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    The PC (Personal Computer) is a highly configurable and upgradable gaming platform that, among home systems, sports the widest variety of control methods, largest library of games, and cutting edge graphics and sound capabilities.

    What's the best graphic card setup under $700 right now?

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    NoMoreGoodGames

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    PLEASE INCLUDE DEALS!

    I'm trying to decide what to do about graphics cards in building a PC.

    These are the current best options I've read about, but I'm open to others if they exist... Please tell me what you would choose.

    - Radeon Sapphire or XFX R9 295x2 for around $700

    - GeForce GFX 970 x2 using SLI for around $700

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_970_SLI/22.html says the Radeon is 6% faster, it appears particularly using 4K (the 970 has it beat more often at 1080p), but also says it uses much more power. What is better, 6% worse performance, or significantly better power performance?

    Lastly:

    - 1x GFX 980 for around $600

    The two first choices apparently perform much better than the one GFX 980, so I'm conflicted. I've been advised not to mess with SLI or crossfire, but my main reason currently for building a PC is because I want to get as close as possible to maxing Witcher 3, so I need all the performance I can get. I assume Witcher 3 will have SLI support so... I'm very tempted to go that route.

    Unless, that is, there is a better option than the GFX 980 for around $700?

    What do you guys think I should do? I could also SLI two GFX 780 TI's, which apparently still outperform GFX 970's, except they're hard to find now and still more expensive than the 970s I think. Plus they're older so I don't know if they'll still have driver support?

    What should I go with? And what are the best mother boards for these cards?

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    Bollard

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    I think all 3 are solid options at this point to be honest. I always shy away from SLI/CrossFire as I don't want to deal with the driver headaches and knowing I'm not getting optimal performance from my cards in a lot of games, but I'm sure it's getting better all the time. I have a 980 and it's a fantastic option, if you, like me, want a single card option to keep your PC temperatures down as well.

    Do you actually have a 4k monitor? Just curious, as getting the Radeon just because it performs better at 4k is a bit of a waste if you aren't going to use it :P I would say choose whichever brand you're more comfortable with. I always side with Nvidia as the ATI drivers are complete garbage usually, but its personal preference. I'm sure those two dual card options will both give similar performance.

    It's noting if you really want the best out of The Witcher 3, they partnered with Nvidia (the game supports PhysX amongst other Nvidia technologies) and you even get a free copy of the game if you buy Nvidia:

    http://www.geforce.co.uk/games-applications/pc-games/the-witcher-wild-hunt/bundle

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    NoMoreGoodGames

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    @bollard: Yeah I heard about their partnership with Nvidia, but then I saw a lot of PC owners complaining about that, saying CD Projekt Red sold out, and this means the game will look awful on PCs compared to how it could have looked because Nvidia game works sucks or something. So I've heard complaints about them as well as the AMD drivers. It's all so confusing haha.

    I don't own anything right now. This is my first PC. But since the graphics cards are in the same price and seem very competitive, I would side with the one that could do 4K and thus could be more useful in the future. Luckily I'm hoping the 970s SLI'd can do 4k as well, am I understanding correctly? They're just a few percent behind in their 4K ability but they can still do it yes?

    Anyway yeah they're all good options, just trying to figure out the best one haha. And yeah I'd prefer not to deal with SLI, but I look at it like this. When it works, it will outperform the 980 somewhat significantly. When it doesn't work, I can switch to one card. It won't perform as well as the 980, but I think the gap between one 970 and one 980 is greater than the gap when SLI works between two 970s and one 980. And I think SLI will work more often than it doesn't. So on average I would be getting better performance, both a greater percentage of the time, and overall.

    Not that you made the wrong decision, because the 980 is actually still significantly (at least $150 if not $200) cheaper than two 970s or the 295x2.

    How much do these cards drop in price once the new ones come out? I could consider buying a 980 now, then if they drop to $200 in a few months when the new ones come out, buy a second, only spend a little more than two 970s would cost now, and SLI the 980s. But I bet they'll still be $300+ even when the new ones come :(

    When are new cards coming out anyway?

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    Junkboy

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    #4  Edited By Junkboy

    First for mobo any decent one will work, I hope you're going with Intel for high end though.

    Most of the way it's meant to be played titles get great SLI support and it's a huge enough title CF support should be fine too. AMD has been great on drivers even since the frame time debacle.

    I hate the vram situation with the 970s but I don't know if the mini nuclear reactor known as the 295 is the answer.

    I hate to say wait a few months but let's be honest, at the rate broken games are being released odds are you'll have a vastly better experience waiting to play The Witcher 3 a few weeks.

    If you absolutely have to buy something now (birthday/anniversary gift or something) between those options the 970 SLI is the better choice if you're sticking with 1080. At 4k with higher vram the 295 will pull further ahead but that only applies to that high of a resolution or 1440+high aa/dof/ect.

    If you don't mind buying used I would say go that route to save even more money since there are a few unhappy 970 owners that are trying to sell at the moment.

    Though ultimately I say wait as long as possible before buying. Hopefully by mid May (witchers release) we have solid info on the 390x or NVs ti variant. Rumours have the 390x at a June release so NVs responds with either the 980ti or price drops.

    I would not but any gpu more than a week before the game's release.

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    NoMoreGoodGames

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    @junkboy0: Damn I dont want to wait but you're convincing me. The comment about intels is that referring to my question in the other topic about CPUs?

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    Junkboy

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    @nomoregoodgames

    I didn't see your post about the CPU but yeah go Intel if you can manage it but if funds become an issue you with better GPU than CPU.

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    Bollard

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    rm082e

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    I have a pair of 970s in SLI. I moved up to them from a single GTX 770. Using SLI has been completely painless. In games that don't support SLI, the second card just sits there, not causing a problem. If you really care, you can go disable it in the Nvidia control panel, which takes about 15 seconds. When SLI is working, it's fantastic. You're frame rates are super high, or if you are on a 60hz monitor, your frame time will be pinned at 16.6 milliseconds with plenty of headroom. The only issue I have seen with SLI is the very rare instance of a texture flickering. I heard this was a bad problem with AC: Unity when it launched, but that game was totally broken out of the gate, so it's not a very good yard stick. The couple of times I've seen this, it was just a single flash I caught out of the corner of my eye.

    Note the 970 has a different VRAM configuration than the 980, and that 4GB should really be described as "3.5GB of VRAM, with a slower .5GB partition". This was a big kerfuffle for NVIDIA a while back. In practical use, it's not a problem unless you're putting the resolution up to 4K with everything maxed out and all the AA settings cranked up. For most people, that's an unrealistic way to play though because you're frame rate will be down in the 30s before you're VRAM becomes a factor. Not many PC gamers are regularly playing in the 30fps range. If you're using a 1080 or 1440 monitor, you shouldn't have any issues. I played a lot of TitanFall at 2880x1620 with 2xMSAA - this put the VRAM at 3500-ish and I got a solid 60fps the whole time.

    Really, the monitor you chose is going to be the biggest deciding factor. If you're going 1080 or 1440, I would go with either the 970 SLI setup, or the 295x2. A 980 is going to have a little more VRAM and cost less, but you won't get nearly the performance of the other two. At that level, it just becomes an AMD vs. Nvidia thing, which is tribal warfare at this point. You'll find people on both sides who are die hard for one brand or the other. I went with NVIDIA due to power concerns, since my PC was built with a 750w PSU.

    If you're planning to go 4K, I would wait a few months for Nvidia to release a cut down version of the Titan X with 6GB of VRAM, and AMD to get their 8GB 390x out there - both are rumored for July. Even 4GB of VRAM is a little tight for 4K in modern games. Keep in mind even a pair of Titan X cards in SLI ($2K in cost...) is not enough to get most modern games running at 60fps maxed out at 4K. If you're playing F2P stuff though, any new card will smoke them.

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    j0lter

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    I always prefer a single card over sli, but if you're going for high resolutions and really want to crank up settings to max then go with the sli 970's.

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