Questions about Nvidia or AMD for next build

#1 Posted by GlutenBob (143 posts) -

Ok so I have an old PC that is holding up quite well. However I am thinking about what to do for next gen.

Should I go with an AMD or Nvidia GPU?

I've been reading about Mantle and an wondering if this is going to make a difference in which GPU vendor is going to get the upper hand next gen.

#2 Edited by nabokovfan87 (203 posts) -

It ultimately depends on one of two things.

a. Do you ever plan on doing multimonitor or 4k? (amd is much better at this)

b. Do you REALLY care about proprietary cloth physics, physx? (nvidia)

Ultimately, they are a wash, one is not REALLY ahead of the other, amd is cheaper when you look at what you get for your dollar, and are probably a better bet for attaining a high-end gaming GPU at a lower budget (say, $400 vs. $700). Really though, due to this litecoin mining pricehike that has prices all crazy, it really is a wash. The custom 290x cards from AMD will be very good and will not have the issues of the review units, prices will go down, and nvidia is simply expensive at this point in time.

If I was in your shoes and listening to someone like me on a forum for advice, I'd really... ultimately look at the following. What kind of company do you want to support? The underdog, lower ability person who is trying very hard to make a difference by releasing content that will better the gaming community in the long run? (AMD) or do you just want to pay a little more, get the best you can for your dollar, and just have something that runs 'better' then the other guys stuff does? (Nvidia and/or Intel).

I mean, I buy AMD. I REALLY wish they had a new FX chip out, and the next series of GPUs will be a dramatic update since they aren't developing two consoles this time around, but it ultimately comes down (for me) to what type of behavior do you want to support. Big business or rocky.

Edit: I re-read your post, and you were asking about mantle and next-gen, so let me leave you with this. There is one chip in all three consoles, it's an AMD APU. You can take that for what you will, but the developers will be familiar with that design system, and steamroller would make for a nice steam-box equivalent that you can slap a high end GPU in when the time comes. Same goes for mantle. No real idea what it will mean 10 years from now, but it's an attempt at getting rid of directX and jumping past microsoft's issues with supporting their console instead of their OS.

#3 Posted by TyCobb (1972 posts) -

Concerning Mantle, it will not make a difference until you need to upgrade your card to the latest and greatest in a few years. If anything, the first few permutations of it in games will not be as optimized and probably buggy as with all new things and who knows how long it will be until it is mainstream. It's a lot of development time and money to integrate new APIs into game engines. There's a reason most games don't give you the option of doing OpenGL or Direct X anymore. It's one or the other and if it can only be ran on AMD cards, chances are it won't take off until Nvidia can implement it too.

Concerning purchasing a video card, you get what you pay for.

Nvidia cards are more expensive, but offer better performance currently. Now whether or not that extra performance equates to extra money you spend is entirely dependent on you. Personally, I have never had an issue with an Nvidia card. They have all performed at my expectations and never had to RMA or return one for defect. The only card that died on me in the last 10 years of buying Nvidia was due my own ignorance of my case and not realizing all of the intake fans had a filter. The temperature didn't rise enough to sound alarms, but shortened the lifespan of my card quite a bit.

This isn't to say that AMD doesn't have some magical card up their sleeve or Nvidia will completely screw up their next line of cards. They've swapped positions before and probably will again. I just have always seen issues with AMD/ATI cards.

Honestly, I would just look at how much you are willing to spend and look at benchmarks. That's really the only way to go. Determine of the value of your own dollar. I can't do it for you, but like I have said in many threads -- I will always buy Nvidia until they screw up or piss me off because as of now, they have been excellent since 2004 when they championed over ATI with their 6000 series card.

#4 Posted by GreggD (4505 posts) -

NVidia GPU systems have a better track record, lifespan-wise. I've been through four, and never had one die or give me any issues aside from eventually becoming obsolete. I would go with NVidia. Also, I'm pretty sure that the reason all of the new consoles use AMD chips is to be more cost-effective. In fact, in the past, many consoles have featured AMD GPUs, and that never stopped NVidia from outperforming them on the PC side.

#5 Posted by TyCobb (1972 posts) -

Edit: I re-read your post, and you were asking about mantle and next-gen, so let me leave you with this. There is one chip in all three consoles, it's an AMD APU. You can take that for what you will, but the developers will be familiar with that design system, and steamroller would make for a nice steam-box equivalent that you can slap a high end GPU in when the time comes. Same goes for mantle. No real idea what it will mean 10 years from now, but it's an attempt at getting rid of directX and jumping past microsoft's issues with supporting their console instead of their OS.

AMD being inside the consoles has nothing do with Mantle, OpenGL, or Direct3D. The GPU is completely independent of the API that the console actually provides. Nvidia stated that they didn't want to do consoles this time around because there wasn't a lot of money in it. Remember, consoles operate at a loss so every piece of hardware that goes into them has to be purchased for the cheapest amount possible.

#6 Posted by StarFoxA (5157 posts) -

If you're in the market for a GPU right now, as in within the next few days/weeks, Nvidia is the way to go. High/mid range AMD GPUs are insanely overpriced right now because of Litecoin mining. It's ridiculous. I wanted an R9 280X for the sweet, sweet price of $299 USD, but now they're upwards of $450 on Newegg.

#7 Edited by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

You get what you pay for and at this point I would not recommend buying AMD/ATI cards. They can work but they can also be highly variable in performance if not unstable. It is going to take a lot to get me to trust them again because I was burned multiple ATI cards.

The thing NVidia has had for years (decade?) is the Unified Driver Interface which has improved the stability and quality of even the "default" drivers. No matter how new or old or what exact features where in hardware on the card, the driver could handle it. Windows, Mac, Linux (heh) software engineers could write a driver that conformed to the Unified Driver and it would work for "all" Nvidia hardware in the same way. On the other hand with ATI, although there were common components entire classes of hardware had different drivers and entire levels of support. This lead to the poor quality of the driver let alone software support where one could get random success or failure just with one update. What "Mantle" is ATI's version of the Unified Driver Interface and that will help improve stability and quality of the drivers.

#8 Posted by Devildoll (881 posts) -

Are you buying something now or later?

@extomar i dont think ive read anything regarding mantle that talks about improved stability.
I've just read that it is an API that serves as an alternative for directx or openGL, and will improve performance... for GCN based cards, so hardly a unified thingymabob that'll help unify support and stuff.

#9 Posted by Kidavenger (3556 posts) -

I've been using mainly AMD videocards for the last 15 years, though I have bought Nvidia cards also, I've never had problems with either.

Nvidia has a better control panel and physx, the control panel is nice but I never found a need to mess with it, physx isn't used in many games.

AMD has better prices generally though they aren't that much cheaper that it should impact your decision

I'd be extremely sceptical of anyone coming in here and talking trash about either brand; AMD being in all consoles isn't going to make them better in PC, Mantle will be open if it wants any chance of successful adoption, people talking trash about AMD are probably doing so because they bought a "hot deal" $60 gpu ten years ago for their first build and expected it to be amazing, got pissed off and spent $300 on Nvidia next time because they are "better".

#10 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Nvidia for compatibility, I find they have less driver issues and are quicker at putting out drivers, the control panel is also better and physx, while not that important is a nice plus for performance in some games.

When it comes to CPUs, AMD are a joke and haven't been able to compete with Intel for over half a decade now, ever since the Core 2 Duo series AMD have consistently been getting bruised.

2009 era entry level Intel i5 quads (4 core) are barely beaten in performance by high end 2013 AMD 8 core CPUs.

It's basically the opposite of pre-2006 AMD, where Intel were the ones behind for a few years.

#11 Posted by tourgen (4500 posts) -

Are you going to use Linux or are you going to mess around with Steam OS? Do you use any advanced CAD or CAM software? If so it's 100% Nvidia. Nvidia's binary Linux drivers are the most stable and best performers right now. They are miles ahead of the open source Intel and AMD drivers and even their binary drivers. They also implement OpenGL on Windows better and more completely than anyone else. Historically their Windows drivers have been more stable & crash resilient too. Finally, you get a little more performance out of their consumer-grade cards than AMD but at a bit of a price bump.

AMD has made some promises with Mantel but that's not going to be a factor for awhile, if ever. AMD is supplying GPUs for the 2 lead consoles but their GPU/CPU/memory architecture is different enough that, for your purposes today, it's a non-factor. You are buying something different enough it doesn't matter. AMD has a little bit of a lower price and they sometimes have some really nice game bundle deals.

#12 Edited by Scampbell (497 posts) -

Mantle is basically the same as 3dfx Glide for Voodoo graphics, before they went bankrupt and where bought by Nvidia. Games supporting it had superior performance though obviously only on Voodoo graphics cards. They had pretty good success with the API. At first they didn't allow Glide to be used on other cards, though in the end they made it "open", the same way AMD's Mantle is open too.

It could have a huge potential, for instance Frostbite 3 will support Mantle, meaning if you want to play games based on it, such as Battlefield 4, Dragon Age 3 and Mirrors Edge 2, hedging your bets on a GCN-based card seems like a no-brainer. And of course EA isn't the only company that is going to support it.

At first AMD "hinted that the API would make it easier for developers to post their console games to PC, that perhaps games would have the same metal-level optimizations and features across the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 because the consoles pack GCN-based APUs." But I guess Microsoft didn't want any of that as they later told that that the Xbox One wouldn't support mantle optimization and they where apparently Making DirectX optimized the same way, though I'm not sure I'm entirely buying that. After all, besides Nvidia, Microsoft seems to have the most to lose from the success of Mantle. Later "AMD has addressed the Microsoft announcement in an extended Twitter post. The post says Mantle is "NOT in consoles" but goes on to note that the API "creates for the PC . . . a development environment that's *similar* to the consoles, which already offer low-level APIs, close-to-metal programming, easier development and more (vs. the complicated PC environment)."

I don't think Sony have made any official statement relating to Mantle, but DICE have mentioned that the API of the PS4 is a lot more similar to Mantle, than Mantle and DX11. I guess only time will tell what kind of impact Mantle will have on the gaming industry. And it might be wise to wait until they have demonstrated the value of Mantle in a game like Battlefield 4.

I've been using both Nvdia and ATI/AMD and have no real issues with either. As other have said you should base your build on what you need. Tom's Hardware have a useful guide concerning performance/price.

#13 Edited by Yesiamaduck (1073 posts) -

Nvidea cards are generally better supported with driver updates

#14 Posted by Brendan (7811 posts) -

I can only say what's been said on Anandtech, but if you get an AMD R9 card, such as a 270 or a 280x, with one of Asus new combination coolers then you'll get insanely quiet and powerful cards. Those seem to be the best options. If you're going high end then get a NVIDIA 780 or 780 Ti, since the top end AMD cards are so hot and loud as to be throttled by their own inefficiency. Custom cooled cards aren't out in force yet for AMD's top-end R9's.

#16 Posted by GreggD (4505 posts) -

@brendan said:

I can only say what's been said on Anandtech, but if you get an AMD R9 card, such as a 270 or a 280x, with one of Asus new combination coolers then you'll get insanely quiet and powerful cards. Those seem to be the best options. If you're going high end then get a NVIDIA 780 or 780 Ti, since the top end AMD cards are so hot and loud as to be throttled by their own inefficiency. Custom cooled cards aren't out in force yet for AMD's top-end R9's.

I went with a GTX 770 with ACX cooling, the thing is a beast and never overheats, despite being kind of crammed into my case. ACX is great.

#17 Posted by Brendan (7811 posts) -

@greggd: The EVGA coolers are powerful for sure. I'm only interested in the Asus ones the most because their noise levels are lower than any other card you can get today, at least the new combination ones. The overclocked 270 and 280x are nearly off the charts for noise. The 270 doesn't even crest 37db under heavy load while playing Crisis 3.

#18 Edited by Pr1mus (3911 posts) -

Performance/price ratio at anything but the highest end for both company is always very similar (and cards at the top are always grossly overpriced anyway) but nvidia always have superior drivers and their hardware is a bit more reliable in my experience.

Either way i'd wait until they both introduce a proper new generation of cards instead of the rebranding of old cards they've released in the last couple months to make a decision.

#19 Posted by VACkillers (1063 posts) -

No upperhand here... just down to personal preference really and budget....... Personally I prefer Nvidia because their driver support is a lot better and things seem to run more smoother in games and their tech they have like PhysX and Shadowrun...

#20 Edited by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

@devildoll:

Stability will come because they are writing and rewriting drivers for ever support core on every supported platform. Now ATI can provide one DirectX driver instead of one for each line of hardware they sell. Now ATI can provide one Mac OSX driver instead of one for each line of hardware they sell. Now ATI can provide (or someone can hack) one driver to Linux direct frame buffer. For older cards there will be legacy interfaces but going forward hardware is going to be exposed in a "Mantle" style which should help.

Basically with Mantle they ATI (or whoever) will now implement a "Mantle supported driver" instead of "ATI 79XX for Windows 7" and "ATI 79XX for Windows 8" and "ATI 78XX for Windows 8" driver and so on. It should be easy to see why this is a better and more stable situation than before. And this is a major reason why NVidia cards have better software and are more stable because they've been doing this for a several years if not a decade.

#21 Posted by Korwin (2865 posts) -

With single card setup's the difference will be minimal (Nvidia does have some nice driver level enhancements in the way of adaptive vsync and ambient occlusion options), I remain wary of AMD multi GPU however as my last experience with it was entirely rotten. AMD's current crop of cards (the 290's) have full support for all of DX11.2, Nvidia on the other hand only have full support for 11.1 however they have said that all of the 11.2 Direct3D features will be supported by the hardware.

There is a lot of misinformation in here about Mantle. I've linked this video before but i'll paste it in bellow if you interested, it's some of the dev team from Oxide Games breaking down the most important features of Mantle. The biggest selling point from a development standpoint is the elimination of the whole CPU fed Direct3D/Driver model that PC development has used since DirectX took over the world. Mantle allows developers to directly address the GPU at the application level much like a CPU, this cuts out the enormous overhead you traditionally see on the PC (the amount of time your CPU sits around twiddling it's thumbs at the moment is pretty damn crazy).

#22 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4351 posts) -

I like Nvidia for its reliability and solid driver updates. The geforce experience thing for game settings works extremely well and from what I hear about AMD 's equivalent, it sounds like it's shit.

#23 Edited by Devildoll (881 posts) -
@extomar said:

@devildoll:

Stability will come because they are writing and rewriting drivers for ever support core on every supported platform. Now ATI can provide one DirectX driver instead of one for each line of hardware they sell. Now ATI can provide one Mac OSX driver instead of one for each line of hardware they sell. Now ATI can provide (or someone can hack) one driver to Linux direct frame buffer. For older cards there will be legacy interfaces but going forward hardware is going to be exposed in a "Mantle" style which should help.

Where have you read about this change?

i hope you aren't just talking about the driver selector on the website, because that goes to the same file regardless of what you select.The reason you can select 7900 or 7800 is that some people get confused if they don't find their exact graphics card on the support page.

#24 Posted by Slag (4388 posts) -

Well like a lot of the other replies in this thread I go the Nividia route for the route and the excellent excellent driver support. They've never let me down yet.

#25 Edited by SoldierG654342 (1766 posts) -

The cost/performance ratio is usually better with AMD, which is why I went with them. My 7970 has been treating me right so far. If money is not a worry, maybe go nVidia? They more or less out-preform comparable AMD cards but are almost always more expensive unless you find a good deal.

#26 Posted by mordukai (7150 posts) -

Back in November I upgraded from a 6870 to a R9 280x and I am very happy with it. As many have said, there aren't many differences that tilt it to either Nvidia to AMD. I went with Nvidia because in my opinion, with AMD you get more for the dollar.

#27 Edited by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

System developers can implement an OpenGL driver with Mantle. System developers can also implement a DirectX 10 driver with Mantle. There are even uses where one could do something special for Photoshop or After Effects using Mantle. One could write a game completely accessing Mantle but that would be of limited use. Hell I bet people are going to write Bitcoin miners with Mantle. This is all the same stuff offered with Nvidia Unified Driver Architecture.

This is how Nvidia has been doing things for a decade and has lead to stability because you didn't need to make sure the high level driver is so tightly coupled with the low level driver. It isn't magic or special but solid software engineering design that leads to stability and should have been done years ago with ATI.

#28 Posted by Devildoll (881 posts) -

@extomar: i thought mantle was something to run instead of opengl or dx,

where can i read about the stuff you've mentioned so far?

#29 Posted by TriBeard (129 posts) -

@devildoll: That's exactly what it is. It's an API, just like those other two, but because it's specifically for one graphics architecture it offers lower overhead that opengl or dx.

OP: I am currently in the AMD camp. I think they have the better performance for dollar AT MSRP. Now, as mentioned, that is an issue, as it is basically impossible to find cards at that price online. However, if you live near a microcenter or a fry's you might be able to score one. I got an r9 290 for 389, which is cheaper than newegg was selling them before they went to crazy price levels.

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