#1 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

Hey guys

On this cold and wet summer morning in Ireland my thoughts turn to a new graphics card. I've settled on a 780 GTX and would like to know if there are any brands out there to avoid, particularly from a fan noise level.

I've got an XFX HD7950 at the moment and while I like it as a card, the fan noise is bloomin' annoying at full chat.

The main card I'm looking at is the one from Asus - Link but I'm open to any suggestions

#2 Edited by MB (12423 posts) -

I have the Asus GTX 780, and I chose it after a lot of research comparing all the different brands. It's quiet, runs cool, and overclocks like a beast. You won't be disappointed. Toms Hardware reviewed a bunch of 780's last year and chose the Asus as well.

Moderator
#3 Edited by Dark (381 posts) -

I went with a 290X a few weeks ago, the new AMD chip is renown for being hotter than the sun apparently. I got one of the cards with the aftermarket cooler that had 3 fans on it and at full speed only makes what I would call a soft noise, don't know if a 780 has a 3 fan solution but man is it quiet.

::EDIT:: It seems some do, well worth the higher price tag (if it has one) as they push far more air than a single fan, thus don't work as hard and are quieter.

#4 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

@mb: Thanks. You wouldn't happen to know if the 28.7cm/11.3" length is accurate? I've been measuring my case and I've got a 29cm GPU space.

@dark: The other card I've been looking is the Palit 780 which has a 3 fan set-up (and is a little bit shorter). According to reviews it's great and is the same card that GBeast are using for their new PC

#5 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2562 posts) -

@dave_tacitus:

Hey mate - I don't have a gtx 780 myself since I opted for for R9 290 (if you're not into the fancy nvidia-specific features like G-Sync, it's the better buy as most sources would agree - assuming you can find it for cheaper).

Here's a link to the anandtech charts;

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/1036?vs=1068

HOWEVER, 780 vs 290 aside, I found this youtube channel pivotal in selecting a manufacturer - here's a vid which you may find useful;

Note this is for the Ti model, so exact numbers will be off - however, the coolers themselves are exactly the same so the noise/heat findings are largely valid.

#6 Posted by jArmAhead (305 posts) -

I might hold off on that upgrade. We still aren't super sure on when the 800 series is coming and it's going to be a doozy from all appearances. But they may only be a month or two away based on recent (quite recent I think actually) rumors. Hold off for a bit before making your decision! the 800 series is likely to be way more future proof with more VRAM (very important going forward) and general performance.

If you really can't wait the Windforce cards are great. Noise levels and cooling are usually stellar on them.

Ultimately as long as you go with something from a major brand with good RMA policies you'll be good on both the performance and quality and service quality.

#7 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2562 posts) -

@jarmahead said:

I might hold off on that upgrade. We still aren't super sure on when the 800 series is coming and it's going to be a doozy from all appearances. But they may only be a month or two away based on recent (quite recent I think actually) rumors. Hold off for a bit before making your decision! the 800 series is likely to be way more future proof with more VRAM (very important going forward) and general performance.

If you really can't wait the Windforce cards are great. Noise levels and cooling are usually stellar on them.

Ultimately as long as you go with something from a major brand with good RMA policies you'll be good on both the performance and quality and service quality.

I would +1 what Jarmahead is putting down, too.

Leaked 870 benchmarks put it in line with the 780 and it'll likely be cheaper if the ~70 moniker continues to mean what it does today. Additionally, it's rumoured to have 4gigs of RAM base, which should be more future proof as next gen console games should start actually using some of that vram.

I'd say in short;

Today:

  • If you're sticking with nvidia, wait for the 880 or 870
  • If you want an nvidia card today, I'd go with either the Gigabyte (Windforce - as mentioned by Jarmahead) or the Asus.
  • If you want another - perhaps better - option check out the R9 290 (Sapphire make the best coolers for those, so the vapor X r9 290 may be the one to get)
#8 Edited by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

Yep, been looking at 290s (and 290Xs, but that'll be overkill for one 1080p monitor) and am aware that the 800 series Nvidias aren't far off. Hadn't looked at the specs though so thanks @jarmahead for the heads up on the 870s.

My 7950 is still a fine card in most instances (apart from it sounding like a jet taking off under load) and it overclocks like a champ. I've never been a fanboy of a particular manufacturer (my previous cards have been AMD, Nvidia, AMD, AMD, Nvidia, Nvidia ... I think) and GSYNC isn't that important for me right now, seeing as I've just bought a 144HZ non-gsync monitor.

The Windforce cards appeal to me but I don't think they'll fit in my case.

EDIT - Thanks to all. :) I can read and watch reviews until I'm blue in the face but having some real world experience to refer to is great.

#9 Posted by Chumley_Marchbanks (129 posts) -

@dave_tacitus: I have an MSI GTX 780 (specifically this one) and I can highly recommend it from a cooling performance and fan noise perspective. It stays very quiet under 40% fan speed, which will it'll only reach once you're pushing above 75% GPU load or the temps are around 65°C, and even above that it's not offensively loud. Also, there is enough thermal headroom that if you wanted to bring the fan speeds down through Afterburner or something similar then you can definitely do so.

#10 Posted by mikey87144 (1775 posts) -

@jarmahead said:

I might hold off on that upgrade. We still aren't super sure on when the 800 series is coming and it's going to be a doozy from all appearances. But they may only be a month or two away based on recent (quite recent I think actually) rumors. Hold off for a bit before making your decision! the 800 series is likely to be way more future proof with more VRAM (very important going forward) and general performance.

If you really can't wait the Windforce cards are great. Noise levels and cooling are usually stellar on them.

Ultimately as long as you go with something from a major brand with good RMA policies you'll be good on both the performance and quality and service quality.

I would +1 what Jarmahead is putting down, too.

Leaked 870 benchmarks put it in line with the 780 and it'll likely be cheaper if the ~70 moniker continues to mean what it does today. Additionally, it's rumoured to have 4gigs of RAM base, which should be more future proof as next gen console games should start actually using some of that vram.

I'd say in short;

Today:

  • If you're sticking with nvidia, wait for the 880 or 870
  • If you want an nvidia card today, I'd go with either the Gigabyte (Windforce - as mentioned by Jarmahead) or the Asus.
  • If you want another - perhaps better - option check out the R9 290 (Sapphire make the best coolers for those, so the vapor X r9 290 may be the one to get)

I'll jump on this bandwagon and say wait. At most you'll have to wait a month and it's not like there is anything coming out in the near future that will push your current card.

#11 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

@chumley_marchbanks: Hmm, more food for thought. Good price too and seems to be one of the shortest 780s I've seen. Bought a fair bit from ebuyer over the years and always found them reliable.

£349 is getting into the realms of 'don't care about the 800 series'. Argh!

#12 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2562 posts) -

@dave_tacitus said:

@chumley_marchbanks: Hmm, more food for thought. Good price too and seems to be one of the shortest 780s I've seen. Bought a fair bit from ebuyer over the years and always found them reliable.

£349 is getting into the realms of 'don't care about the 800 series'. Argh!

Yup - and the MSI R9 290 has the same cooler so it's also pretty good - in fact, it fits with quite a bit of length to spare being 276mm. The cooler is less effective on the r9 290 however, so you'll note that under extreme loads the card will hit 85 or so degrees (hot, but well under the 95 degree design temp), even so it will remain pretty quiet nonetheless.

Being 299 pounds on ebuyer, seems like the MSI R9, the MSI 780 and the Asus 780 are your top picks in that order in terms of good cards with good coolers at decent prices that'll fit.

EDIT: I must note that you shouldn't go for the ASUS R9 290 however, the cooler is well documented to be poorly fitted on that particular model and as such it performs quite sub par.

#13 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

@selfconfessedcynic: Indeed.

I'll probably end up with a 780 of the MSI or Asus variety and skip the 800 series generation altogether. Paycheque on Monday so that'll be D Day...

Incidentally, note of warning to anyone thinking about buying a case based on looks rather than design. As soon as I saw the Antec GX700 I shouted "Fallout!" and ordered one for my new build. It does a lot of things right (cooling, HD trays, cable space) but the materials used compared to my old Antec 300 was poor and there's only 290mm of GPU clearance, not enough for the latest breed of triple fan monster and, I've got a feeling, not as much as the 300 has.

#14 Posted by Amafi (769 posts) -

I've owned three Asus DirectCU cards and they've all been great when it comes to both cooling and fan noise. Currently got a 780 DirectCU II OC and I never hear it. Of course, your mileage might vary depending on case etc. I've heard nothing but good things about the MSI Twin Frozr cards either, but I've never owned one so can't really confirm that personally.

#15 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

I had a 560ti DirectCU before the current 7950 and loved it. It's still running in the spare PC and generally when I upgrade my GPU, the old card from the gaming PC gets swapped to the spare.

This time round the 7950 is going on eBay and I'm keeping the 560.

#16 Edited by Seikenfreak (433 posts) -

I just picked up a EVGA GTX780 with their ACX or whatever custom cooler.

I was concerned about temperatures because my case is somewhat small and only has 1 intake and 1 exhaust fan. Having used it for about a week now I haven't noticed any fan noise that wasn't already there from my previous 2x GTX570s. I ran some benchmarks repeatedly at 5760x1080 with maxed out settings to see how high the temp would go and it peaked at 74 celsius. I don't think I have seen the fan go above 60% speed yet.

But I am not the best example because I have a fan in my room that runs all day every day and a small A/C unit I run a lot. There is constant fan noise in my room, just the way I like it. I wouldn't really be able to notice PC fans over this stuff.

#17 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

I've read some reviews of the EVGA card and it seems excellent. It's gonna be too long for my case, I think.

#18 Edited by MB (12423 posts) -

@dave_tacitus: I measured my Asus GTX 780 for you, it's exactly 11.3" from end to end. I have the DC2OC3GD5 version.

For comparison sake, the card I have this machine in is at these settings 24/7 with absolutely no problems:

Moderator
#19 Edited by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

@mb: You're a star. Massive thanks mate. (Edit - And you're quicker than ASUS support, who I emailed this morning and still haven't replied)

I've not been here long but really like these forums. I'm a mod at one of the bigger movie forums so can appreciate what it takes to have one running smoothly.

#20 Posted by jArmAhead (305 posts) -

@chumley_marchbanks: Hmm, more food for thought. Good price too and seems to be one of the shortest 780s I've seen. Bought a fair bit from ebuyer over the years and always found them reliable.

£349 is getting into the realms of 'don't care about the 800 series'. Argh!

I don't know why price would sway you, especially when you'll get the same stuff you're talking about now EVEN cheaper when the 800 series comes out. And you're going to want the extra VRAM going forward. Even games like Wolfenstein were a beast, VRAM wise.

I have no idea why anyone would buy a 780 now when they could wait and spend less in a couple of months unless their system is literally falling apart. It may turn out that the 800 series isn't worth the upgrade, but it will be better regardless of your path to wait for them. Don't get impatient and screw yourself over. An 800 series, with it's extra memory especially, will last MUCH longer than a 700 series card will. Already games are struggling with VRAM from Wolf. to WatchDogs and other early gen games.

Basically, you need to keep in mind that new engine generations are coming along that will have significantly different requirements from previous generations. UE4 isn't just a flat 20% more across the board. It's a different beast that needs a different card.

As someone who's watched many people just say "screw it" and then nearly immediately regret it, I encourage you to keep on with what you have atm (which isn't a slouch of a card so you can certainly survive waiting to see what the 800 series has to offer) and make a clearer decision when the information is out there. You will save yourself money in the long run whether you buy an 880 and it lasts you longer than a cheaper card, or you get an already affordable card at an even lower price, or you get something in the middle.

#21 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

@jarmahead: You make excellent points, but I'm an impulsive SOB. I've taken your advice on board though. :)

#22 Edited by jArmAhead (305 posts) -

@jarmahead: You make excellent points, but I'm an impulsive SOB. I've taken your advice on board though. :)

Good luck ;) Either way, the new card should treat you well.

#23 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

@jarmahead: I'm not as bad as I used to be, thankfully. Bought a 6870 a few years ago without checking it out thoroughly purely because I loved my old 4870.

3 months later it was on eBay and I was buying a 560ti...

#24 Posted by Viqor (61 posts) -

@dave_tacitus: I would also keep in mind that the 780 is already struggling with some games video RAM wise (Wolfenstein, Watchdogs) at higher resolutions and the situation is likely to only get worse in the future (I should know, I have SLI 680s that have enough grunt for any game, but I'm already having to turn down some settings because of my 2GB of VRAM). There are some 6GB 780s available, but you might be better off getting a 290 (which has 4GB of VRAM) or just waiting like everyone else is saying.

#25 Edited by MB (12423 posts) -

@viqor: Really? I have no problems with my GTX 780 3gb version playing Wolfenstein at 1440p/60, it's rock solid. In 1080p/60 I can force all kinds of extra AA and still stay stable at 60fps all the time.

Watch Dogs should not be used as a benchmark for ANY graphics card, that game is an unoptimized piece of garbage.

Anyway, almost always better to wait if you can but to say that the GTX 780 3GB "struggles with some games video RAM wise" is just incorrect.

Moderator
#26 Edited by Viqor (61 posts) -

@mb: Maybe I overstated (and yeah, looks like I was wrong about Wolfenstein), but with consoles the way they are, I would be surprised not to see a few more "Watchdogs" in the next couple of years, and VRAM will be a limiting factor in those cases. Buying a good video card is all about future proofing, and I really think VRAM is going to be a big limiting factor for maxing out games in the next few years, although it probably won't be as much of an issue for 1080p.

#27 Posted by paulunga (2020 posts) -

I have nothing to add (though my OC Windforce GTX 770 is whisper quiet even when playing demanding games) except: Waiting, and suggesting people to wait, is stupid. People will always tell you to wait. Seriously, I've seen threads like this for the last 15 years and there's probably not been a single one where no one suggested waiting. If you want/need a new graphics card now, get one now. Not in POSSIBLY three months. Or six. Or a year.

#28 Posted by Dark (381 posts) -

@selfconfessedcynic: with the 290 you want to keep the temps below 85, use a custom fan setting to achieve it, if you let it get into the 80s it will start to under clock the card by 20-30%

#29 Edited by TriBeard (129 posts) -

I would also recommend the R9 290. The saphire Tri-x ones are very quiet cards. If you have your heart set on an nvidia one though, I would either go with Gigabyte or EVGA, with EVGA being my preference.

Also, 3GB vs 4GB of VRAM doesn't really start to be an issue until either 4k resolutions or if you are gaming on 3 or more 1080p panels.

#30 Posted by ajamafalous (11998 posts) -

I'll just cast my vote for the "dear god please just wait a couple months" camp. It's been heavily rumored in the last couple weeks that the 800 series will have a September paper launch and be readily available in October.

So, guys, just wait until the 800s come out. This advice sums it up:

As someone who's watched many people just say "screw it" and then nearly immediately regret it, I encourage you to keep on with what you have atm (which isn't a slouch of a card so you can certainly survive waiting to see what the 800 series has to offer) and make a clearer decision when the information is out there. You will save yourself money in the long run whether you buy an 880 and it lasts you longer than a cheaper card, or you get an already affordable card at an even lower price, or you get something in the middle.

As for brands, I'll vouch for EVGA. Haven't bought another brand since like 2005.

#31 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2562 posts) -

@dark said:

@selfconfessedcynic: with the 290 you want to keep the temps below 85, use a custom fan setting to achieve it, if you let it get into the 80s it will start to under clock the card by 20-30%

Haha - I was specifically talking about that cooler and you're right.

I personally have the Sapphire r9 290 with the tri-x cooler (they didn't have the new Vapor X ones in stock here sadly). Anywho, the Tri-X never hits above 72 degrees and barely ever goes above 40% fan speed. It's crazy powerful, really quiet and I love it.

Sadly, it won't fit in the OP's rig and it looks like he's going for the 780 anywho. Thankfully the MSI cooler runs rings around the 780 and is definitely a decent buy if waiting for the 800s is out of the question.

#32 Edited by Karkarov (3102 posts) -

Personally looking at a card upgrade if not a full on new pc myself soon, but I also advise waiting for the 800 series. The games that need that extra kick wont even be out this year. Brand wise I have always found MSI, Asus, and EVGA get it done. I personally prefer MSI.

#33 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

Ok guys, I'm going to wait! Help me stay strong...

I might buy a RAM stick or something in the meantime, just to stave off the addiction. Actually, a new case with more GPU clearance might be more sensible.

#34 Posted by Amafi (769 posts) -

Ok guys, I'm going to wait! Help me stay strong...

I might buy a RAM stick or something in the meantime, just to stave off the addiction. Actually, a new case with more GPU clearance might be more sensible.

Define R4 is absolutely fantastic. Can't hear a damn thing even sitting right next to it with a 780 working on wolfenstein or similar. Best case I've ever owned, easy.

#35 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

@amafi: Funny you should mention that as I've had an R4 sitting in my Amazon wishlist for a couple of months. Yep, that might be the more sensible way to go in the short term.

First world problems, eh?

#36 Edited by Amafi (769 posts) -

Depending on just how quiet you want it you might want to get some quiet fans for the top and front of the case. I had some noctuas just laying around, like one does, so I never actually ran the case with the stock fans. My brother uses his with the stock ones and it honestly doesnt seem like it's made a lot of difference. I can hear HDD activity from his machine, but thats because he's an idiot and hasn't bought 1.7TB of SSD storage yet.

Speaking of that, I can absolutely recommend just compulsively buying solid state drives for everything if you feel like you need to buy stuff.

#37 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

Oh, I even compulsively bought an SSD for my PS3!

I was going to ask you about the fans on the R4 actually. I'm running two 140mm Antec TrueQuiets on top and a 120mm at the rear, nothing at the front, and it's working well.

#38 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (51 posts) -

Well, I ended up buying an MSI 780. The price was too low for me to turn down and so far I couldn't be happier with it.

I'm getting on average a 70%+ frame rate advantage over the old 7950 and it's probably the quietest GPU I've ever owned.

Length-wise, the MSI card is actually a bit shorter than the 7950 too.