definitely demand overclocking your CPU in order to take full advantage of them.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Overclocking will provide some significant gains if you have a GPU that was CPU-limited. A single 660 Ti is well fed by a 3570K, but SLI you'll want to OC to get your money's worth. (some would argue that you should always overclock)
You mean diminishing returns? That mostly depends upon the application - some will give you a 1:1 gain in performance for upgrades, many do not. Also, will your display be 60Hz? Or do you have a 120Hz LCD or CRT? Getting beyond 60fps is kinda pointless if you can't display it. Dual 660s will definitely demand overclocking your CPU in order to take full advantage of them.

Yes thank you I couldn't remember the term diminshing returns. smile.gif

The display is 120 hz. LCD.

How do people decide between one kickass card vs two mid tier cards? I mean 2 660s would get you one very high end card.

In the early days of dual vid cards a friend told me that you get a 20% boost of having a single card. Is that still true today?
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/647?vs=598

This should give you an idea.

.

Mind = blown!

Great site for quantifying the difference between two vid cards to allow the consumer to decide what's right for them!

Now if you could compare dual vs single that would be the icing on the cake
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:40 PM
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I run Skyrim maxed out at 1080p with my I5-760 and HD 5770. Built this computer almost 3 years ago for around $1k. I average around 55 fps.

Only recently have I not been able to play games at maxed settings and 1080p.

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:46 PM
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I run Skyrim maxed out at 1080p with my I5-760 and HD 5770. Built this computer almost 3 years ago for around $1k. I average around 55 fps.

Only recently have I not been able to play games at maxed settings and 1080p.

There's a lot of games that you have missed then.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:47 PM
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There's a lot of games that you have missed then.

Ha. Of course. What games would that be?

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Mind = blown!

Great site for quantifying the difference between two vid cards to allow the consumer to decide what's right for them!

Now if you could compare dual vs single that would be the icing on the cake

Quoting myself.... bad sign but turns out that stuff exits too just have to google the dual vs single card of choice
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:59 PM
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Mind = blown!

Great site for quantifying the difference between two vid cards to allow the consumer to decide what's right for them!

Now if you could compare dual vs single that would be the icing on the cake

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU12/457 7970 ghz beat by 7870 lol

You have to take the results with a grain of salt as they are often ran on different platforms and different driver versions.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/585?vs=555

680 sli vs 680

On new releases sli can be problematic occasionally.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:05 PM
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Besides the poorly ported games of recent years I've been able to run pretty much anything with ease. Not saying I'm able to average 55 fps, or even 45 for some games, but my system handles it all pretty well.

It started going downhill for me when I first played Battlefield 3 at maxed settings and 1080p. It ran fine in single player mode, but multiplayer became a slideshow and I had to reduce some settings.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Louquid View Post

Besides the poorly ported games of recent years I've been able to run pretty much anything with ease. Not saying I'm able to average 55 fps, or even 45 for some games, but my system handles it all pretty well.

It started going downhill for me when I first played Battlefield 3 at maxed settings and 1080p. It ran fine in single player mode, but multiplayer became a slideshow and I had to reduce some settings.

I was running a 4870 for years so I know exactly what kind of frame rates you were getting and I found some games miserable to play but most did play quite good at slightly reduced settings. If you install the high resolution texture pack in Skyrim you will change your mind quickly on playing at max settings.

Games coming out in the past year are what made me upgrade so I guess I'm in the same boat as you smile.gif

This is kind of off topic though.

Frank, the 660 ti is great for right now as long as you aren't anticipating crysis 3. Save your money and buy an even better gpu in a year or 2.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:25 PM
 
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"If I go with the 660 ti is it worth having two of them in the future?"

The only time SLI ever makes sense is if you are getting the absolute highest-end card and need yet more performance. Anything lower-end than that and you are better off just getting the next tier up from the choice you are contemplating. SLI is still filled with trouble and oddness, and performance does not scale 1:1. Two 660ti does not equal 660ti x2. smile.gif In addition, by the time you want a second one in the future, it's better just to buy a newer single card and call it good. Never plan to "do SLI later". Play with SLI if a second 660ti falls in your lap in 2 years for $20, otherwise just buy an GTX 860 at that point.


"What is the difference between an i3 and i5-3570k with a 7970? Less than 5%? 2%?"

In average framerate? Yeah, a couple percent. In particular frames? As much as 300%. Christ dude, read the articles and educate yourself. The goal is a perfect 60fps. Any frame that takes longer to render than 16ms blows that target. An i3 exceeds 16ms a whole lot more often than an i5 3570.

So again "60fps is easy!!1" and "i5 are overkills!!!!one" are mutually exclusive statements, regardless of how much you protest otherwise. Stop giving bad advice.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:01 PM
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If you do decide on SLI make sure you grab the latest beta drivers that just came out. http://www.overclock.net/t/1354428/313-95-nvidia-drivers
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by macks View Post

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU12/457 7970 ghz beat by 7870 lol

You have to take the results with a grain of salt as they are often ran on different platforms and different driver versions. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/585?vs=555

680 sli vs 680 On new releases sli can be problematic occasionally.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5261/amd-radeon-hd-7970-review/15

Every GPU on the 2012 GPU list is tested on the same X79 i7-3960X platform, it truly is apples to apples in the sense of launch performance. The only thing that will change the results over time are drivers and game patches - which can result in large differences as bugs are worked out. At the very least, Anandtech Bench should be considered a starting point - the minimum you can expect to get from the selected hardware. You certainly won't do BETTER than any of those scores with an i3 or i5 CPU. cool.gif

It's also been pretty well documented that Skyrim is a CPU-limited game. It won't take advantage of more than two cores, so that's why eventually all the mid-to-high GPUs top out around the same spot and SLI is pretty much wasted.
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